Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology [NOOK Book]

Overview

This riveting work of investigative reporting and history exposes classified government projects to build gravity-defying aircraft--which have an uncanny resemblance to flying saucers.

The atomic bomb was not the only project to occupy government scientists in the 1940s. Antigravity technology, originally spearheaded by scientists in Nazi Germany, was another high priority, one that still may be in effect today. Now for the first time, a ...
See more details below
Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

Overview

This riveting work of investigative reporting and history exposes classified government projects to build gravity-defying aircraft--which have an uncanny resemblance to flying saucers.

The atomic bomb was not the only project to occupy government scientists in the 1940s. Antigravity technology, originally spearheaded by scientists in Nazi Germany, was another high priority, one that still may be in effect today. Now for the first time, a reporter with an unprecedented access to key sources in the intelligence and military communities reveals suppressed evidence that tells the story of a quest for a discovery that could prove as powerful as the A-bomb.

The Hunt for Zero Point explores the scientific speculation that a "zero point" of gravity exists in the universe and can be replicated here on Earth. The pressure to be the first nation to harness gravity is immense, as it means having the ability to build military planes of unlimited speed and range, along with the most deadly weaponry the world has ever seen. The ideal shape for a gravity-defying vehicle happens to be a perfect disk, making antigravity tests a possible explanation for the numerous UFO sightings of the past 50 years.

Chronicling the origins of antigravity research in the world's most advanced research facility, which was operated by the Third Reich during World War II, The Hunt for Zero Point traces U.S. involvement in the project, beginning with the recruitment of former Nazi scientists after the war. Drawn from interviews with those involved with the research and who visited labs in Europe and the United States, The Hunt for Zero Point journeys to the heart of the twentieth century's most puzzling unexplained phenomena.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
What if there were a down-to-earth explanation for all those UFO sightings? Aviation editor for Jane's Defence Weekly, the world's leading military affairs journal, Nick Cook has been immersed in the arcana of military aircraft for more than a decade. In this startling work of investigative journalism, Cook presents evidence of secret antigravity research dating back to World War II. He reveals that the ideal shape for a craft using antigravity technology is the same as the classic flying saucer. Maybe, one day, we'll be the ones in the flying saucers buzzing distant planets.
Publishers Weekly
For the last 15 years, Cook has been an aviation reporter and editor at Jane's Defence Weekly, a defense industry trade journal that one would expect to find Cheney and Rumsfeld discussing on the way to the briefing room. A full-length project from a high-ranking Jane's editor creates a certain confidence in the contents, yet, as Cook makes clear, most of what's in this book won't be found in Jane's, as the evidence for "zero point energy" is less concrete, even if just as scrupulously sourced here. The book begins when Cook jokingly calls the possibility of antigravity drives "the ultimate quantum leap in aircraft design" in one of his Jane's pieces more than 10 years ago. A few years later, someone anonymously slips him an article, dating to the 1950s, that shows officials at Lockheed Martin and other big contractors claiming they were close to exactly that. Intrigued, Cook takes the bait and follows the trail to the wildest territory imaginable: destroyed or pulled reports; disappearing battleships; silent, glowing flying discs; time distortion; Nazi slave labor. To simplify in the extreme: Cook has found evidence that Nazi scientists had tapped into zero point energy the quantum energy that possibly exists within vacuums in amounts that make nuclear energy look like a joke (enough energy in the space of a coffee cup, Cook explains, to boil the world's oceans six times over). When WWII ended, Nazi secrets were plundered by the U.S. Army, which spirited them, along with many of the German scientists themselves, into "black" programs not acknowledged by the government and which may have produced working aerospace technology based on zero point. Through his cover as a Jane's reporter, Cook seeks out the stealthy wonks of this top-secret world, but readers will have to wade through some opaque thumbnail descriptions of the science and arcane WWII history to understand what he and others are getting at. It is well worth it. (On sale Aug. 13) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When Nazis, flying saucers, and government conspiracies figure in a single narrative, you've got the makings of either a crackpot manifesto or an intriguing work of scientific speculation. Thankfully, the aviation editor for Jane's Defence Weekly delivers the latter. Cook's spirited if sometimes improbable tale turns on the question of whether human beings might be able to harness and thereby defy gravity in order to do such things as travel through time and cross the galaxy at the speed of light. It's theoretically possible, Cook suggests; for at least a couple of generations, some physicists have suspected that the universe conceals a fifth dimension-hyperspace-in which gravity as we understand it no longer applies. Getting to that point, of course, presents plenty of practical problems, but that has not discouraged the efforts of engineers, from the Nazi scientists who gave the world jet fighters and the V2 rocket to some of NASA's best and brightest. Though much of his argument involves questionable evidence and a cool-to-cold trail, Cook examines Nazi efforts to develop "flying discs" (the disc, it appears, is the ideal shape for an antigravity aircraft) and considers the possibility that after WWII, American engineers might have whisked a few Nazi documents (or, for that matter, scientists) off to their labs to continue the experiments. If so, he speculates, then the UFOs that began to pop up in Air Force and police reports in great numbers beginning in the late 1940s might in fact have been antigravitational aircraft making test flights. Cook, who clearly knows his technology, is fully aware that he sometimes treads in the territory of what scientists call "The Legend"; he cautionsthat no single explanation can satisfactorily account for all the UFO sightings on record. Hardheaded rationalists will likely take this with a shakerful of salt, but technology enthusiasts, aviation buffs, and UFO watchers should find it fascinating.
From the Publisher
“An intriguing work of scientific speculation. Technology enthusiasts, aviation buffs, and UFO watchers should find it fascinating.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An extraordinary investigation into aviation’s greatest mystery.” —Mail on Sunday

“Cook relates his investigations in splendid cloak-and-dagger style with low-lit X-files scenes of secret meetings and nervous witnesses.” —Guardian (London)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307419439
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 315,659
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

For more than a decade, NICK COOK has served as aviation editor of Jane's Defense Weekly, the world's leading military-affairs journal. His articles have also appeared in newspapers worldwide. He lives in London.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

From the heavy-handed style of the prose and the faint handwritten "1956" scrawled in pencil along the top of the first page, the photocopied pages had obviously come from some long-forgotten schlock popular science journal.

I had stepped away from my desk only for a few moments and somehow in the interim the article had appeared. The headline ran: "The G-Engines Are Coming!"

I glanced around the office, wondering who had put it there and if this was someone's idea of a joke. The copier had cut off the top of the first page and the title of the publication with it, but it was the drawing above the headline that was the giveaway. It depicted an aircraft, if you could call it that, hovering a few feet above a dry lakebed, a ladder extending from the fuselage and a crewmember making his way down the steps dressed in a U.S.-style flight suit and flying helmet--standard garb for that era. The aircraft had no wings and no visible means of propulsion.

I gave the office another quick scan. The magazine's operations were set on the first floor. The whole building was open-plan. To my left, the business editor was head-down over a proof-page checking copy. To her right was the naval editor, a guy who was good for a windup, but who was currently deep into a phone conversation and looked like he had been for hours.

I was reminded of a technology piece I'd penned a couple of years earlier about the search for scientific breakthroughs in U.S. aerospace and defense research. In a journal not noted for its exploration of the fringes of paranormality, nor for its humor, I'd inserted a tongue-in-cheek reference to gravity--or rather to antigravity, a subject beloved of science-fiction writers.

"For some U.S. aerospace engineers," I'd said, "an antigravity propulsion system remains the ultimate quantum leap in aircraft design." The implication was that antigravity was the aerospace equivalent of the holy grail: something longed for, dreamed about, but beyond reach--and likely always to remain so.

Somehow the reference had escaped the sub-editors and, as a result, amongst my peers, other aerospace and defense writers on the circuit, I'd taken some flak for it. For Jane's, the publishing empire founded on one man's obsession with the detailed specifications of ships and aircraft almost a century earlier, technology wasn't something you joked about.

The magazine I wrote--and still write--for, Jane's Defence Weekly, documented the day-to-day dealings of the multibillion-dollar defense business. JDW, as we called it, is but one of a portfolio of products detailing the ins and outs of the global aerospace and defense industry. If you want to know about the thrust-to-weight ratio of a Chinese combat aircraft engine or the pulse repetition frequency of a particular radar system, somewhere in the Jane's portfolio of products there is a publication that has the answers. In short, Jane's was, and always has been, about facts. Its motto is: Authoritative, Accurate, Impartial.

It was a huge commercial intelligence-gathering operation; and provided they had the money, anyone could buy into its vast knowledge base.

I cast a glance at the bank of sub-editors' work-stations over in the far corner of the office, but nobody appeared remotely interested in what was happening at my desk. If the subs had nothing to do with it, and usually they were the first to know about a piece of piss-taking that was going down in the office, I figured whoever had put it there was from one of the dozens of other departments in the building and on a different floor. Perhaps my anonymous benefactor had felt embarrassed about passing it on to me?

I studied the piece again.

The strapline below the headline proclaimed: "By far the most potent source of energy is gravity. Using it as power, future aircraft will attain the speed of light." It was written by one Michael Gladych and began: "Nuclear-powered aircraft are yet to be built, but there are research projects already under way that will make the super-planes obsolete before they are test-flown. For in the United States and Canada, research centers, scientists, designers and engineers are perfecting a way to control gravity--a force infinitely more powerful than the mighty atom. The result of their labors will be antigravity engines working without fuel--weightless airliners and space ships able to travel at 170,000 miles per second."

On any other day, that would have been the moment I'd have consigned it for recycling. But something in the following paragraph caught my eye.

The gravity research, it said, had been supported by the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company, Bell Aircraft, Lear "and several other American aircraft manufacturers who would not spend millions of dollars on science fiction." It quoted Lawrence D. Bell, the founder of the plane-maker that was first to beat the sound barrier. "We're already working on nuclear fuels and equipment to cancel out gravity." George S. Trimble, head of Advanced Programs and "Vice President in charge of the G-Project at Martin Aircraft," added that the conquest of gravity "could be done in about the time it took to build the first atom bomb."

A little further on, it quoted "William P. Lear, the chairman of Lear Inc., makers of autopilots and other electronic controls." It would be another decade before Bill Lear went on to design and build the first of the sleek business jets that still carry his name. But in 1956, according to Gladych, Lear had his mind on other things.

"All matter within the ship would be influenced by the ship's gravitation only," Lear apparently said of the wondrous G-craft. "This way, no matter how fast you accelerated or changed course, your body would not feel it any more than it now feels the tremendous speed and acceleration of the earth." The G-ship, Gladych explained, could take off like a cannon shell, come to a stop with equal abruptness and the passengers wouldn't even need seat belts. This ability to accelerate rapidly, the author continued, would make it ideal as a space vehicle capable of acceleration to a speed approaching that of light.

There were some oblique references to Einstein, some highly dubious "facts" about the nature of subatomic physics and some speculation about how various kinds of "antigravity engines" might work.

But the one thing I kept returning to were those quotes. Had Gladych made them up or had Lawrence Bell, George S. Trimble and William "Bill" Lear really said what he had quoted them as saying?

Outside, the rain beat against the double-glazed windows, drowning the sound of the traffic that crawled along the London to Brighton road and the unrelenting hum of the air conditioning that regulated the temperature inside.

The office was located in the last suburb of the Greater London metropolis; next stop the congested joys of the M25 ring road and the M23 to Gatwick Airport. The building was a vast redbrick two-story bunker amid between-the-wars gray brickwork and pebbledash. The rain acted like a muslin filter, washing out what little ambient color Coulsdon possessed. In the rain, it was easy to imagine that nothing much had changed here for decades.

As aviation editor of JDW, my beat was global and it was pretty much unstructured. If I needed to cover the latest air-to-surface weapons developments in the U.S.A., I could do it, with relatively few questions asked. My editor, an old pro, with a history as long as your arm in publishing, gave each of us, the so-called "specialists" (the aviation, naval and land systems editors), plenty of rope. His only proviso was that we filed our expenses within two of weeks of travel and that we gave him good, exclusive stories. If I wanted to cover an aerospace and defense exhibition in Moscow, Singapore or Dubai, the funds to do so were almost always there.

As for the job itself, it was a mixture of hard-edged reporting and basic provision of information. We reported on the defense industry, but we were part of it, too--the vast majority of the company's revenue coming from the same people we wrote about. Kowtowing was a no-no, but so was kicking down doors. If you knew the rules and played by them you could access almost any part of the global defense-industrial complex. In the course of a decade, I'd visited secret Russian defense facilities and ultrasensitive U.S. government labs. If you liked technology, a bit of skulduggery and people, it was a career made in heaven. At least 60 percent of the time I was on the road. The bit I liked least was office downtime.

Again, I looked around for signs that I was being set up. Then, satisfied that I wasn't, but feeling self-conscious nonetheless, I tucked the Gladych article into a drawer and got on with the business of the day. Another aerospace and defense company had fallen prey to post-Cold War economics. It was 24 hours before the paper closed for press and the news editor was yelling for copy.

Two days later, in a much quieter moment, I visited the Jane's library. It was empty but for the librarian, a nice man way past retirement age who used to listen to the BBC's radio lunchtime news while gazing out over the building's bleak rear lot.

In the days before the Internet revolution, the library was an invaluable resource. Fred T. Jane published his first yearbook, Jane's Fighting Ships, in 1898; and in 1909 the second, Jane's All The World's Aircraft, quickly built on the reputation of the former as a reference work par excellence for any and all information on aeronautical developments. Nigh on a century later, the library held just about every book and magazine ever put out by the company and a pile of other reference works besides.

I scanned the shelves till I found what I was looking for.

The Jane's All The World's Aircraft yearbook for 1956 carried no mention of antigravity experiments, nor did successive volumes, but that came as no great surprise. The yearbooks are the aerospace equivalent of Burke's Peerage or the Guinness Book of Records: every word pored over, analyzed and double-checked for accuracy. They'd have given antigravity a very wide berth.

For a story like this, what I was looking for was a news publication.

I looked along the shelves again. Jane's had gotten into the magazine publishing business relatively recently and the company's copies of Flight International and Aviation Week ran back only a few years. But it did have bound volumes of Interavia Aerospace Review from before the Second World War. And it was on page 373 in the May 1956 edition of this well-respected publication, in amongst advertisements for Constellation airliners, chunky-looking bits of radar equipment and (curiously for an aviation journal) huge "portable" Olivetti typewriters, that I found a feature bylined "Intel, Washington, D.C." with the headline: "Without Stress or Strain...or Weight." Beneath it ran the strapline: "The following article is by an American journalist who has long taken a keen interest in questions of theoretical physics and has been recommended to the Editors as having close connections with scienti- fic circles in the United States. The subject is one of immediate interest, and Interavia would welcome further comment from knowledgeable sources."

The article referred to something called "electro-gravitics" research, whose aim was to "seek the source of gravity and its control." This research, "Intel" stated, had "reached a stage where profound implications for the entire human race are beginning to emerge."

I read on, amused by the tone and wondering how on earth the article had come to be accepted in a mainstream aerospace journal.

"In the still short life of the turbojet airplane [by then, 1956, little more than a decade], man has had to increase power in the form of brute thrust some twenty times in order to achieve just twice the speed. The cost in money in reaching this point has been prodigious. The cost in highly specialized man-hours is even greater. By his present methods man actually fights in direct combat the forces that resist his efforts. In conquering gravity he would be putting one of his most competent adversaries to work for him. Antigravitics is the method of the picklock rather than the sledgehammer."

Not only that, the article stated, but antigravity could be put to work in other fields beyond aerospace. "In road cars, trains and boats the headaches of transmission of power from the engine to wheels or propellers would simply cease to exist. Construction of bridges and big buildings would be greatly simplified by temporary induced weightlessness etc. Other facets of work now under way indicate the possi- bility of close controls over the growth of plant life; new therapeutic techniques, permanent fuelless heating units for homes and industrial establishments; new sources of industrial power; new manufacturing techniques; a whole field of new chemistry. The list is endless ...and growing."

It was also sheer fantasy.

Yet, for the second time in a week I had found an article--this time certainly in a publication with a solid reputation--that stated that U.S. aerospace companies were engaged in the study of this "science." It cited the same firms mentioned by Gladych and some new ones as well: Sperry-Rand and General Electric among them. Within these institutions, we were supposed to believe, people were working on theories that could not only make materials weightless, but could actually give them "negative weight"--a repulsive force that would allow them to loft away "contra-gravitationally." The article went further. It claimed that in experimentation conducted by a certain "Townsend T. Brown" weights of some materials had already been cut by as much as 30 percent by "energizing" them and that model "disc airfoils" utilizing this technology had been run in a wind tunnel under a charge of a hundred and fifty kilovolts "with results so impressive as to be highly classified."

I gazed out over the slate rooftops. For Interavia to have written about antigravity, there had to have been something in it. The trouble was, it was history. My bread-and-butter beat was the aerospace industry of the 1990s, not this distant cozy world of the fifties with its heady whiff of jet-engine spirit and the developing Cold War.

I replaced the volume and returned to my desk. It should have been easy to let go, but it wasn'. If people of the caliber quoted by Gladych and Interavia had started talking about antigravity anytime in the past ten years I would have reported it--however skeptical I might be on a personal level. Why had these people said the things they had with such conviction? One of them, George S. Trimble, had gone so far as to predict that a breakthrough would occur in around the same time it took to develop the atomic bomb--roughly five years. Yet, it had never happened. And even if the results of "Townsend T. Brown's" experiments had been "so impressive as to be highly classified," they had clearly come to naught; otherwise, by the 60s or 70s the industry would have been overtaken by fuelless propulsion technology.

I rang a public relations contact at Lockheed Martin, the U.S. aerospace and defense giant, to see if I could get anything on the individuals Gladych had quoted. I knew that Lawrence Bell and Bill Lear were both dead. But what about George S. Trimble? If Trimble was alive--and it was a long shot, since he would have to be in his 80s--he would undoubtedly confirm what I felt I knew to be true; that he had been heavily misquoted or that antigravity had been the industry's silly-season story of 1956.

A simple phone call would do the trick.

Daniella "Dani" Abelman was an old media contact within Lockheed Martin's public affairs organization. Solid, reliable and likable, she'd grown up in the industry alongside me, only on the other side of the divide. Our relationship with the information managers of the aerospace and defense world was as double-edged as the PR/reporter interface in any other industry. Our job was to get the lowdown on the inside track and, more often than not, it was bad news that sold. But unlike our national newspaper counterparts, trade press hacks have to work within the industry, not outside it. This always added an extra twist to our quest for information. The industry comprised hundreds of thousands of people, but despite its size, it was surprisingly intimate and incestuous enough for everyone to know everyone else. If you pissed off a PR manager in one company, even if it was on the other side of the globe, you wouldn't last long, because word would quickly get around and the flow of information would dry up.

But with Abelman, it was easy. I liked her. We got on. I told her I needed some background on an individual in one of Lockheed Martin's "heritage" companies, a euphemism for a firm it had long since swallowed whole.

The Glenn L. Martin Company became the Martin Company in 1957. In 1961, it merged with the American-Marietta Company, becoming Martin-Marietta, a huge force in the Cold War U.S. defense electronics industry. In 1994, Martin-Marietta merged again, this time with Lockheed to form Lockheed Martin. The first of the global mega-merged defense behemoths, it built everything from stealth fighters and their guided weapons to space launchers and satellites.

Abelman was naturally suspicious when I told her I needed to trace an ex-company employee, but relaxed when I said that the person I was interested in had been doing his thing more than 40 years ago and was quite likely dead by now.

I was circumspect about the reasons for the approach, knowing full well if I told her the real story, she'd think I'd taken leave of my senses.

But I had a bona fide reason for calling her--and one that legitimately, if at a stretch, involved Trimble: I was preparing a piece on the emergence of the U.S. aerospace industry's "special projects" facilities in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Most large aerospace and defense companies had a special projects unit; a clandestine adjunct to their main business lines where classified activities could take place. The shining example was the Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works," a near-legendary aircraft-manufacturing facility on the edge of the California high desert.

For 50 years, the Skunk Works had sifted Lockheed for its most highly skilled engineers, putting them to work on top secret aircraft projects.

Using this approach it had delivered some of the biggest military breakthroughs of the 20th century, among them the world's first Mach 3 spyplane and stealth, the art of making aircraft "invisible" to radar and other enemy sensor systems.

But now the Skunk Works was coming out of the shadows and, in the process, giving something back to its parent organization. Special projects units were renowned for bringing in complex, high-risk defense programs on time and to cost, a skill that had become highly sought after by the main body of the company in the austere budget environment of the 1990s.

Trimble, I suggested, might be able to provide me with historical context and "color" in an otherwise dry business story. "Advanced Programs," the outfit he was supposed to have worked for, sounded a lot like Martin's version of the Skunk Works.

Abelman said she'd see what she could do, but I wasn't to expect any short-order miracles. She wasn't the company historian, she said dryly, but she'd make a few inquiries and get back to me.

I was surprised when she phoned me a few hours later. Company records, to her surprise--and mine--said that Trimble was alive and enjoying retirement in Arizona. "Sounds hard as nails, but an amazing guy by all accounts," she breezed. "He's kinda mystified why you want to talk to him after all this time, but seems okay with it. Like you said, it's historical, right?"

"Right," I said.

I asked Abelman, while she was at it, for all the background she had on the man. History or not, I said, trying to keep it light, I liked to be thorough. She was professional enough to sound less than convinced by my newfound interest in the past, but promised she'd do her best. I thanked her, then hung up, feeling happy that I'd done something about it. A few weeks, a month at the outside, the mystery would be resolved and I could go back to my regular beat, case closed.

Outside, another bank of gray storm clouds was rolling in above rooftops that were still slick from the last passing shower.

I picked up my coat and headed for the train station, knowing that somewhere between the office and my flat in central London I was going to get soaked right through.

The initial information came a week later from a search through some old files that I'd buried in a collection of boxes in my basement: a company history of Martin Marietta I'd barely remembered I'd acquired. It told me that in 1955 Trimble had become involved in something called the Research Institute for Advanced Studies, RIAS, a Martin spin-off organization whose brief was to "observe the phenomena of nature...to discover fundamental laws...and to evolve new technical concepts for the improvement and welfare of mankind."

Aside from the philanthropic tone, a couple of things struck me as fishy about the RIAS. First off, its name was as bland as the carefully chosen "Advanced Development Projects"--the official title of the Skunk Works. Second, was the nature and caliber of its recruits. These, according to the company history, were "world-class contributors in mathematics, physics, biology and materials science."

Soon afterward, I received a package of requested information from Lockheed Martin in the mail. RIAS no longer existed, having been subsumed by other parts of the Lockheed Martin empire. But through an old RIAS history, a brochure published in 1980 to celebrate the organization's "first 25 years," I was able to glean a little more about Trimble and the outfit he'd inspired. It described him as "one of the most creative and imaginative people that ever worked for the Company."

I read on.

From a nucleus of people that in 1955 met in a conference room at the Martin Company's Middle River plant in Maryland, RIAS soon developed a need for its own space. In 1957, with a staff of about 25 people, it moved to Baltimore City. The initial research program, the brochure said, was focused on NASA and the agency's stated goal of putting a man on the moon. But that wasn't until 1961.

One obvious question was, what had RIAS been doing in the interim? Mainly math, by the look of it. Its principal academic was described as an expert in "topology and nonlinear differential equations."

I hadn't the least idea what that meant.

In 1957, the outfit moved again, this time to a large mansion on the edge of Baltimore, a place chosen for its "campus-like" atmosphere. Offices were quickly carved from bedrooms and workshops from garages.

It reminded me of accounts I'd read of the shirtsleeves atmosphere of the early days of the Manhattan Project when Oppenheimer and his team of atom scientists had crunched through the physics of the bomb.

And that was the very same analogy Trimble had used. The conquest of gravity, he'd said, would come in the time it took to build the bomb.

I called a few contacts on the science and engineering side of Lockheed Martin, asking them, in a roundabout kind of way, whether there was, or ever had been, any part of the corporation involved in gravity or "counter-gravitational" research. After some initial questions on their part as to why I should be interested, which I just about managed to palm off, the answer that came back was a uniform "no." Well, almost. There was a guy, one contact told me, a scientist who worked in the combat aircraft division in Fort Worth who would talk eloquently about the mysteries of Nature and the universe to anyone who would listen. He'd also levitate paper clips on his desk. Great character, but a bit of a maverick.

"Paper clips?" I'd asked. "A maverick scientist levitating paper clips on his desk? At Lockheed Martin? Come on."

My source laughed. If he hadn't known better, he'd have said I was working up a story on antigravity.

I made my excuses and signed off. It was crazy, possibly dangerous stuff, but it continued to have me intrigued.

I called an old friend who'd gained a degree in applied mathematics. Tentatively, I asked whether topology and nondifferential linear equations had any application to the study of gravity.

Of course, he replied. Topology--the study of shape in physics--and nonlinear equations were the standard methods for calculating gravitational attraction.

I sat back and pieced together what I had. It didn't amount to much, but did it amount to something?

In 1957, George S. Trimble, one of the leading aerospace engineers in the U.S. at that time, a man, it could safely be said, with a background in highly advanced concepts and classified activity, had put together what looked like a special projects team; one with a curious task.

This, just a year after he started talking about the Golden Age of Antigravity that would sweep through the industry starting in the 1960s.

So, what went wrong?

In its current literature, the stuff pumped out in press releases all the time, the U.S. Air Force constantly talked up the "vision": where it was going to be in 25 years, how it was going to wage and win future wars and how technology was key.

In 1956, it would have been as curious as I was about the notion of a fuelless propulsion source, one that could deliver phenomenal performance gains over a jet; perhaps including the ability to accelerate rapidly, to pull hairpin turns without crushing the pilot and to achieve speeds that defied the imagination. In short, it would have given them something that resembled a UFO.

I rubbed my eyes. The dim pool of light that had illuminated the Lockheed-supplied material on Trimble and RIAS had brought on a nagging pain in the back of my head. The evidence was suggesting that in the mid-50s there had been some kind of breakthrough in the antigravity field and for a small window in time people had talked about it freely and openly, believing they were witnessing the dawn of a new era, one that would benefit the whole of mankind.

Then, in 1957, everyone had stopped talking about it. Had the military woken up to what was happening, bringing the clamps down?

Those in the know, outfits like Trimble's that had been at the forefront of the breakthrough, would probably have continued their research, assembling their development teams behind closed doors, ready for the day they could build real hardware.

But of course, it never happened.

It never happened because soon after Trimble, Bell and Lear made their statements, sanity prevailed. By 1960, it was like the whole episode never took place. Aerospace development continued along its structured, ordered pathway and antigravity became one of those taboo subjects that people like me never, ever talked about.

Satisified that everything was back in its place and as it should be, I went to bed.

Somewhere in my head I was still tracking the shrill, faraway sounds of the city when the phone rang. I could tell instantly it was Abelman. Separated by an ocean and five time zones, I heard the catch in her breathing.

"It's Trimble," she said. "The guy just got off the phone to me. Remember how he was fine to do the interview? Well, something's happened. I don't know who this old man is or what he once was, but he told me in no uncertain terms to get off his case. He doesn't want to speak to me and he doesn't want to speak to you, not now, not ever. I don't mind telling you that he sounded scared and I don't like to hear old men scared. It makes me scared. I don't know what you were really working on when you came to me with this, Nick, but let me give you some advice. Stick to what you know about; stick to the damned present. It's better that way for all of us."

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter 1

From the heavy-handed style of the prose and the faint handwritten "1956" scrawled in pencil along the top of the first page, the photocopied pages had obviously come from some long-forgotten schlock popular science journal.

I had stepped away from my desk only for a few moments and somehow in the interim the article had appeared. The headline ran: "The G-Engines Are Coming!"

I glanced around the office, wondering who had put it there and if this was someone's idea of a joke. The copier had cut off the top of the first page and the title of the publication with it, but it was the drawing above the headline that was the giveaway. It depicted an aircraft, if you could call it that, hovering a few feet above a dry lakebed, a ladder extending from the fuselage and a crewmember making his way down the steps dressed in a U.S.-style flight suit and flying helmet--standard garb for that era. The aircraft had no wings and no visible means of propulsion.

I gave the office another quick scan. The magazine's operations were set on the first floor. The whole building was open-plan. To my left, the business editor was head-down over a proof-page checking copy. To her right was the naval editor, a guy who was good for a windup, but who was currently deep into a phone conversation and looked like he had been for hours.

I was reminded of a technology piece I'd penned a couple of years earlier about the search for scientific breakthroughs in U.S. aerospace and defense research. In a journal not noted for its exploration of the fringes of paranormality, nor for its humor, I'd inserted a tongue-in-cheek reference to gravity--or rather to antigravity, a subjectbeloved of science-fiction writers.

"For some U.S. aerospace engineers," I'd said, "an antigravity propulsion system remains the ultimate quantum leap in aircraft design." The implication was that antigravity was the aerospace equivalent of the holy grail: something longed for, dreamed about, but beyond reach--and likely always to remain so.

Somehow the reference had escaped the sub-editors and, as a result, amongst my peers, other aerospace and defense writers on the circuit, I'd taken some flak for it. For Jane's, the publishing empire founded on one man's obsession with the detailed specifications of ships and aircraft almost a century earlier, technology wasn't something you joked about.

The magazine I wrote--and still write--for, Jane's Defence Weekly, documented the day-to-day dealings of the multibillion-dollar defense business. JDW, as we called it, is but one of a portfolio of products detailing the ins and outs of the global aerospace and defense industry. If you want to know about the thrust-to-weight ratio of a Chinese combat aircraft engine or the pulse repetition frequency of a particular radar system, somewhere in the Jane's portfolio of products there is a publication that has the answers. In short, Jane's was, and always has been, about facts. Its motto is: Authoritative, Accurate, Impartial.

It was a huge commercial intelligence-gathering operation; and provided they had the money, anyone could buy into its vast knowledge base.

I cast a glance at the bank of sub-editors' work-stations over in the far corner of the office, but nobody appeared remotely interested in what was happening at my desk. If the subs had nothing to do with it, and usually they were the first to know about a piece of piss-taking that was going down in the office, I figured whoever had put it there was from one of the dozens of other departments in the building and on a different floor. Perhaps my anonymous benefactor had felt embarrassed about passing it on to me?

I studied the piece again.

The strapline below the headline proclaimed: "By far the most potent source of energy is gravity. Using it as power, future aircraft will attain the speed of light." It was written by one Michael Gladych and began: "Nuclear-powered aircraft are yet to be built, but there are research projects already under way that will make the super-planes obsolete before they are test-flown. For in the United States and Canada, research centers, scientists, designers and engineers are perfecting a way to control gravity--a force infinitely more powerful than the mighty atom. The result of their labors will be antigravity engines working without fuel--weightless airliners and space ships able to travel at 170,000 miles per second."

On any other day, that would have been the moment I'd have consigned it for recycling. But something in the following paragraph caught my eye.

The gravity research, it said, had been supported by the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company, Bell Aircraft, Lear "and several other American aircraft manufacturers who would not spend millions of dollars on science fiction." It quoted Lawrence D. Bell, the founder of the plane-maker that was first to beat the sound barrier. "We're already working on nuclear fuels and equipment to cancel out gravity." George S. Trimble, head of Advanced Programs and "Vice President in charge of the G-Project at Martin Aircraft," added that the conquest of gravity "could be done in about the time it took to build the first atom bomb."

A little further on, it quoted "William P. Lear, the chairman of Lear Inc., makers of autopilots and other electronic controls." It would be another decade before Bill Lear went on to design and build the first of the sleek business jets that still carry his name. But in 1956, according to Gladych, Lear had his mind on other things.

"All matter within the ship would be influenced by the ship's gravitation only," Lear apparently said of the wondrous G-craft. "This way, no matter how fast you accelerated or changed course, your body would not feel it any more than it now feels the tremendous speed and acceleration of the earth." The G-ship, Gladych explained, could take off like a cannon shell, come to a stop with equal abruptness and the passengers wouldn't even need seat belts. This ability to accelerate rapidly, the author continued, would make it ideal as a space vehicle capable of acceleration to a speed approaching that of light.

There were some oblique references to Einstein, some highly dubious "facts" about the nature of subatomic physics and some speculation about how various kinds of "antigravity engines" might work.

But the one thing I kept returning to were those quotes. Had Gladych made them up or had Lawrence Bell, George S. Trimble and William "Bill" Lear really said what he had quoted them as saying?

Outside, the rain beat against the double-glazed windows, drowning the sound of the traffic that crawled along the London to Brighton road and the unrelenting hum of the air conditioning that regulated the temperature inside.

The office was located in the last suburb of the Greater London metropolis; next stop the congested joys of the M25 ring road and the M23 to Gatwick Airport. The building was a vast redbrick two-story bunker amid between-the-wars gray brickwork and pebbledash. The rain acted like a muslin filter, washing out what little ambient color Coulsdon possessed. In the rain, it was easy to imagine that nothing much had changed here for decades.

As aviation editor of JDW, my beat was global and it was pretty much unstructured. If I needed to cover the latest air-to-surface weapons developments in the U.S.A., I could do it, with relatively few questions asked. My editor, an old pro, with a history as long as your arm in publishing, gave each of us, the so-called "specialists" (the aviation, naval and land systems editors), plenty of rope. His only proviso was that we filed our expenses within two of weeks of travel and that we gave him good, exclusive stories. If I wanted to cover an aerospace and defense exhibition in Moscow, Singapore or Dubai, the funds to do so were almost always there.

As for the job itself, it was a mixture of hard-edged reporting and basic provision of information. We reported on the defense industry, but we were part of it, too--the vast majority of the company's revenue coming from the same people we wrote about. Kowtowing was a no-no, but so was kicking down doors. If you knew the rules and played by them you could access almost any part of the global defense-industrial complex. In the course of a decade, I'd visited secret Russian defense facilities and ultrasensitive U.S. government labs. If you liked technology, a bit of skulduggery and people, it was a career made in heaven. At least 60 percent of the time I was on the road. The bit I liked least was office downtime.

Again, I looked around for signs that I was being set up. Then, satisfied that I wasn't, but feeling self-conscious nonetheless, I tucked the Gladych article into a drawer and got on with the business of the day. Another aerospace and defense company had fallen prey to post-Cold War economics. It was 24 hours before the paper closed for press and the news editor was yelling for copy.

Two days later, in a much quieter moment, I visited the Jane's library. It was empty but for the librarian, a nice man way past retirement age who used to listen to the BBC's radio lunchtime news while gazing out over the building's bleak rear lot.

In the days before the Internet revolution, the library was an invaluable resource. Fred T. Jane published his first yearbook, Jane's Fighting Ships, in 1898; and in 1909 the second, Jane's All The World's Aircraft, quickly built on the reputation of the former as a reference work par excellence for any and all information on aeronautical developments. Nigh on a century later, the library held just about every book and magazine ever put out by the company and a pile of other reference works besides.

I scanned the shelves till I found what I was looking for.

The Jane's All The World's Aircraft yearbook for 1956 carried no mention of antigravity experiments, nor did successive volumes, but that came as no great surprise. The yearbooks are the aerospace equivalent of Burke's Peerage or the Guinness Book of Records: every word pored over, analyzed and double-checked for accuracy. They'd have given antigravity a very wide berth.

For a story like this, what I was looking for was a news publication.

I looked along the shelves again. Jane's had gotten into the magazine publishing business relatively recently and the company's copies of Flight International and Aviation Week ran back only a few years. But it did have bound volumes of Interavia Aerospace Review from before the Second World War. And it was on page 373 in the May 1956 edition of this well-respected publication, in amongst advertisements for Constellation airliners, chunky-looking bits of radar equipment and (curiously for an aviation journal) huge "portable" Olivetti typewriters, that I found a feature bylined "Intel, Washington, D.C." with the headline: "Without Stress or Strain...or Weight." Beneath it ran the strapline: "The following article is by an American journalist who has long taken a keen interest in questions of theoretical physics and has been recommended to the Editors as having close connections with scienti- fic circles in the United States. The subject is one of immediate interest, and Interavia would welcome further comment from knowledgeable sources."

The article referred to something called "electro-gravitics" research, whose aim was to "seek the source of gravity and its control." This research, "Intel" stated, had "reached a stage where profound implications for the entire human race are beginning to emerge."

I read on, amused by the tone and wondering how on earth the article had come to be accepted in a mainstream aerospace journal.

"In the still short life of the turbojet airplane [by then, 1956, little more than a decade], man has had to increase power in the form of brute thrust some twenty times in order to achieve just twice the speed. The cost in money in reaching this point has been prodigious. The cost in highly specialized man-hours is even greater. By his present methods man actually fights in direct combat the forces that resist his efforts. In conquering gravity he would be putting one of his most competent adversaries to work for him. Antigravitics is the method of the picklock rather than the sledgehammer."

Not only that, the article stated, but antigravity could be put to work in other fields beyond aerospace. "In road cars, trains and boats the headaches of transmission of power from the engine to wheels or propellers would simply cease to exist. Construction of bridges and big buildings would be greatly simplified by temporary induced weightlessness etc. Other facets of work now under way indicate the possi- bility of close controls over the growth of plant life; new therapeutic techniques, permanent fuelless heating units for homes and industrial establishments; new sources of industrial power; new manufacturing techniques; a whole field of new chemistry. The list is endless ...and growing."

It was also sheer fantasy.

Yet, for the second time in a week I had found an article--this time certainly in a publication with a solid reputation--that stated that U.S. aerospace companies were engaged in the study of this "science." It cited the same firms mentioned by Gladych and some new ones as well: Sperry-Rand and General Electric among them. Within these institutions, we were supposed to believe, people were working on theories that could not only make materials weightless, but could actually give them "negative weight"--a repulsive force that would allow them to loft away "contra-gravitationally." The article went further. It claimed that in experimentation conducted by a certain "Townsend T. Brown" weights of some materials had already been cut by as much as 30 percent by "energizing" them and that model "disc airfoils" utilizing this technology had been run in a wind tunnel under a charge of a hundred and fifty kilovolts "with results so impressive as to be highly classified."

I gazed out over the slate rooftops. For Interavia to have written about antigravity, there had to have been something in it. The trouble was, it was history. My bread-and-butter beat was the aerospace industry of the 1990s, not this distant cozy world of the fifties with its heady whiff of jet-engine spirit and the developing Cold War.

I replaced the volume and returned to my desk. It should have been easy to let go, but it wasn'. If people of the caliber quoted by Gladych and Interavia had started talking about antigravity anytime in the past ten years I would have reported it--however skeptical I might be on a personal level. Why had these people said the things they had with such conviction? One of them, George S. Trimble, had gone so far as to predict that a breakthrough would occur in around the same time it took to develop the atomic bomb--roughly five years. Yet, it had never happened. And even if the results of "Townsend T. Brown's" experiments had been "so impressive as to be highly classified," they had clearly come to naught; otherwise, by the 60s or 70s the industry would have been overtaken by fuelless propulsion technology.

I rang a public relations contact at Lockheed Martin, the U.S. aerospace and defense giant, to see if I could get anything on the individuals Gladych had quoted. I knew that Lawrence Bell and Bill Lear were both dead. But what about George S. Trimble? If Trimble was alive--and it was a long shot, since he would have to be in his 80s--he would undoubtedly confirm what I felt I knew to be true; that he had been heavily misquoted or that antigravity had been the industry's silly-season story of 1956.

A simple phone call would do the trick.

Daniella "Dani" Abelman was an old media contact within Lockheed Martin's public affairs organization. Solid, reliable and likable, she'd grown up in the industry alongside me, only on the other side of the divide. Our relationship with the information managers of the aerospace and defense world was as double-edged as the PR/reporter interface in any other industry. Our job was to get the lowdown on the inside track and, more often than not, it was bad news that sold. But unlike our national newspaper counterparts, trade press hacks have to work within the industry, not outside it. This always added an extra twist to our quest for information. The industry comprised hundreds of thousands of people, but despite its size, it was surprisingly intimate and incestuous enough for everyone to know everyone else. If you pissed off a PR manager in one company, even if it was on the other side of the globe, you wouldn't last long, because word would quickly get around and the flow of information would dry up.

But with Abelman, it was easy. I liked her. We got on. I told her I needed some background on an individual in one of Lockheed Martin's "heritage" companies, a euphemism for a firm it had long since swallowed whole.

The Glenn L. Martin Company became the Martin Company in 1957. In 1961, it merged with the American-Marietta Company, becoming Martin-Marietta, a huge force in the Cold War U.S. defense electronics industry. In 1994, Martin-Marietta merged again, this time with Lockheed to form Lockheed Martin. The first of the global mega-merged defense behemoths, it built everything from stealth fighters and their guided weapons to space launchers and satellites.

Abelman was naturally suspicious when I told her I needed to trace an ex-company employee, but relaxed when I said that the person I was interested in had been doing his thing more than 40 years ago and was quite likely dead by now.

I was circumspect about the reasons for the approach, knowing full well if I told her the real story, she'd think I'd taken leave of my senses.

But I had a bona fide reason for calling her--and one that legitimately, if at a stretch, involved Trimble: I was preparing a piece on the emergence of the U.S. aerospace industry's "special projects" facilities in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Most large aerospace and defense companies had a special projects unit; a clandestine adjunct to their main business lines where classified activities could take place. The shining example was the Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works," a near-legendary aircraft-manufacturing facility on the edge of the California high desert.

For 50 years, the Skunk Works had sifted Lockheed for its most highly skilled engineers, putting them to work on top secret aircraft projects.

Using this approach it had delivered some of the biggest military breakthroughs of the 20th century, among them the world's first Mach 3 spyplane and stealth, the art of making aircraft "invisible" to radar and other enemy sensor systems.

But now the Skunk Works was coming out of the shadows and, in the process, giving something back to its parent organization. Special projects units were renowned for bringing in complex, high-risk defense programs on time and to cost, a skill that had become highly sought after by the main body of the company in the austere budget environment of the 1990s.

Trimble, I suggested, might be able to provide me with historical context and "color" in an otherwise dry business story. "Advanced Programs," the outfit he was supposed to have worked for, sounded a lot like Martin's version of the Skunk Works.

Abelman said she'd see what she could do, but I wasn't to expect any short-order miracles. She wasn't the company historian, she said dryly, but she'd make a few inquiries and get back to me.

I was surprised when she phoned me a few hours later. Company records, to her surprise--and mine--said that Trimble was alive and enjoying retirement in Arizona. "Sounds hard as nails, but an amazing guy by all accounts," she breezed. "He's kinda mystified why you want to talk to him after all this time, but seems okay with it. Like you said, it's historical, right?"

"Right," I said.

I asked Abelman, while she was at it, for all the background she had on the man. History or not, I said, trying to keep it light, I liked to be thorough. She was professional enough to sound less than convinced by my newfound interest in the past, but promised she'd do her best. I thanked her, then hung up, feeling happy that I'd done something about it. A few weeks, a month at the outside, the mystery would be resolved and I could go back to my regular beat, case closed.

Outside, another bank of gray storm clouds was rolling in above rooftops that were still slick from the last passing shower.

I picked up my coat and headed for the train station, knowing that somewhere between the office and my flat in central London I was going to get soaked right through.

The initial information came a week later from a search through some old files that I'd buried in a collection of boxes in my basement: a company history of Martin Marietta I'd barely remembered I'd acquired. It told me that in 1955 Trimble had become involved in something called the Research Institute for Advanced Studies, RIAS, a Martin spin-off organization whose brief was to "observe the phenomena of nature...to discover fundamental laws...and to evolve new technical concepts for the improvement and welfare of mankind."

Aside from the philanthropic tone, a couple of things struck me as fishy about the RIAS. First off, its name was as bland as the carefully chosen "Advanced Development Projects"--the official title of the Skunk Works. Second, was the nature and caliber of its recruits. These, according to the company history, were "world-class contributors in mathematics, physics, biology and materials science."

Soon afterward, I received a package of requested information from Lockheed Martin in the mail. RIAS no longer existed, having been subsumed by other parts of the Lockheed Martin empire. But through an old RIAS history, a brochure published in 1980 to celebrate the organization's "first 25 years," I was able to glean a little more about Trimble and the outfit he'd inspired. It described him as "one of the most creative and imaginative people that ever worked for the Company."

I read on.

From a nucleus of people that in 1955 met in a conference room at the Martin Company's Middle River plant in Maryland, RIAS soon developed a need for its own space. In 1957, with a staff of about 25 people, it moved to Baltimore City. The initial research program, the brochure said, was focused on NASA and the agency's stated goal of putting a man on the moon. But that wasn't until 1961.

One obvious question was, what had RIAS been doing in the interim? Mainly math, by the look of it. Its principal academic was described as an expert in "topology and nonlinear differential equations."

I hadn't the least idea what that meant.

In 1957, the outfit moved again, this time to a large mansion on the edge of Baltimore, a place chosen for its "campus-like" atmosphere. Offices were quickly carved from bedrooms and workshops from garages.

It reminded me of accounts I'd read of the shirtsleeves atmosphere of the early days of the Manhattan Project when Oppenheimer and his team of atom scientists had crunched through the physics of the bomb.

And that was the very same analogy Trimble had used. The conquest of gravity, he'd said, would come in the time it took to build the bomb.

I called a few contacts on the science and engineering side of Lockheed Martin, asking them, in a roundabout kind of way, whether there was, or ever had been, any part of the corporation involved in gravity or "counter-gravitational" research. After some initial questions on their part as to why I should be interested, which I just about managed to palm off, the answer that came back was a uniform "no." Well, almost. There was a guy, one contact told me, a scientist who worked in the combat aircraft division in Fort Worth who would talk eloquently about the mysteries of Nature and the universe to anyone who would listen. He'd also levitate paper clips on his desk. Great character, but a bit of a maverick.

"Paper clips?" I'd asked. "A maverick scientist levitating paper clips on his desk? At Lockheed Martin? Come on."

My source laughed. If he hadn't known better, he'd have said I was working up a story on antigravity.

I made my excuses and signed off. It was crazy, possibly dangerous stuff, but it continued to have me intrigued.

I called an old friend who'd gained a degree in applied mathematics. Tentatively, I asked whether topology and nondifferential linear equations had any application to the study of gravity.

Of course, he replied. Topology--the study of shape in physics--and nonlinear equations were the standard methods for calculating gravitational attraction.

I sat back and pieced together what I had. It didn't amount to much, but did it amount to something?

In 1957, George S. Trimble, one of the leading aerospace engineers in the U.S. at that time, a man, it could safely be said, with a background in highly advanced concepts and classified activity, had put together what looked like a special projects team; one with a curious task.

This, just a year after he started talking about the Golden Age of Antigravity that would sweep through the industry starting in the 1960s.

So, what went wrong?

In its current literature, the stuff pumped out in press releases all the time, the U.S. Air Force constantly talked up the "vision": where it was going to be in 25 years, how it was going to wage and win future wars and how technology was key.

In 1956, it would have been as curious as I was about the notion of a fuelless propulsion source, one that could deliver phenomenal performance gains over a jet; perhaps including the ability to accelerate rapidly, to pull hairpin turns without crushing the pilot and to achieve speeds that defied the imagination. In short, it would have given them something that resembled a UFO.

I rubbed my eyes. The dim pool of light that had illuminated the Lockheed-supplied material on Trimble and RIAS had brought on a nagging pain in the back of my head. The evidence was suggesting that in the mid-50s there had been some kind of breakthrough in the antigravity field and for a small window in time people had talked about it freely and openly, believing they were witnessing the dawn of a new era, one that would benefit the whole of mankind.

Then, in 1957, everyone had stopped talking about it. Had the military woken up to what was happening, bringing the clamps down?

Those in the know, outfits like Trimble's that had been at the forefront of the breakthrough, would probably have continued their research, assembling their development teams behind closed doors, ready for the day they could build real hardware.

But of course, it never happened.

It never happened because soon after Trimble, Bell and Lear made their statements, sanity prevailed. By 1960, it was like the whole episode never took place. Aerospace development continued along its structured, ordered pathway and antigravity became one of those taboo subjects that people like me never, ever talked about.

Satisified that everything was back in its place and as it should be, I went to bed.

Somewhere in my head I was still tracking the shrill, faraway sounds of the city when the phone rang. I could tell instantly it was Abelman. Separated by an ocean and five time zones, I heard the catch in her breathing.

"It's Trimble," she said. "The guy just got off the phone to me. Remember how he was fine to do the interview? Well, something's happened. I don't know who this old man is or what he once was, but he told me in no uncertain terms to get off his case. He doesn't want to speak to me and he doesn't want to speak to you, not now, not ever. I don't mind telling you that he sounded scared and I don't like to hear old men scared. It makes me scared. I don't know what you were really working on when you came to me with this, Nick, but let me give you some advice. Stick to what you know about; stick to the damned present. It's better that way for all of us."
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2005

    Intelligent and well writing, you wont want to put it down.

    A wonderfully written book that delivers continued excitement and intrigue. Cook's facts are astounding. A great read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    A maddening search for a maddening truth

    Nick Cook, aviation editor for Janes Defence Weekly, investigates a technology that seems to have vanished with startling but only partial results. The book traces his search for the remnants of gravity experiments conducted in the US before WWII and in Germany during WWII, experiments that continued publicly until the fifties. The book is frustrating, the answer apppears to be around the next corner or the one beyond that. That is the nature of his search. For most of us the original claim, the fox that begins his hunt, is as preposterous as Hogwarts but his cautious hunt will lead you to conclusions that your friends will call preposterous also. An amazing book on many levels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2011

    military innovation must read

    Cook does an excellent job of describing how the need for an edge in defense pushes innovation. Should be part of every innovation practioners library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2003

    a space between myth and reality

    Using his position as editor of the prestigious Jane's Defense Weekly as a platform of credibility, Cook plumbs the fascinating space between hazy myth and hard reality in an attempt to unravel the threads of the UFO mystery running through history from WWII to the present. Like a blind man describing the elephant, Cook gropes and blunders his way from clue to clue, talking to industry and government insiders, who spice the mystery (on purpose?) as much by what they don't quite say as by what they do. The foundation for Cook's journey is a well researched history of technological intrigue, starting with an interest by the U.S. in post WWII Nazi science that seems dogged to the point of unnatural. Cook's final picture of the elephant is as fascinating as it it fuzzy. I was left with the distint impression that there is a "there" there. A darn good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2002

    This book didn't quite make it

    I wanted to wait for a reponse from Nick Cook via Jane's in response to the numerous questions I had after reading his book before writing this review. This book is a gigantic effort and it is obvious he put in lots of work, but he fails to ask the obvious questions or come up with conclusions that his own evidence requires. The book asserts that captured experimental Nazi disks are the likely explanation for the flying saucer sightings of the 1940's but he doesn't question how craft in their infancy of development went from zero to extremely advanced in sixty seconds. The book contains far too much nomenclature on aircraft, and is in parts, tedious and contradictory. Mr. Cook apologizes in his e-mail and states he should have perhaps a little more clear on some points. He is a gentleman in my book because he took the time to respond to my queries. This is the second review I have done and I have raised this book a star to 4. It is worth reading and exposes a side to Nazi science experiments which were up to now unknown.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    l

    Dlkcnujudpps d ldlsl dll.dlxldlxlxlxxlspqlmxlllllllaqqqqxjun syhhy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    NICK

    I love this book, I have been studying nazi ufos and I Am also reading the ss brotherhood of the bell so if ur interested in conspiracy and ufo
    this is a good book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2003

    The Hunt for Zero Point is a hit!

    I enjoyed the balanced and focused approach to investigating the cold trail left over from the Cold War in determining whether a real antigravity device was created. Avoiding intergalactic aliens, pod people and big foot, the author remains fosued on the target. Interesting viewpoint about the AG device being akin to a resistor. (I myself think that when we discover it, it will be a solid state device, not need cryogenics to run it, have no moving parts, and yet we still will not know what makes up gravity -- similar to our lack of knowledge of the true nature of electricity, yet that lack of understanding not hampering our ability to make a better television.) Two errors I detected, which I feel even a nonscientist like Nick should have captured, were found in the first few pages of the book. One: he states that electromagnetic/gravitational phenomena requires the solving of 'nonlinear differential equations.' Later on a touch of dyslexia hits him and he states the study involves the solving of 'linear nondifferential equations.' Hmmm, I never heard of those before... The second item was that he states that Newton identified the nature of gravity. That is incorrect; Newton codified the behavior of gravity. Because no one yet knows what gravity is. Not even Einstein.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2002

    Reading between the Lines = Anti-gravity Is Real

    After reading this book, then looking at others' reviews, i find it incredible that people exhibit the 'armchair' approach to subjects involving coverups and conspiracies. First and foremost, after reading the book, I actually researched more books into anti-gravity and found that the key names mentioned DO exist and that the themes ARE out there and exposed. The book mentions that several pieces of the puzzle have been found over 50 years, but a theory to explain this new strand of science is non-exstent. Remember, it took almost 50 years from Relativity Theory (ealry 1900's) to get to the Atom Bomb (1st exploded in 1945) I think the central aim of the book is NOT to answer conclusively, but to get YOU the public to not be so gullible in just sitting in your 'armchair' reading a 400 page book expecting EVERYTHING to be presented conclusively. Questions such as 'if they've spent 50 years on it why isn't in the public domain?' which is a common 'review' simply means the reader has NOT understood one of the messages of the book: The RESULTS from antigravity research is not in the vested interest of the western/corporate world and there is a defence against it becoming a commercial reality. A name not mentioned in the book is SEARL... and for those who don't read from the 'armchair' should research this name to find out what does happen when you make significant breakthroughs such as those men in Nick Cook's novel. Read this book, write your list of questions, then research more. This is a ground-breaking attempt by a layman. If more laymen (like me) are inspired to follow similar paths of inquiry then the truth is bound to come out in its proper reality.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    I CAN'T STOP READING YOU

    This is one of the most exciting books I've recently read. A recent article about Boeings work on "anti-gravity" underscores this books theme. "Anti-gravity" is coming to a town near you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2002

    I want my money back

    This is one of the worst books I've read in a while. I can't decide if Nick Cook knows better and just produced this thing cynically as a way to make money, or if he really has joined the ranks of the believers who propose that the government has really made anti-gravity technology work and that's what explains the UFO phenomenon. From proposing that the 'foo fighters' of WWII were a Nazi secret project to a guy who supposedly built a space ray in his apartment, Cook has me genuinely confused about whether he can't sort out fact from (wild) speculation and self-dramatization or has just decided that there is an endless market for this kind of "non-fiction." My advice is: Save your money for books about real science.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2002

    A Starting Point

    The book has a tendency to innudate one with facts, but offers no real conclusions on those facts. Granted it is investigating black ops and hidden history, but it fails to ask logical questions that arise from the investigations. A good starting point for one investigating zero point technology and its possible history, but not really answering any questions what so ever.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2002

    The Hunt For Zero Point

    I agree, Nick Cook makes a good attempt to discuss some of the black-ops stuff. I thought it interesting how he takes events that occur in different time periods with different places and people in the world and tries to make a connection: Such as the Philadelphia Experiment and the Hutchinson Effect -- metal that bends and/or becomes translucent under high voltage. His description of how the B-2 Stealth Bomber's aerodymanics were being modified by high voltage was also an interesting concept. Only the design engineers would be able to answer that point, for sure. I think there's a lot in this world that is hard to explain. I agree with previous reviews that his constant jumping back and forth from 1945 to the present can be pretty confusing. Perhaps if he would of laid the book out chronologically, it may have been more helpful. I think it was interesting too how he only mentioned the work performed by Tesla, and how Tesla "shot" an beam of electricty that overshot his target and flattened a large area of trees in upper Siberia. This has been well documented and I think the book really underestimates the significance of this event, for only today are we just beginning to develop high-powered lasers and other weapons. The book contains a few facts surrounded by a lot of conjecture. Nick Cook should know this would make a great documentary movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2002

    Lost in Time...

    Author Nick Cook admits that he is not a scientist. Neither am I. And therefore, I can't possibly judge the validity of the scientific evidence he presents. However, he does write a great detective story, detailing his travels across the United States and Europe in search of proof that antigravity technology exists and is operable. One caveat I have about this book is that the chronology is badly muddled--the reader can't tell whether he/she is reading about something that occurred in 1995 or in 2000 or whenever. Considering his credentials as an award-winning journalist, Cook's omission of dates can't be due to carelessness. Rather, this lack of a clear timeline seems to be deliberate and purposeful--and I can't help wondering why. One other thought: if the US military does have antigravity capability and has been and still is keeping it secret for over 50 years, why was Cook allowed to publish this book?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)