Barry's Coilguns

Author's Preface

(Reproduced from "Zero to Eighty" by EF Northrup)

It has been the author’s thought in writing this book, first, to familiarize the lay and technical public with the vast possibilities latent in the production of high linear velocities by the use of electrically produced travelling waves of magnetic force; second, to give expression to a long-held conviction that very often a seemingly unattainable achievement may be realized by one who possesses imagination, optimism, fixity of purpose, courage, scientific honesty, and a moderate endowment of intelligence—provided all these qualities are crowned with unremitting labor.

The reading public is generally more interested in the activities and achievements of individuals than in impersonal matters, however im-portant. For this reason the narrative is presented as the autobiog-raphy of a wholly fictitious individual who is born in the year 1920, and who reviews in his eightieth year his life’s career and accomplishments.

The major achievement of the principal character of the story, Akkad Pseudoman (pretended man), is the realization of a youthful dream that it is possible to create a means for escaping the earth’s gravity, circling the moon, and returning alive with records to the earth. He accomplishes this feat without invoking any imaginary physical features or laws of nature. In short, one purpose of this book is to prove the possibility (sufficient funds being available) of doing all that is herein described.

All technical descriptions, facts, proofs, and scientific information, which many of the general public would find troublesome or impossible to understand, have been placed in a Technical Supplement. The autobiographical narrative may thus be read consecutively for such inherent interest as it may possess. While the narrative is pure fiction, written to present a far-reaching technical matter, it is free from the fanciful. All scientific material has been worked out in considerable detail, and is believed to be entirely consonant with current proved facts and well tested technical knowledge. Back of the technical portion of the book is a not inconsiderable expenditure of money, devoted to experimentation and collection of data by laboratory tests.

I wish at this time to acknowledge my indebtedness to several who have given enthusiastic and able assistance in this work. To Mr. Theodore R. Kennedy I am particularly indebted for technical assis-tance. Mr. Kennedy personally conducted a large number of the laboratory experiments and tests. To Mr. Thomas Arthur Feehan I owe the execution of many of the diagrams and the greater number of the illustrations. Acknowledgments are also due to Mr. Peter Keenan, who as illustrator and writer of experience has helped me in many ways with the narrative.

Much of the technical matter presented in this book for the first time is patentable. All original ideas I retain the right to protect by patents.


February 15, 1937

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