James F. Woodward

James F. Woodward (born 1941) is a professor emeritus of history and an adjunct professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton. He is best known for a physics hypothesis proposed in 1990, later expanded, that predicts a series of physical effects that he refers to as Mach effects but others refer to as the Woodward effect. Woodward claims the effect could be used as a reactionless drive for space travel.

Education and professorshipsEdit

Woodward is a professor emeritus of history and an adjunct professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton.[1]

Woodward effectEdit

Woodward claims that his hypothesis predicts physical forces that he calls Mach effects but are usually referred to as the Woodward effect. He says that his hypothesis is based on Mach's principle that posits inertia, the resistance of mass to acceleration, is a result of the mutual gravitational attraction of all matter in the universe. Thus, if the mass of a given object can be varied while being oscillated either in a linear or orbital path, such that the mass is high while the mass is moving in one direction and low while moving back, then the net effect should be acceleration in one direction as the inertial drag of the universe upon the object varies as its mass varies. If a spacecraft engine could be designed to exploit it then acceleration could be produced without using rocket engine propellants.[2] He claims that this hypothesis is testable so he and others have performed and continue to perform experiments attempting to detect and utilize this effect. His claim of a reactionless drive for possible breakthrough applications to space travel has generated a fair amount of popular interest.[3][4][5]

Woodward was granted a patent on a proposed device utilizing this effect in 1994.[6] Woodward and an associate were granted another patent in 2002 for a proposed thruster design also using this effect.[7]

Speculation on space travelEdit

He frequently contributes to articles on speculative space travel subjects,[8] especially wormholes.[9] In 2012 he published a book on the application of the physical effects predicted by his hypothesis to space travel.[10]


  1. ^ "Jim Woodward". Fullerton, department of physics. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ Woodward, James F. (October 1990). "A new experimental approach to Mach's principle and relativistic gravitation" (PDF). Foundations of Physics Letters. 3 (5): 497–506. Bibcode:1990FoPhL...3..497W. doi:10.1007/bf00665932.
  3. ^ "Smokeless rockets launching soon?". CNET. 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Gravity, Inertia, Exotica" Tau Zero Foundation
  5. ^ "Interstellar propulsion: the quest for empty space." Entrepreneur.com
  6. ^ "US Patent #5,280,864 METHOD AND APPARATUS TO GENERATE THRUST BY INERTIAL MASS VARIANCE" (PDF). 25 January 1994. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  7. ^ US Patent #6,347,766 "Method And Apparatus For Generating Propulsive Forces Without The Ejection Of Propellant" James Woodward and Thomas Mahood, Retrieved 23 December 2008
  8. ^ "The Space Show: Dr. James Woodward". The Space Show. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19.
  9. ^ Woodward, James F. (April 1997). "Twists of fate: Can we make traversable wormholes in spacetime?" (PDF). Foundations of Physics Letters. 10 (2): 153–181. Bibcode:1997FoPhL..10..153W. doi:10.1007/BF02764237. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  10. ^ Woodward, James F. (2012). Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes. Springer Praxis Books. ISBN 978-1461456223.

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