Not long ago, Richard Hoagland proposed carrying out another "experiment" with his Accutron equipment, testing whether the planetary alignment due later this year induces a measurable "torsion field," as he claimed happened during the Venus transit of 8th June 2004 (and at other occasions too, but the Venus transit is the only one he's ever attempted to document.) He asked for suggestions on how to improve his experimental protocol, which had been criticized (by me, inter alia.)
His experimental setup can be seen here. A Microset™ precision timer and its ancillary software are used to monitor fluctuations in the frequency of the tuning fork inside a precision wristwatch. The claimed Venus transit result can be seen here.
The problems I see with this claim are as follows:
- He made no specific prediction
- There was no baseline and no control
- The first frequency peak at 07:03:53 went off-scale
- Many other peaks are seen later than 07:21:00, the end of the experimental period. Two of these are also off-scale and they are not explained.
- He tells us nothing about the equipment: How old the watch is, where the Microset was purchased, what laptop computer he used, etc.
Therefore I suggest the following experimental protocol for future tests:
- Purchase two brand new Accutron watches.
- Break the hands off them, since there are known issues with frequency variation according to position of the hands.
- Keep both watches rigidly fixed during test runs, since there are known issues with frequency variation according to position of the whole watch [same ref].
- Establish a baseline recording of at least one hour for each watch, with the watches in such a situation as does NOT expose them to the hypothesized "torsion field." This baseline can be taken many weeks or months before the test runs.
- Make a specific prediction. I don't think it is necessary to predict the actual frequency variation quantitatively. It would be enough, for example, to state "I think the tuning fork frequency will increase when exposed to the torsion field because the field will decrease the mass of the fork, and frequency is inversely proportional to the square root of the density of the fork material." Frequency excursions measured during test runs must be greater than any excursions seen during baseline runs to be valid.
- If possible, use one watch as a control, shielding it from the hypothesized field. This may mean sending it to the other side of the planet during the test run.
- Ensure that neither the experimental watch or the control watch is close to any abnormal electromagnetic field.
- Ensure that the ambient temperature is the same at the experimental site and the control site.
- Each test run should last 30 minutes, with the experimental watch and the control watch running and permanent records being taken at one-minute intervals.
- Stop any test which causes the frequency trace to go off-scale, and restart the test with sensitivity adjusted.
- Perform at least five test runs.
- Document all experimental hardware.
Under these conditions, clearly aberrant frequency excursions in four of the five test runs would be acceptable evidence in support of the hypothesis.
On Facebook, Hoagland drew attention to the difficulty of designing a protocol, writing that "we're in the same position as Van Allen before Explorer," by which I take him to mean that he expects to discover the torsion field as opposed to measuring it. However, that cannot be so—the Russian experimental work he so often refers to already did that. What seems to utterly escape him is that that work is thoroughly discredited.