This blog, originally published December 9, 2011, was updated March 16, 2012. Scroll to the end for the update.
This blog was written jointly by Professor Pious and by Muertos. Authorship of various sections is stated within.
Adam Trombly is one of the “experts” presented in the Thrive movie, and upon whom Thrive maker and narrator Foster Gamble relies heavily for his conclusions that “free energy” machines exist and are being suppressed by conspiratorial forces. Trombly makes his first appearance at 35:07 in the movie, and the film focuses on him for much of the next few minutes.
This blog will attempt to present answers to the following questions: Who is Adam Trombly? Is there any evidence that his machines actually work? Is there any evidence that, if his machines work, they have been suppressed? Bottom line: are his claims credible?
Who Is Adam Trombly?
[This section by Muertos]
Adam Trombly is a researcher who is closely associated with “free energy” devices. The device he is most closely associated with is something called a “Closed Path Homopolar Generator.” This is a free energy/perpetual motion device. As has been stated on this blog before, these devices do not work because they violate the basic laws of physics.
Some general links to familiarize you with Trombly:
[This section by Professor Pious]
Unfortunately most of the information in the links here on Adam Trombly trace back to Trombly’s own “projectearth” web site. It seems most information on Trombly available on the Internet has simply been copied from his own web site.
He claims to be:
“an internationally acknowledged expert in the fields of Physics, Atmospheric Dynamics, Geophysics, Rotating and Resonating Electromagnetic Systems, and Environmental Global Modeling”
In addition, the Thrive movie bills him as a “physicist.” Not a single academic degree is mentioned from any accredited institution.
[Muertos comment: I searched at some length for information on Adam Trombly’s academic credentials. I couldn’t find anything. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a Ph.D. in physics or any of the other fields he claims to be an expert in, but it seems unusual that, if he did, he and the Thrive movie would not mention that fact. Every other expert in the film who does have a Ph.D. in a relevant field is identified as being a Ph.D. Trombly is not.
This section regarding credentials is not an “ad hominem” attack, either, as some may eventually try to claim. The question of academic and scientific credentials is directly relevant to the credibility of Trombly to design and build these sorts of machines. Even if we cannot expect that revolutionary new energy inventions will always come from credentialed experts—I am not making that claim at all—if there’s something to these designs, at the very least credentialed experts would be who we would naturally look to in order to explain and verify these claims.]
Does Trombly’s machine actually work?
Trombly’s web site contains a review of his “Homopolar Generator” by a Bruce E. DePalma:
As one might expect, DePalma is also a well-known “free energy” researcher, whose research never produced a device that produced excess energy. Here’s a short biography of DePalma:
“De Palma studied electrical engineering at MIT, leaving without a degree around 1958. DePalma worked in weapons electronics at General Atronics Corporation in Philadelphia following his under-graduate years at MIT before returning the Boston area for a job at Polaroid in Cambridge MA. In the mid-1960s he also obtained a teaching assistant position in the laboratory of Dr. Harold Edgerton, the renowned inventor of stroboscopic photography.
Coincident with his return to Massachusetts, he became infatuated with psycho-active drugs and believed the mind altering effects he perceived opened an entirely new way to pursue the study of physics. Unfortunately, this experimentation led to problems with his academic and corporate relationships and by 1970, he left both to strike out on his own and begin the full-time pursuit of free energy machines that occupied the rest of his life. While he was thought to be quite brilliant by the many students he recruited to assist him, his addictions to hashish and LSD colored everything he wrote and conceived, and invariably left within a few years when it became clear that despite his most sincere efforts, nothing he ever postulated could be scientifically verified. Undaunted, he recruited more as needed, invariably assisted by his willingness to share his psychedelics with the newcomers.”
That leaves us without any credible verification of Trombly’s free energy homopolar generator, except Trombly’s claims that an Indian scientist named Paramahamsa Tewari had taken up the research.
Thankfully Gary Posner has some fact-checking here:
“According to FTP, a variation of the “N Machine” [Homopolar Generator] was already in full operation. Thus, on September 21, 1990, I wrote to B. Premanand, founder of the Indian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal:
~I would like to know if the Indian government has in operation a power generator that produces more energy than it consumes (i.e., a perpetual energy machine). This claim is being made repeatedly on the “For The People” radio program (heard on 7.520 MHz. internationally from 2400 to 0200 hours UTC).
The machine is supposedly a magnetized gyroscope, located on the west coast of India in a city that sounded like “Caroa,” which is supposedly south of an old Portuguese colony that sounded like “Doa.” If I heard correctly, a German company that sounded like “Gadori” may have actually built it.
Although Premanand’s letter of reply never made its way back to me, mine did reach him. I was quite surprised, and delighted, to discover that, as a result of my letter, he had devoted nine pages to this subject in the April 1995 issue of his group’s Indian Skeptic newsletter (in which a copy of my letter was reproduced). Premanand wrote about his efforts to track down Dr. Paramahamsa Tewari, who, according to a 1987 Indian newspaper account, had demonstrated his machine in Hannover, Germany, before an audience that included 1,500 scientists from around the world. His Space Power Generator (SPG), one of about twenty-five similar machines presented at that conference, supposedly extracts power from the vacuum of space. Though the prototype was said to have been built at the Tarapur Atomic Plant in India, Premanand could find no one in the Department of Science & Technology of the Indian government who knew of Dr. Tewari or his SPG.
In a June 21, 1994, letter (reproduced in Indian Skeptic ), N. A. Janardan Rao, Vice President for R&D and Technology Development of Kirloskar Electric Company Ltd. in Bangalore, wrote (to the author of a 1994 Indian newspaper article), “Many years ago I had corresponded with Dr. Thiwari [sic] and he had sent me a small book written by him on this subject. I then proceeded to actually design and fabricate a free energy machine. We incurred an expense of more than one hundred thousand rupees and 8 man months in fabricating this unique device. Subsequent testing showed that there was no free energy as claimed; an infinitesimal electrical output was detected which could be attributed entirely to Faraday’s law” (emphasis added).”
So Trombly’s device was indeed the basis of a design for a free energy device that was actually built and…surprise…never worked.
[UPDATE: Since this article was written, there is now a viable question as to whether Mr. Trombly actually built this machine at all, and what it actually does.]
Interestingly enough, we see the “free energy – extraterrestrial” link being promoted in 1990 by the long discredited Richard Hoagland in the writeup by Gary Posner linked above. A search of the thrivemovement web site turns up no mention of Hoagland, however, he is most closely associated with the discredited “face on Mars” claim.
Is there evidence to support the claim that Trombly’s inventions have been suppressed?
The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 does allow the government to impose “secrecy orders” on certain sensitive patent applications:
However, Trombly has not published the two written gag orders he has claimed to have received. Furthermore, inventors with secrecy orders imposed on their patents are entitled to compensation from the government due to lost revenue: (Constant v. United States, 617 F.2d 239 (Ct. Cl. 1980))
Trombly makes no mention of ever having sought compensation from the government for his inventions being suppressed. Of course, if the invention never worked in the first place, and the gag orders were imaginary, why would he? It is more likely that the suppression did not take place because Trombly’s machines did not work.
[This section, and rest of the article, by Muertos]
There is no evidence that Trombly’s inventions have been suppressed. First, as we’ve seen, there is no evidence that they actually work. Why would a government or a power company go to the trouble and expense of trying to suppress an invention that is useless in the first place? By logic, therefore, we can already be extremely skeptical that the “suppression” claims are true.
Trombly presents no evidence of suppression. At 36:28 of the Thrive movie, while Trombly is speaking, former President George H.W. Bush is shown on the screen—however, no claim is made that Bush was involved in suppressing Trombly’s work. The sole purpose of introducing Bush is to create a false association in the mind of the viewer that Bush must have had something to do with it. This is innuendo, not fact.
Furthermore, at 39:15 of the film, Trombly blames the “military-industrial complex” for suppressing free energy. About thirty seconds later he says, “The suppression of UFO phenomena is hand in hand with suppression of free energy.” He does not back up these claims. Indeed, the movie next launches into various related claims by Steven Greer, but does not return to claims about the supposed suppression of Trombly’s specific device.
Why, if Trombly could prove that he was being suppressed, does he and the Thrive movie resort to innuendo to make their case? If Trombly’s machine actually worked, it would be easy to prove government suppression. First of all, since he has claimed to have received two “gag orders” about his invention, if he produced these orders it would be strong evidence that the suppression is taking place (and, logically, that there is something worth suppressing). He has not received any gag orders, nor has he applied for economic remuneration as a result of having received them—remuneration to which he is entitled by law. Secondly, if there was any other evidence of suppression, he could add it to the gag orders, thus backing up his claims. Mr. Trombly has not done this.
The issue of the UN/Senate tests
There is another clue that the suppression is not taking place. At 36:24 of the film, Trombly claims that he was invited to demonstrate his generator in front of the U.N. and the United States Senate. Why, if the “powers that be” are so afraid of his machine, would they invite him to present it in front of them? Wouldn’t that be extremely dangerous for them to do, if as Thrive implies these official bodies have a strong vested interest in suppressing devices such as Trombly’s? After all, if his invention actually worked, they’d be stuck, wouldn’t they?
Think about it. If Trombly demonstrated his machine in front of the UN and the Senate and it actually worked, an effort at suppression taking place after the demonstration would be much harder to “sell” in the face of verified evidence of the machine’s operation. Why would the conspirators take this risk? If they weren’t yet sure his machine worked, they would not have to have a demonstration in their open chamber to determine this before they invited him—they could easily send someone out to Trombly’s lab and have him demonstrate the machine to them, and then they would report back to their superiors. Therefore, there is no point in having him demonstrate the machine in front of them if there is any chance that it would make their ultimate aim of suppressing the technology harder rather than easier.
To those who say, “Oh, but they obviously rigged the demonstration precisely to discredit Trombly!”, I reply, first, that there is no evidence of it, and second, that this too would be unnecessarily risky. If the UN and the Senate are afraid that the machine works, and they need to screw around with the conditions of the test to make sure Trombly fails in a public forum, they are exposing themselves to further risk—their efforts at rigging the test might not succeed, and even if they did, others who were there could testify that the test was rigged.
We have already presented evidence (Posner’s fact-checking) that Trombly’s machine never worked to begin with. It makes little sense that conspiratorial forces would exert any effort to suppress a machine that doesn’t work, and no sense at all that, even if they did exert this effort, a key piece of the case demonstrating Trombly’s failure had the potential to backfire publicly and complicate the effort at suppression.
Why, then, would the Senate and the U.N. invite somebody like Adam Trombly to demonstrate in front of them a machine that works on a principle that violates the laws of physics and for which there is no evidence that it actually works?
The answer is quite simple: they’re bending over backwards to demonstrate that they are not suppressing this sort of technology. As you can see from this blog, any rational person certainly has good reason to be skeptical that Trombly’s machine can do what he says it does. However, if you invite Trombly to demonstrate his machine in front of you, even despite this extreme skepticism, you have given him the benefit of every possible doubt. If his machine fails under those conditions, you can be certain that there was nothing there of substance to begin with.
[UPDATE: In light of recent discoveries, it seems likely that the U.S. Senate test in 1989 was in fact a test of a machine that did something totally different than the machine the film claims Mr. Trombly invented supposedly does. Scroll to the end for that update.]
Are Trombly’s claims reliable?
I am not going to spoon-feed an answer to this question to you, the readers of this blog. I invite you to draw your own conclusions. Keep in mind:
- Adam Trombly does not appear to have academic credentials in physics. (If I am wrong about this, and readers can present evidence that he does, I will correct this blog immediately).
- Adam Trombly claims that his machine does something that we believe to be impossible given our current understanding of the laws of physics.
- Trombly’s design was the basis for a machine built in India and investigated, and found not to work at all.
- Trombly has not presented any evidence that his machine actually works.
- Trombly has not presented any evidence that his design has been suppressed by the government and/or business interests.
- In direct logical contradiction to his claim of suppression, he admits he was invited to demonstrate his device in an open forum before some of the very official bodies who are part of the institutions he claims are suppressing him—which would entail considerable risk to the suppression plot, if his claims were true.
None of these six points are absolutely conclusive on their own (though I would argue that points 3 and 4 are pretty close to conclusive). However, all six points together definitely seem to point unmistakably in a certain direction.
I’m sure Adam Trombly is a nice person, and from the movie he seems to be a smart person. I for one would love to have a beer with him and have him explain to me how his device works. On the basis of the evidence I have seen—and the evidence I haven’t seen that I would like to see—I am skeptical that his claims of building working “free energy” devices are correct.
Update 16 March 2012
This article cannot be taken in isolation. Please see this article which presents additional information on Adam Trombly and the claims made in Thrive.
In short, a person, David Farnsworth, has come forward stating that (I) Adam Trombly did not actually build the machine shown in Thrive, which was actually built by David Farnsworth; and (II) that the machine shown in Thrive does something totally different than the movie claims it does–in other words, that it is not in fact a “free energy” or “zero point energy” device. This was the device tested in front of the Senate in 1989 (or possibly 1988), which explains the issue regarding that test–it’s not evidence of government suppression of “free energy” because the device shown, and then allegedly suppressed, was not a “free energy” device to begin with.