# Is the scalar wave phenomenon real, and if so, why is it not much in practical use?

There are a bunch of videos on YouTube describing something called scalar waves (sometimes referred to as "superluminal").

Two examples are this one:

Superluminal Scalar Waves for Communications (15m 8sec):

and this one:

This latter is by a Prof. K. Meyl who also has a book about the subject on Amazon (there used to be 3 books by him but 2 have been withdrawn).

I remember seeing some university experiment where it was shown how a scalar wave, sent from inside a Faraday's cage, went through the cage and (well, supposedly) lit a light bulb.

Besides above there are also university professors giving lectures on scalar waves.

Here is a video of Gregory Durgin at Georgia Tech giving a lecture on scalar waves:

WAV02: The Scalar Wave Equation (48min 54sec)

And here is a video of Jamesina Simpson at University of Utah:

But because the equations do not make much sense to me currently, and there seems to be a lot of gunk on YouTube around this subject matter (relating scalar waves to UFOs, and other such stuff), I thought I ask about them here.

Update: admittedly the "superluminal" claim can be just that persons unfortunate interpretation. But that does not mean that phenomenon is non-existent, considering that it seems to be taught in some universities.

Is the scalar wave phenomenon real, and if it is, why does there not seem to be much practical use for it?

• You missed. Physics.SE is over there. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 2:22
• "Superluminal", e.g. bullshit. If your "wave" involves overturning all of physics, the chance of it being true is very, VERY small. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 3:06
• "Scalar wave" means different things to the uni lecturers and the crackpots. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 6:05
• I'll add to the chorus: Scalar Wave is a valid term. Fringe physics-ites can and will take any term which sounds complex and use it as a foundation for anything they wish. | If you want to see a propagation at > wave front speed, try this. Watch incoming waves or ripples reaching a beach edge. Watch the point where the wave touches the edge. You'll see it travels "sideways" at V x Tan(incidence angle). At nearly square on where incidence angle is very small the contact speed is many many times wave speed. YES it also works for light. NO you cannot use it as a superluminal phenomenon :-) :-(. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 7:14
• I have to address the statement "it seems to be taught in some universities". This is a confusion of terms. The "scalar wave equation" is not talking about the "scalar waves" to which your questions refers but rather a simplification of the vector wave equation that allows you to break apart the vector components and solve on scalar values (the x, y, and z components are uncoupled). Please watch the videos. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 4:41

About half a minute of googling solidly tosses the concept into the bunkum bin.

Here's a link on those "superluminial waves" - explained quite succinctly as a trick of perspective combined with relativistic speeds.

And here's a not quite as kind link on your "scalar waves" - complete hooey, it looks like.

I don't really see how any of this is related to EE except tangentially through the idea of waves, though.

EDIT: To address your update, scalar fields are an actual thing in physics. "Scalar waves" are not.

• As to "EDIT: To address your update, scalar fields are an actual thing in physics. "Scalar waves" are not." I don't claim to know what is real here but I would find it odd if universities in USA allow their professors explain stuff that is not based on real science. I am now referring to the two videos linked by OP with Gregory Durgin at Georgia Tech and Jamesina Simpson at University of Utah. Commented May 2, 2015 at 14:29
• Please see my comment above. This is a confusion of terms. Dr. Durgin is simply discussing a simplified version of the vector wave equation. Also, please watch the videos (The whole set of Dr. Durgin's YouTube videos can really give you a good foundation for understanding Electromagnetics). Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 4:43

I've read a lot about this. I am an electrical engineer with 30 years background. It seems to me that there is some basis for this. It's like ufos. Imperial evidence but no physical evidence. It's the realm of physics not for practical engineers. The math was shown long time ago by E.T. Whiticer (spell bad) and J.C. Maxwell.

• Unfortunately this website is for typing up definite answers, not for discussing theories.
– pipe
Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 16:39
• @Doug This is more of a comment, answers must answer the question, this doesn't really answer the question. When you get enough rep, you can post comments Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 16:46