I was looking for something else and found this article that I cut out from the Greensboro News & Record newspaper. I'm guessing that it was from around 1994. When I cut out the article, I forgot to keep the top of the paper that had the date.
What happened with John Howell and his book? Did he give up? Was he proven wrong? I must be using the wrong words when I use a search engine because I can't find one thing about it. I posted the article below in case you want to read it and see if you can find anything.
Relatively wrong? Pilot says yes
Ever hear of Howell's Theory of Relativity? John Howell says you will soon. The Greensboro man says it proves Einstein wrong.
BY JIM SCHLOSSER
The reaction most people have upon hearing John Howell's astonishing scientific claim is to challenge it with a familiar hand equation: lift right index finger parallel to the right temple and twirl counterclockwise.
That equals crazy.
Howell, a 40-year old USAir pilot who lives in Adams Farm, says he has developed a theory that proves Albert Einstein's theory of relativity wrong.
Wait! Just wait!
Howell offers this challenge: Anyone who can prove his theory wrong will get $10.000. The money is in the bank. The only catch is they must read Howell's book, "The Universe in a New Light." Howell says he will guarantee payment in the publishing contract. First, though, he must find a publisher.
"I don't think I can lose," he says of the 10-grand challenge. "The premise is on solid ground."
Howell believes Einstein was wrong in his assertion that no particle can move faster than light in a vacuum. Howell thinks it can. If he's right, it would mean the universe is larger than we contemplate it to be. Rockets could be developed to travel faster than the speed of light. Vast regions of the universe would be reachable.
Right or wrong, Howell seems sane and can baffle people when he talks about relative velocity or plain velocity or apparent relative velocity or mass at rest. He majored in engineering technology in college but has had a fascination with physics since his boyhood in Newhall, Calif. He worked as a test engineer on the stealth bomber and stealth fighter before joining USAir as a pilot five years ago.
He guesses he has devoted 2,000 hours over two years on his theory. When not aloft for USAir, he works at his computer in the kitchen or studies papers spread on the dining room table. He stores his equations and papers in a French's Mustard box.
"I have worked some days 18 hours and not even gotten tired or even known I'm working," he says.
His teenage son, Jeff, a Ragsdale High School student, walks through the dining room and gives a vote of confidence. "He's right," he says of Dad.
Jeff's fellow students sort of say that when he tells them about his father's discovery.
"Yeah, right!" they exclaim.
Skeptics don't scare John Howell, a slim Californian with a scholarly manner and plenty of self-confidence. He has challenged professional physicists to disprove his theory. Most haven't returned his calls. One looked it over and said he knows something is wrong, but couldn't put his finger on it. He promised to get back to Howell. He hasn't.
Howell believes the $10,000 reward is the only way he can grab the attention of physicists. To those who question his credentials, Howell says Einstein's theory isn't beyond the grasp of the untrained. Yes, it's tedious, but with concentration it can be understood, he says.
Physicist Tom Sandin of N.C. A&T State University has written extensively on relativity, including in a recent issue of the American Journal of Physics and six chapters in his book, "Essentials of Modern Physics." He says he gets letters from as far away as Greece and Australia from non-physicists who have developed pet theories of relativity. He tells them — and he told Howell — he doesn't have the time to check them all out. He provided other names for Howell to contact.
Sandin says mainstream scientists challenged Einstein's theory after it was published in 1905. But no one disproved it. And it has been examined again and again since then.
"Einstein's special relativity equations have stood the test of all experiments I know of," Sandin says.
Howell agrees no one has been successful so far challenging Einstein, but "I'm going to be the first."
Should he dethrone Einstein, Howell would become a rich man, maybe even a Nobel Prize winner. His USAir colleagues — pilots are fascinated with physics, he says — encourage him to push on. Fellow pilot Mike Wilson of Gaston County wrote him: "Your ideas about the background microwave radiation and the optical limits, due to velocity, are very interesting and apparently unique. I think they are the real meat of your book."
Howell doesn't seek to offend the memory of Albert Einstein, who died in 1955 in Princeton, N.J. Howell Views Einstein as a true genius who did it all with his mind. He didn't have calculators and computers.
One of Howell's favorite quotes is by Einstein:
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, his eyes are closed.
Howell loves the mysterious. His eyes are open. He believes he and Einstein would have clicked as friends. Don't forget Einstein himself challenged some of Sir Isaac Newton's theories.
"I think Einstein would be appalled at the resistance to change we see among physicists today," Howell says. "He was a believer in change and pushing ahead. I think I would have Einstein convinced in minutes that he has some errors in his theory."