Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
The Torsion Illusion 1)

A question was raised on the cover of the magazine "Elektrosvyaz" N5 of 2001: "Torsion Communications: Myth or Reality?" The question was connected with the publication of an article inside, "Torsion Communications - A New Physical Principle for Information Transmission Systems" [1]. The review presented replied to this question thus: torsion communications is not a myth and, moreover, it is not a reality. It is a complete illusion!.

The article under discussion was supplied with information about its authors: A. Ye. Akimov, "Director of the International Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physics (MITPF) of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences [RAEN]". (I note that the physics section of the RAEN has dissociated itself from this "institute"). V. Ya. Tarasenko, the first deputy director of MITPF; S. Yu. Tolmachev, chief of a department of the FSB [Federal Security Service] Academy. The department is evidently a secret one as the name is not disclosed. One can presume this is a commercial matter as this group needed "powerful" support so quickly.

The perceptive reader will guess from the style of this note that he will not find a good word about their article and this is right. The article tries to justify a number of large-scale pseudoscientific concepts in an atmosphere of communications engineers about the so-called discovery long ago in secret Soviet laboratories of a new fundamental interaction. For decades, under cover of these (constantly mutating) concepts immeasurable amounts money have been extracted from the country's budget for endlessly changing promises of wonder weapons, wonder communications, generators of free "energy from a physical vacuum", climate machines, panaceas for all diseases, and so forth and so on. This "research" has been financed through "power" and "special" structures uncontrolled by the scientific community and was always "top secret" 2). Hundreds of people from dozens of defense industry institutions and even several academic institutes were drawn into this activity. The composition of the participants changed constantly (which is not surprising - not everyone will agree to write false reports for good money) while preserving and consolidating a small framework of "ideologist" leaders, the main one who was and is A. Ye. Akimov. At the beginning of 1991 this activity became publicly known and was subjected to a critique by the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Supreme Soviet's Science Commission, after which the "Center for Nontraditional Technologies" under the State Committee for Science and Technology headed by Akimov was immediately disbanded. Having lost his official post Akimov found his place right there in the new world of "venture" enterprises, maintaining his ties and support in the "special structures". Secrecy has been forgotten since then and there began a period of intensive attempts to enter the market with miraculously operating generators of torsion (they are spinor and microlepton), either fields or radiation. Inasmuch as not one of the widely-advertised promises in the area or defense or civil technology has been kept (nor could they be, in view of the absence of these all-powerful fields!), only one guaranteed market sector was left for Akimov without implying object proof of the reality of these fields - healing. Rumors began to spread via the mass media, including the respectable "Izvestiya" (see my reply about this in the Feedback section of the 26 September 1997 issue of this newspaper), about a reputedly powerful "psychotronic" weapon developed in the depths of the old KGB on the basis of these same fields, a weapon which could work good if desired. An advertisement for "torsion generators" appeared on the Internet which would relieve any ailment at a moderate price - $30 dollars for a Russian, $100 for a foreigner. (We note in passing that the advantages of these "generators" are the same as for any other amulets. It's the same matter with the damage - being objectively useless, they inspire hope in users and keep them from going to doctors). We don't know well this business is doing, but we know that it's not enough for Akimov's company and that it is trying ceaselessly to suck money from the state budget. Interviews with Akimov appear constantly in the newspapers with promises to solve the energy problem with the aid of "generators of energy from a vacuum" or to master space with the aid of unsupported [bezopornyye] engines. Not long ago on television it was said that a similar project was on Klebanov's desk [Il'ya Klebanov is the Minister of Science, Industry, and Technology].

The article in "Electrosvyaz" lays the ground for an application for budget financing for the development of wonder communications - instant, secure, point-to-point, all-penetrating, unlimited by distance, and not requiring power. There's only one detail left - to get financing! (It is strange, of course, that a 40-year-old "great discovery" still requires money to confirm its existence and that in spite of 12 years of intensive advertising the clever West also has not been enjoying the fruits of "the discovery of the millennium").

A complete critique of the article [1] is practically impossible because of failures of logic and there are mistakes and contradictions in almost every phrase. This makes the article practically immune to any scientific criticism since any statement in it is inaccurate and the opposite can be found in the same text. All the same several examples of this will be given.

The article contains an introduction described as "the physics of torsion fields", a description of "the basic properties of torsion fields" and experiments in "torsion communications" proper.

The introduction is the part of the article containing comprehensible ideas but not all are accurate. The authors describe the difficulties of communications performed with the aid of electromagnetic fields. No special rebukes are due here except for tendentiousness and inaccuracies. The phrase about the "gigantic resources" required in information transmission systems because of absorption of the natural environment" serves as an example. It is not clear what is meant by gigantic resources. When it talks about the most extensive communications channels - fiber optic - the power is actually being expended to replace the consumption in the fiber, but it is small by any measure: the full power of the light consumed in, let's say, a transatlantic cable is measured in hundreds of watts. The resources required by a global satellite communications are limited by the modest power of the satellites. The resources of radio and television broadcasts are great but far from consuming "the natural environment".

But the words "[We] have tried to find the solution to these problems by using...nonelectromagnetic fields, for example, gravitational" are a deliberately false statement. No one has ever expressed such carelessly absurd ideas 3). It's like the authors had heard about the wide-scale search for gravitational waves by physicists and are trying to make this subject their own in order to justify the logic of the development of "torsion communications".

The section "The physical principles of torsion communications". Here the authors describe their "solution" to the problem of a unified field theory which the best minds of mankind have been working on unsuccessfully for about 100 years, beginning with Einstein. This entire section is based on a monograph of G. I. Shipov (reference [17] from the article [1]). Currently the main theoretician of the group, without beating around the bush, he esteems his merits much higher than people like Einstein. Academician V. A. Rubakov of the Russian Academy of Sciences [RAN] has given an exhaustive appraisal of this book [2]. I will cite only his introductory evaluation of Shipov's book as "teeming with elementary errors and incompetent statements and without scientific value as a whole". At the end of the review Rubakov touches on the issue of torsion fields which are given leading importance in Shipov's book and notes that they have not been observed as a physical reality.

This section concludes with a victorious report relating the production of industrial "torsion generators" since the middle of the 1980s which opened "a principally new stage of research of torsion phenomena". Further it lists the revolutionized fields of technology: "torsion sources of energy, torsion propulsion devices, torsion methods of acquiring materials with new physical properties, the torsion transmission of information, and much else. Some studies reach the level of technology, in particular, metallurgy". No references are provided here, although in a multitude of newspaper and speeches Akimov always talks of his support by scientific authorities and gives the names of responsible officials [ispolniteli] and the addresses of many institutions where various accomplishments have been made. (Akimov is published most often in the newspapers "24 Chasa [24 Hours]", "Argumenty i fakty", and the newspapers "Terminator" and "Chudesa i priklyucheniya [Wonders and Adventures]"). The RAN Presidium's Commission to Combat Pseudoscience and the Falsification of Scientific Research has conducted an investigation in each of these specific references and established that common fraud has occurred in all cases. The multitude of examples of specific examinations by the RAN Presidium can be found in the monograph of Commission chairman Academician Eh. P. Kruglyakov, "Swindlers Posing as Scientists" [3]. In a limited number of cases it was possible to secure demonstrations of the material achievements of the "torsioners", in particular, to investigate the materials "reformed" by the action of torsion radiation. The inspection of these materials ended in a complete fiasco. Again, examples of this can be found in the monograph cited [3]. (See also the article [4] of the author).

The section "The Principle Properties of Torsion Fields" deserves separate commentary inasmuch as it completely demonstrates Akimov's principal method - to stun an unprepared audience with a stream of pseudoscientific combinations of words evoking associations with something they've heard which is highly scientific and little-understood. But a specialist usually ends up in an impasse since he hears senseless cacophony - there simply is nothing to hang your hat on. For example, how does one regard two mutuallyexclusive passages:

a) "these fields ("torsion") are an independent physical object..., having no electromagnetism,

b) "torsion fields can arise as an inseparable component of electromagnetism"...(emphasis mine - Ye. A.).

And both these statements get along together in one point of the "properties". It is further reported that the initial torsion fields originate "from Absolutely Nothing", (the same as God, as is explained from the monograph [9] of the followers of science and that a Physical Vacuum is the source material of elementary particles - originating from the initial torsion field. Uh huh...

Akimov's company very much loves new terms. Initially their fields were called spinor, then microlepton [5], then torsion [fields]. At one time "microleptons" played the role of the particles of this field. Now new particles, "tordions", have been declared to be quanta which are not absorbed in any medium. There is an unavoidable question in this regard - in such a case how they be detected (but Akimov's people detect them at times with the aid of an ordinary camera [4]) - there is no answer.

It is interesting to call attention to the evolution of the interrelationships of torsion fields and energy. Earlier they talked of torsion fields as a source of inexhaustible energy. One of the previous ideologists of the group, A. F. Okhatrin, told of a so-called generator of free energy which had been made based on "the spontaneous decomposition of microleptons". A statement of the authors about the creation of "torsion" generators of energy was cited above. It is stated at the same time that "torsion signals (of influence) are transmitted informationally, not energetically, that is, without the transmission of energy". Or, yet more specifically, "the potential of torsion fields is identical to zero, which corresponds to their non-energy nature". This is a citation from point 10 of the properties. In point 6 it is pointed out that "like torsion charges are attracted and unlike ones are repelled". How can forces exist if the corresponding field has potential equal to zero? If it is identical to zero then its gradient is equal to zero. How can the energy be drawn out of such a field? And how can it repel or attract?

In point 5 it reports that "torsion fields generated by classic spin 4) can be axial and radial. Each of these fields can be clockwise or counterclockwise. How can a radial vector be clockwise or counterclockwise - only Akimov's school knows!

Skipping over the multitude of the ordinary blunders of this section we pause only on the central claim of the article - the infinite speed of transmission of information with the aid of torsion fields. One hardly needs to be reminded that in the process the authors are rejecting the Special Theory of Relativity (STO) based on the impossibility of the transmission of information with a speed greater than the speed of light in a vacuum. I stress that this is just about the speed of transmission of information and nothing else. The authors refer to instances where the speed of light has been exceeded in various physical phenomena. Similar sorts of sensational reports actually have appeared, especially in the last decade. None of them have any relation to Einstein's axiom. In order not to make the description more cumbersome I will refer to a survey article [6] of the well-known physicist R. Chiao who has done many experiments in this field. He especially stipulates that no trustworthy demonstrations of this type shake Einstein's principle in any way. STO is a cornerstone of physics and has been confirmed an endless number of times by the entire practical experience of nuclear physics .

Up to now nothing has been said directly about how it is known that torsion fields do not exist in nature. In principle, theory permits the existence of such fields (Akimov and Shipov didn't invent them!). However, it imposes severe restrictions on the permissible size of their interaction with matter. First of all, it is associated with the very high accuracy with which the laws of other known "long-range actions" are confirmed - electromagnetism and gravity. They are observed with an accuracy of up to 10-8, which means that any new unknown long-range action can only be weaker than these two; otherwise it would have been observed long ago. Special experiments were set up to search for a hypothetical interaction of a non-magnetic nature - "spin" - and it was not found even at an experiment sensitivity level permitting observation at a level of 10-11 from magnetic [7]. Therefore, if there is anything like a torsion field and it is observed it will inevitably be so insignificantly weak that there is no point in talking about it having an applied role. This theme is developed in more detail in studies [4, 8].

Switching to the concluding section of the article [1], it remains to discuss the most difficult question, the so-called "Results of Experimental Investigations". Any experiment is a crucial argument in the search for truth if it is reliable, which means in practice that it is repeatedly reproducible by independent researchers. And even in this case it can remain doubtful if it contradicts firmly established laws and facts - collective mistakes and blunders are possible. (For example, a well-prepared trick can appear convincingly the same in various auditoriums and in different performances). In the case under investigation of a "torsion radio" there is in general no faith in the results presented inasmuch as these results have no independent verification and contradict a number of fundamental principles of physics.

Nevertheless it is difficult to judge these experiments which lack the most necessary details in their description. For example, nothing is said about the receiver and transmitter (except the name of the developer). Nevertheless, having been present at Akimov's early reports I take the risk on myself of reconstructing the essence of these experiments.

I am convinced that these experiments have at their base a search for odious "telepathic" communications which have been very much in fashion since the 1950s. when the political "thaw" of Khrushchev gave rise to a renaissance of interest in "mediumism" or, in the terminology of those days, "parapsychology". Information reached our "special services" then about experiments in the US attempting (they turned out to be fruitless) to establish telepathic communications with submarines (just recently in the US Senate a scandal broke out when it came out that their [intelligence] services had secretly spent $20 million for this nonsense - no more!). When I asked Akimov in his report how he received a "spinor signal" he replied simple-mindedly - through a psychic! But when I expressed disbelief in such a receiver, Akimov began to talk about the ongoing development of objective methods of reception in particular through the conductivity of the psychic's skin! This did not surprise me, and then Akimov began to talk about future semiconductor detectors. From that time Akimov has categorically denied in my presence the use of psychics in his experiments. In my opinion his "torsiongram" was acquired by the ordinary method for these experiments of presenting the "psychic"-transmitter one of the elements of a binary code which a second "receiver" participant is to guess. It has long been clear that "successful" telepathic sessions are based on the tendentious statistical selection of a successful short series of guesses. Of course, in the process the distance between the participants is not important. (Simply put, successes in telepathic communications are most often explained by ordinary cheating). The participation of a so-called "torsion" generator in these tests has no importance, of course; however the absurd illusion has been produced of the establishment of a communications path which does not attenuate with distance. I concede that Akimov initially genuinely believed in the discovery of "torsion" fields, but he could scarcely have kept this faith in succeeding decades if he had encountered a community of physicists.

And so, the widely-broadcast claims of the article's authors of the discovery of a "fifth force" - a new fundamental interaction - have no basis at all. Professional searches for new interactions have been systematically conducted by the world's physicists for the last century with complete understanding of the difficulties of this task in view of the searches for obviously very small forces. They have been unsuccessful so far. Against this background the many years of advertisements by A. Ye. Akimov of the fantastic prospects of numerous applied uses for non-existent fields are simply a continuation of the extortion of the public resources squandered in past decades under cover of secrecy. The depth to which these "scientists" have dived into the abyss of blathering and unbridled, absolutely unfounded concepts in combination with the natural reluctance of professional physicists to deal with incompetent opponents makes them almost invulnerable. This could be regarded as a unique religion 5) and the issue would be settled. There's only one little thing to do - this religion also needs to be separated from the state. It should be financed by its own parishioners or directly from "the infinite resources of a physical vacuum".

  1. A. Ye. Akimov, V. Ya. Tarasenko, S. Yu. Tolmachev. "Torsion Communications - a New Principle for the Transmission of Information". "Elektrosvyaz", N5, 2001, pp. 24-30.
  2. V. A. Rubakov. "Regarding G. I. Shipov's Book 'The Theory of a Physical Vacuum. Theory, Experiments, and Technology'". UFN, Vol. 170, N3, 351-52, 2000.
  3. Eh. P. Kruglyakov. "Swindlers Posing as Scientists". Moscow, Nauka, 2001.
  4. Ye. B. Aleksandrov. "Shady Science", Nauka i Zhizn', N1, 1991
  5. Ye. B. Aleksandrov and A. A. Anselm. "A. F. Okhatrin's Microleptons", Bulletin of the USSR Academy of Sciences N4, pp. 94-96, 1991
  6. Raymond F. Chiao. "Population inversion and superluminality", in the book "Amazing Light", Springer Verlag, New York, 1996, pp. 91-107.
  7. Ye. B. Aleksandrov, A. A. Anselm, Yu. V. Pavlov, R. M. Umarkhodzhayev. "The Limitation on the Existence of a New Type of Fundamental Interaction". ZhEhTF, Vol. 85, N6, pp. 1899-1906, 1983.
  8. Ye. B. Aleksandrov, V. L. Ginzburg. "Pseudoscience and its Propagandists". Bulletin of the RAN. Vol. 69, N3, pp. 199-202, 1999.
  9. V. Yu. Tikhoplav, T. S. Tikhoplav. "The Physics of Faith", "Dobryye Vesti [Good News]" Publishing House, St. Petersburg, 2002.

1) The article is being published with small abridgments with the goal of greater accessibility for the general reader.

2) The author of this critique had occasion to read a "top secret" report in 1987 by virtue of his work about a supposedly identified radical influence by the generator of a new field on the climate of the continent of Europe; about the generator it was only noted that it required 20 milliwatts and about its design it was said that it could not be disclosed at such a low level of secrecy!

3) Except for Akimov's colleague.

4) Again, a "homemade" term of Akimov: spin is a purely quantum concept: there is no "classic" spin.

5) Recently the ideology of "torsion" fields has actually acquired a distinctly religious bent - torsion fields are acquiring direct communications with the soul and God. For example, a monograph [9] has come out. On the cover is a quote: "When prayers are read over a candle the sound vibrations cause vibrations of plasma and they convert them to torsion waves which ascend to God". There are more than 20 references to Akimov and Shipov in the book.

Ye. B. Aleksandrov. Academician of the RAN.
Translated by G. Goldberg


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