Josef PAPP

Noble Gas Engine

Bob Said: Private Pilot (December 1968); "No-Fuel Engine"
E. Mallove: Infinite Energy 9 (51), 2003: "The Mystery & Legacy of Papp's Noble Gas Engine"

E. Mallove: Infinite Energy 9 (52), 2003: "The Papp Saga Continues"

R. Feynman: LASER (Journal of the Southern Californian Skeptics): "Papp Perpetual Motion Engine"

David Ansley: San Jose Mercury News (August 27, 1989), p. 8; "The Dream Machine"

Email Notes

Josef Papp: US Patent # 3,670,494; "Method & Means of Converting Atomic Energy Into Utilizable Kinetic Energy"

Josef Papp: US Patent # 3,680,431; "Method & Means For Generating Explosive Forces"

Joseph Papp: US Patent # 4,428,193; "Inert Gas Fuel, Fuel Preparation Apparatus, & System..."

Private Pilot (December 1968)

"No-Fuel Engine"

By Bob Said

A Revolutionary Engine That Operates For 15 Cents per Hour Without Gasoline, Air, Combustion Or Exhaust May Be Near

Revolutionary developments have a way of creeping up on you in a technologically advanced society. This is the most technologically advanced society there ever was, and it may be that we have just been crept up on.

How would you like an airplane engine of, say, 300-hp, weighing half as much as existing ones? What if it used no consumable fuel, and therefore required no fuel tanks, lines, pumps, carburetor or injection pump, intake valves, spark plugs, or exhaust system? What if it did not use air, and could operate at 30,000 feet --- or 300 feet underwater --- as efficiently as it did at sea level? What if it generated no heat, and therefore needed neither a water-cooling jacket nor air-cooling fins?

Such an engine may exist. I have seen it, and talked to the people who are developing it. The unit is in the earliest stages of prototype test, but if it turns out to do all the things their patent application says it will, it is bound to join the Wright Brothers and the turbine as one of the three greatest things to happen to aviation.

Consider this: with such an engine, every Aeronca, Cherokee, and Skyhawk in the land would have the range to fly non-stop to Europe, Hawaii or Japan. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Military patrol planes could stay aloft as long as the crew could hold out. You could "gas up" the family lightplane once every 4 or 5 years. On a Skyhawk, for example, your takeoff weight might be as much as 500 pounds less than it is now, because you’ld be lifting about half as much engine weight, no gasoline supply, no tanks, fuel accessories, etc. That would leave weight allowance for a couple of more passengers, and you’ld still have unlimited range. Nobody would ever "run out of gas" again. The astonishing possibilities go on and on.

Let’s take a hard, skeptical look at this engine. It was designed by a Hungarian-born inventor name Joseph Papp. He and financial backer Don Rosen, who have set up a firm called Environetics, Inc., to develop the engine, are saying mighty little about the details of what makes it work until their patent applications have been granted. But this much they will say:

The engine operates on a charge of gas blends, hermetically sealed inside each cylinder above the piston. A charge of low-voltage electricity, which can come from either a 12-V or 24-V source common to light aircraft, is used to create an electrical field in or around the cylinder. This causes the gas to change from its original form to a new form which requires more space. As it expands it does two things: pushes the piston down and creates --- they aren’t saying how --- the conditions for returning to its original form. The heat generated by its expansion is absorbed by its contraction. When it is contracted, another charge of electricity causes it to repeat the expansion-contraction cycle, and so on ad infinitum. When this sequence of events occurs in an orderly phase among 4, 6 or any convenient number of cylinders, suitably connected to a crankshaft, you get useful work.

How much work? It’s pretty much a paper solution at present, but the developers say any amount you want, from the amount necessary to drive a lawnmower on up through automobiles and airplanes to the amount needed to power a locomotive or a battleship.

Inventor Papp has been working on the concept for years when he immigrated to the US by way of Canada not long ago, and was hired by Rosen’s firm, which manufactures refrigeration equipment and store fixtures. A few days after he went on the payroll Rosen decided to put him to work on a "crash" basis to develop an engine that would actually run, to prove the concept. And he did, in six weeks.

A 4-cylinder, 90-hp Volvo automobile engine was chosen as the basis of the rig. Only the "short block" was used --- the cylinder head, intake and exhaust valve assembly and accessories were discarded. On top of the Volvo short block Papp set an aluminum block bored to match the Volvo cylinders. It contains the sleeved, hermetically sealed cylinders and pistons which are the heart of his engine. He bolted the bottom of his pistons to the top of the Volve pistons, injected the charge of his mysterious gas, hooked up all manner of wires and gauges to his test board and fired her up. Under optimum conditions, incidentally, he says, no starter is required: just turn on the juice.

Among other things, he operated the engine for 35 minutes at 4000 rpm in a closed conference room full of interested potential customers. Any ordinary engine would have knocked them all out with monoxide poisoning. This one didn’t. What it did do, according to the test board, was generate "between 50 and 75 horsepower per cylinder" at 4000 rpm, which speaks well for the strength of the Volvo connecting rods and crankshaft. They were never intended to take this kind of knocking around. Rosen said the little 4-banger was generating "better than 300-hp", based on known displacement and measured pressure. Under normal operation, he said, an engine designed from the ground up on the Papp principle would generate about 800 pounds psi in each cylinder.

Rosen stressed that what Papp has done is design a fuel, not an engine. The secret blend of gases is the key. Using a power source to move pistons and a crankshaft is old hat to reciprocating engine technology. And Papp’s "key" can be applied to turbine technology as well.

One big market area Rosen is eyeing is the automotive field, in which a smog-free engine that exhausts nothing into the atmosphere would be bound to make many friends.

It might make many enemies, too, and this brings up an aspect of the story about the Papp engine which has troubled this reporter since he first heard about it. Clearly, an engine with these revolutionary characteristics, and with so many obvious military applications, would confer an enormous technical advantage on the nation which possessed it. Not only militarily, but commercially as well: it would be mighty hard to compete in the world’s marketplace against such an engine, if all you had to offer were conventional gasoline and diesel power plants. This being the case, why invite the attention of the bad guys before you have iron-clad patent protection and a going, proven product? If the Soviets don’t already have such a fuel concept, they are likely to be mightily interested in this one. The world petroleum industry, and the financial community itself, might be a little uneasy about a concept which could conceivably put a permanent end to the use of petroleum fuels in all of the non-nuclear engines of the world. The auto and aircraft engine people ought to love the idea, because if it will do what its developers claim, the Papp power concept would result in better engines for these applications than any other in sight. But engine builders are as susceptible as anybody else to financial pressure, and the imminent end of gasoline sales throughout the world would be bound to generate a trifle more than a modest twinge on Wall Street.

Moreover, any reasonably sophisticated reader will wonder about safe, tidy little scientific ideas like entropy, conservation of energy and one or two others. Because they are unwilling to divulge hard details on the concept until patent protection is complete, Papp and his associates leave us nibbling at these annoying problems.

But then, the scientific community thought Edison, Marconi, the Wright Brothers and Robert Goddard were out of their minds, too. And look what they did for us. So don’t scoff too soon. After more than two decades as reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines from coast to coast I have been exposed to more than my fair share of perpetual motion machines, miracle cancer cures, devices for communicating with poltergeists, methods of extracting gold from carrots and similar schemes. I do not recall one which caused my reporter’s instinct for a good story to resonate more strongly than Papp’s engine does. But then, I figured Dewey was a shoo-in over Truman, too, so it all comes out in the wash.

It must be stressed that, at the time of this writing, the Papp engine was an unproven engine. It had started some 50 times, run a total of "several" hours, and operated continuously for 35 minutes on its longest run. It had never been connected to a dynamometer to actually measure its power output. Rosen pointed out that there was little point in this because the block, connecting rods and crankshaft of the existing engine were Volvo components, not Papp components, and there was little point in testing them. The company’s desire is to associate itself with a major engine manufacturer and allow it to do the development work and market the product under license. As Rosen notes, "A firm like that is equipped to so such work. We’re not, and it isn’t the business my company is in. But we have the product, and nobody else does".

Developed as inventor Papp envisions, it would be quite a product indeed. It would have a one-to-one horsepower to weight ratio. Only a quarter-inch of metal is needed to surround the cylinders --- no water jacket or cooling fins. They’ld be so much useless weight. The engine would be mounted inverted or vertically to power a rotor. In an auto application Papp says an rpm range comparable to those of diesels would be used, but the optimum for the system is 2500-3000 rpm, which is right in the aircraft range. And Rosen says the acceleration and deceleration characteristics are "practically instantaneous --- much better than existing engines. We have instant rpm". At the time of manufacturing each cylinder would be charged with the special gas, and Papp’s calculations indicate 60,000 automobile miles or 1000 operating hours for aircraft engines before a recharge would be needed. There is no abrupt fall-off in power output when a gas charge "gets old", so fuel exhaustion in flight becomes a thing of the past. When recharging time comes around, Papp says a supply of fresh gas would cost "about $25 per cylinder". Compare that with your current gas bill! Can you operate your 6-cylinder engine for roughly 15 cents per hour now, even in economy cruise?

Because the engine is not aspirated, it would retain full power up as high as the wing could lif tit. That would result in tremendous boosts in true airspeed for any lightplane on the market; better even than supercharging, without the expense or weight of a supercharger. In fact, the engine would continue to function perfectly in space, and Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Lab is looking at it with that in mind. It would never suffer from carburetor ice, clogged fuel lines or spark plug failure --- no spark in introduced inside the cylinder. O-rings were used to achieve a hermetic seal in the Volvo prototype, and pressure lubrication was emplyed, but other techniques would be used on a production engine, according to Rosen.

The absence of gasoline removes all fire hazard, and the operating gas itself is not combustible, Rosen says. The closest he will come to identifying it is to say that "it is like, but is not, hydrogen, helium, etc. The components are readily available and not expensive".

All of this tends to make the mouth water, but it is predicated on two of the largest letters in the English language: I and F. Until Environetics --- or somebody else --- builds one of these engines and submits it to exhaustive performance tests, nobody will really know if it develops as much power for as long as Papp and Rosen say it will. IF somebody does, and IF the engine performs as advertised, a giant revolution is about to happen in engine technology and to light aircraft design as a spin-off. More space and weight allowance for people, less for hardware, and major improvements in performance and economy inevitably would follow for the fly-for-fun set. And IF all this comes about, Standard Oil had better consider a vigorous diversification program.

IF, on the other hand, there is a fly in the ointment and the Papp fuel concept craps out at the showdown, somebody else probably will take a new slant and keep on trying. After all, your heart just sits there expanding and contracting, and it, too, requires only periodic refueling. If somebody can figure out a way to make a couple of handfuls of gas behave the same way inside a cylinder, without suffering unpredictable coronary attacks, we’ll get a simple, cheap, reliable engine some day...

Infinite Energy 9 (51), 2003

"The Mystery and Legacy of Joseph Papp's Noble Gas Engine"

by Eugene F. Mallove
Copyright © 2003

If you thought that the saga of cold fusion was bizarre, labyrinthian, and astonishing with its mother-lode of unexpected findings --- from nuclear-scale excess heat to the rebirth of alchemy in low-energy nuclear transmutation, discoveries alternately persecuted or ignored by the scientific establishment --- the cold fusion adventure doesn't hold a nuclear candle to the story of Joseph Papp and his noble gas engine. The Papp engine saga seems to have had its roots in the 1950s, but it only came into public view in 1968. And, strangely enough, there may well be an underlying physics that links elements of the two stories and their profoundly heretical science. Pathological skeptics of cold fusion --- and perhaps some cold fusion researchers --- may laugh at or recoil from this synthesis, but they will be treading on thin ice.

One of the best overviews of the Papp story appeared in California's San Jose Mercury News newspaper on August 27, 1989. We have reprinted David Ansley's exemplary account, which was triggered by the cold fusion announcement some four months earlier (p. 14). Read Ansley's piece to get the gist of what had happened up to mid-1989 with the Papp engine. We also reprint a well done story that ran much earlier in Private Pilot, in December 1968 (p. 49). But the Papp saga has progressed far beyond those days, hence we are devoting a substantial portion of this issue of Infinite Energy just to begin to recount the tale of the Papp engine as it has never been done before. There is very likely to be more to come... so stay tuned. (We are looking into the possibility of preparing a DVD made from video tapes of Papp's demonstrations already in our possession and from present day experiments, if permissions can be obtained.) This editor has been aware of claims about the Papp engine since about 1992, but it has only been within the past three years that sufficient information has emerged to change my view from curious onlooker to acceptance of the engine's validity.

The basic "problem" with cold fusion is, of course, that water in contact with metals with a bit of low voltage electrical excitation is not supposed to make nuclear reactions and release huge thermal excess energy per atom of presumed reactant. The problem with Papp's noble gas engine is that the noble gases employed --- argon, helium, krypton, neon, and xenon --- are essentially non-reactive chemical elements (except in certain exotic combinations known to modern chemists); that's why they are called noble. How can such gases, "pre-treated" or otherwise, explode with unusual violence and drive a reciprocating single-cycle engine --- a retrofit device from an ordinary gasoline engine (lubricated with oil to be sure), but one with no cooling system, no fuel system, and no exhaust? On its face, Papp's engine appears inconceivable --- until the evidence is weighed very carefully. Once the battery-driven electric starter revved up the Papp engine (according to dozens of initially skeptical witnesses), the engine --- equipped with an alternator --- ran with no outside electrical input. And, even if such "miracle" reactions of noble gases should produce interminable explosions from a tiny volume of gas, pushing pistons and driving a large flywheel, why didn't such an engine run very hot? It didn't. What about the supposed need for a much lower temperature reservoir to make this "heat" engine work at all? If the engine is a monumental "fraud," it is a very, very challenging one to try to pull off.

In the Beginning ~

How to begin? Let's try this synopsis: A technically schooled draftsman and ex-pilot, Josef Papp (pronounced "Pop" in proper Hungarian), emigrated from Hungary to Canada in 1957 after the ill-fated anti-Communist revolt and Soviet invasion of his country. Perhaps he may have made paper or microfiche copies of documents relating to some sensitive R&D projects in Hungary and he took them with him to the New World? That's only educated speculation. Otherwise, if his independently developed ideas really worked, as they seem to have, he was either extremely lucky in finding a hidden secret of Nature, or he was an unfathomable genius. He did not seem like the latter. From all accounts, he was an extremely paranoid, very unstable, selfish, and unpredictable man, who was probably one of his own worst enemies. There is little evidence that he understood the physics of what he had, but however the process was developed --- it seemed to have worked in a way that seems "too good to be true" --- it was an almost fully formed new energy technology that came very close to coming under the wings of some of the world's largest technology corporations.

The story entered its second phase with what seems like a preposterous diversion: In Canada in the early 1960s, Papp worked secretively to develop a mysterious, sleek "submarine" that looks like something out of a "Star Wars" movie. He claimed that he would cross the Atlantic with it in much less than a day --- that's what he told Canadian television (It was a big media story in Canada in the summer of 1966, but most of you probably missed it, though Papp wrote a now hard-to find book about the episode, entitled The Fastest Submarine, Ballantine Books U7080, 1967). Then he disappeared. Within days, Papp was found by authorities bloodied and floating on a rubber raft off the coast of France. Papp claims to have made the ocean crossing in only thirteen hours after he left North America. Where was the wondrous submarine? "Lost at sea," of course, according to Papp. The fantastic claim was soon debunked in a very embarrassing way --- but, in truth, no one has ever found the submarine either in Canada or in the Atlantic. Why Papp thought he could get away with this stunt and how this episode seems to clash with what comes next --- the scientifically interesting part of the Papp saga --- is a mystery and may forever be. Papp is dead --- cancer took him on April 13, 1989, three weeks after Fleischmann and Pons announced cold fusion.

But apart from this embarrassing, bizarre episode with the submarine, Papp left behind one of the most tantalizing legacies in the history of free energy: There exists nearly rock-solid evidence now that Papp really had managed to build a robust engine of over 100 horsepower (75 kilowatts) that was "fueled" by a mixture of, we believe, "pre-treated" noble gases (probably mixed with some air). Though it had no exhaust and no cooling system, it had huge torque even at low RPM (776 foot-pounds at only 726 RPM, the result of one certified test --- see Exhibit A.) [Exhibits from this Introduction to the Issue 51 cover story are not available on the website.] Dozens of astonished engineers, scientists, and investors --- even a Federal judge with an engineering background was blown away by it --- have seen the engine working in closed rooms for hours, which would have killed its occupants with toxic gases had it been a hydrocarbon-fuel engine. There was absolutely no exhaust, no visible provision for any exhaust! The engine ran cool --- only about 60°C (140°F) on its surface, it has been reported by several reliable observers. All these people, who had years to try to debunk it, became convinced of the engine's reality. They all failed to discover a hoax. But here is the ultimate triumph of the Papp engine: Today, ongoing research in the United States --- totally independent of Papp and his former financial interests --- has proved conclusively that noble gases, electrically triggered in various ways, can indeed explode with fantastic violence and energy release --- melting metal parts and pushing pistons with large pressure pulses. Some of the people performing this work, or who have evaluated it, are from the cold fusion field, others are experienced plasma physicists. Some will allow their names to be revealed, while others in senior positions at major research institutions must remain anonymous for now. I am confident, however, that these scientists will eventually "go public." They should, when circumstances permit.

Two Explosions, One Death ~

Apart from the intense contemporary work to resurrect the Papp engine in its full cycling functionality and the independent certification test in 1983 (see p. 9), what other proof is there that Papp's engine was for real? Sad to say, this evidence is the death of one person and the severe injury of three others at a public demonstration of the engine on November 18, 1968 in Gardena, California. At that event, the engine exploded with an evident energy release that no internal combustion engine could touch. Read the eyewitness testimony of engineer Cecil Baumgartner (p. 31) in my interview with him this year. He was representing the top management of the TRW aerospace corporation that day. The previous month (on October 27, 1968) Baumgartner and others had observed one of the detonation cylinders of the engine test fired in the California desert. In full public view, just a few cubic centimeters of noble gas had been admitted with a hypodermic needle to the sparking chamber, and this made the thick steel-walled chamber peel back like a banana when the device was electrically triggered. The collaborating observers from the Naval Underseas Warfare Laboratory (as the Pasadena, California lab was then called), who attended the desert test, had earlier sealed the chamber so that Papp or others could not insert illicit explosives as part of a hoax. Their names, according to Baumgartner, were: William White, Edmund Karig, and James Green.

Feynman's Mistakes and the Recovery ~

But at the public meeting the next month at which the fatality occurred (see the local newspaper account of the fatality and injuries-p. 30) was Caltech physicist Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988), who had worked on the Manhattan atomic bomb project in World War II. Before even arriving at the demonstration, Feynman assumed that the Papp engine, whose operation he was about to witness, had to be part of an elaborate hoax. We know this because he recounted his reactions during the episode in his widely circulated internet account touted by the "skeptic" community (see "Mr. Papf's (sic) Perpetual Motion Machine," p. 29).

But here is the central problem with Feynman's analysis (which has many other errors of fact and logic embedded in it): There was a court action against Feynman by Papp and his backer, Don Roser of Environetics, Inc., as a result of Feynman's inept attempt to disprove the Papp engine with his unauthorized pulling of an electric control-circuit wire that Feynman egregiously imagined had to be powering the engine. It was unfortunate for Feynman that the wire's gauge was far too thin even had there been a secret electric motor within the retrofit Volvo engine. Furthermore, as you will read, the engine kept running even after the flimsy wire was removed. Feynman asserted that Papp most likely had deliberately planned to blow up his own engine to avoid subsequent discovery of the "fraud"! And, Feynman acknowledges that there was an out-of-court settlement with Caltech. Surely, had there ever been the slightest piece of evidence that conventional explosives blew up the Papp engine that day, Caltech would most certainly not have had to settle. Papp would soon have been charged with manslaughter, no doubt, and Feynman would surely have cited this evidence publicly. He was not one to shrink from dramatic gestures. Caltech also had the motive and the means to skewer Papp with the kind of evidence that is routinely gathered by police departments and crime labs following explosion accidents.

However, all records of the investigation into the accident appear to have vanished down some kind of a memory hole. I believe they exist somewhere, but we have not been able --- yet --- to obtain them. On June 29, 1998, Caltech's very helpful Associate Archivist, Shelley Erwin, faxed me: "Well, the mysterious affair with Mr. Papp/Papf continues to remain mysterious. I have found nothing in the Feynman papers that refers to it. Nor is there any obvious reference to Mr. Papp or the lawsuit in administrative or publicity papers from the time. We do not have a clippings file for the 1960s, so that is one type of resource I did not investigate... I think I have done all I can here, without any useful result. We would be interested to know how your search comes out --- if indeed this is a true account. I wish I knew."

I made more recent contact with various Caltech offices, which could not provide me with any records --- not even its public information office had newsclips, and efforts to locate official accident reports in California have come up dry. Some of these may have been destroyed, according to some police departments contacted. After all, this is an accident that happened thirty-five years ago. But the point is that nowhere, so far, do we have any evidence that the explosion was a result of illicit explosives. Failing such direct evidence of hoax, the proved violence of the explosions --- the November 1968 and the October 1968 ones --- strongly point to the reality of the Papp process. But we also have the contemporary laboratory work that establishes convincing evidence --- visual and by instrumentation --- that noble gases can be made to explode and achieve over-unity. Heroic work on a shoestring budget over the past few years is recounted in broad scope by researchers Mark Hugo and Blair Jenness in Minnesota (p. 51). We hope to feature their work in greater depth in future issues. Heinz Klostermann of California, whom I met two years ago, has been of great assistance in assembling some of the information that went into this issue of Infinite Energy. On p. 55, he discusses his broad knowledge of many of the groups working in the U.S. in the past and today in the effort to recover the Papp engine technology. He has begun his own independent initiative.

Two anonymous Ph.D. investigators circa 2000, with prominent positions in the cold fusion field, certainly estimated over-unity factors beyond 10 and perhaps even 100 --- for what may well be a suboptimal version of the Papp noble gas process. To run a cyclic 100 HP engine as Papp did would require detonation energies possibly far beyond these preliminary factors, but remember: no one who is attempting to recover the technology knows the exact pre-treatment process and gas mixture that Papp employed. The patents, so far, have not been adequate to learn exactly what was done. Finally, the eyewitness accounts, as well as the dynamometer test of 1983, give further support for the validity of the Papp technology.

Feynman is widely known today for his aid in helping to resolve the space shuttle Challenger accident of 1986. The brilliant, entertaining, passionate, and often self-effacing physicist with the Far Rockaway, New York accent won the Nobel Prize for physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomanaga in 1965, three years before the explosion of the Papp engine in Gardena. He is rightly considered to be a very great scientist, whose quest to expand the frontiers of physics and to convey the excitement of science to the public was legendary and noble. In fact, I had often thought that if Feynman had lived into the cold fusion era, he might have set some of the anti-cold fusion bigots straight. Several years before Feynman's Nobel Prize award, in April 1963 in several wonderful lectures that have been reprinted in a book, The Meaning of It All (Addison-Wesley, 1998), Feynman made these wise observations

"The exception tests the rule." Or, put it another way. "The exception proves that the rule is wrong." That is the principle of science. If there is an exception to any rule, and if it can be proved by observation, that rule is wrong. (p. 16)

The rate of the development of science is not the rate at which you make observations alone, but more important, the rate at which you create new things to test. (p. 27)

There is no authority who decides what is a good idea. We have lost the need to go to an authority to find out whether an idea is true or not. We can read an authority and let him suggest something; we can try it out and find out if it is true or not. If it is not true, so much the worse --- so the "authorities" lose some of their "authority." (p. 21)

Indeed, the "authorities" of modern physics seem to have lost their authority completely. If one of its most dynamic and iconoclastic members, Feynman --- a hero to physicists as well as to the general populace --- can have made such a horrible error in judgment in the matter of his observation and actions at the Papp engine demonstration in 1968, then there is real trouble, and this is now proved. Feynman's tragic mistake would be just that, by the way --- a mistake whether or not the Papp engine is real. If it is real, so much the worse for Feynman's legacy, for science, and for civilization. The inadequate methods by which Feynman rendered a snap judgment on the Papp engine that day reflected poorly on him; his methods were incapable of discovering the truth about this device. And then there are the questions about what did Feynman know and when did he know it, concerning any accident reports that may have been available to him.

In retrospect, this 1968 event seems like a foreshadowing of many other horrors that were to come in the 1980s, through the 1990s and beyond --- vicious persecution of the cold fusion/low-energy nuclear reaction field by "authorities" and their followers. The so-called "skeptics" of CSICOP and elsewhere, who chose to use Feynman's reflections on the Papp demonstration as an example of how science should be done, should hide their heads in shame, but they won't. They will be outraged that one of their icons and their belief in the impossibility of new energy sources are found wanting. They will not admit this, of course.

The Patents ~

Joseph Papp was issued three United States patents for his process and engines, one of which is reprinted in full and the others are briefly discussed and the introductory parts reprinted (p. 21):

"Method and Means for Generating Explosive Forces," applied for on November 1, 1968, granted as U.S. #3,680,431, August 1, 1972, assigned to Environetics, Inc. of Gardena, California; Papp declares the general nature of the noble gas mixture necessary to produce explosive release of energy. He also suggests several of the triggering sources that may be involved. There is little doubt that Papp is not offering full disclosure here, but there is no doubt that others who have examined this patent and followed its outline have already been able to obtain explosive detonations in noble gases. Caution: Anyone who undertakes to try to duplicate this process must be very careful about safety issues.

"Method and Means of Converting Atomic Energy into Utilizable Kinetic Energy," applied for on October 31, 1968, granted as U.S. #3,670,494, June 20, 1972, and assigned to Environetics, Inc.

"Inert Gas Fuel, Fuel Preparation Apparatus and System for Extracting Useful Work from the Fuel," applied for September 4, 1980, granted as U.S. #4,428,193, January 31, 1984, and assigned to Papp International, Inc. of Lincoln, Nebraska. This is a very lengthy patent, filled with many insights about how his sealed, non-cooled engine process may have worked.

One of the high points of subsequent activity by Papp and his colleagues was the independent certification testing in 1983. Thanks to the late Dr. Paul Brown and to Jack Kneifl, I have had in my files for several years photocopies of the actual documentation of the certification test, which was done in Oklahoma. It has been circulating among those who have been interested in reviving the Papp technology, and includes Chemistry Professor Nolan's impressive C.V. The affidavit is reprinted in Appendix A.

In Search of an Explanation ~

Assuming that the Papp engine phenomena that have been observed are valid, no one can claim to have a satisfactory and comprehensive explanation for what is going on. In my view, the physics associated with the detonation, light emission, and other phenomena in these noble gas explosions is quite beyond contemporary understanding. It is of interest that Dr. Randell Mills and his colleagues at BlackLight Power Corporation have observed excess heat phenomena associated with microwave stimulation of helium and hydrogen mixtures, but not krypton and argon mixtures. I'm not sure that this has any direct bearing on the Papp conditions, but I mention it for completeness.

Dr. Paulo and Alexandra Correa of Canada were kind enough to abstract for inclusion in this issue of Infinite Energy (p. 61) a report that they prepared in the mid-1990s concerning the Papp technology --- or at least a crude copy of it. This was based on a limited view; they were given only a video tape, the performance claims, and the patents. They discuss the differences between the plasma and energy phenomena they have pioneered in their PAGDTM excess energy technology, and what they could gather from the Papp technology experimenters' claims.

It is my view that to explain the Papp engine, a very radical departure from conventional understanding of nuclear physics, atomic structure, electricity, and the vacuum state will be required. The general class of models will be those that explain subatomic "particles" and how they interact as manifestations of an aether physics.

The Scandal of Official Inaction ~

There can be no greater indictment of our energy and science advisory bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. than in the host of letters that made urgent pleas that something be done about the Papp engine. On the positive side, there were letters asking for information about it, such as the one from the U.S. Army shown in Exhibit B, but the other responses evidence the kind of grave science and technology policy problems in government that would emerge in the cold fusion era. Some letters show that the same people in DOE who obstructed cold fusion acted earlier to obstruct a resolution of Papp's claims! Exhibits A-I are our collection of the text of annotated letters; copies of the originals are in our possession. We thank those who divulged these letters on behalf of the search for truth.

The letter in Exhibit C was evidently written by one of the associates of Navy people who supervised the sealing of the Papp "cannon" so that no illicit explosives could have been inserted in the Papp device that was fired in the California desert.

The letter in Exhibit D shows the sincere interest of another aerospace corporation, other than TRW, which had dropped the Papp engine after the explosion in November 1968. It also proves that the litigation with Caltech was still ongoing in the fall of 1970.

A do-nothing letter from DOE's legal staff, in response to one of several letters that were sent to President Jimmy Carter is shown in Exhibit E.

John Deutch, an MIT Professor who was serving in DOE during the Carter Administration, dismisses the Papp engine in his thinly disguised negative letter to Senator Hatch of Utah (Exhibit F). Ironically, Deutch would later play a two-faced role in the cold fusion saga as it unfolded at MIT when he was Provost there in 1989 (see IE #24). He later became Director of the CIA, but was caught in an egregious computer security lapse, which could have landed him in jail.

In the letter in Exhibit G, a sincere U.S. Navy Rear Admiral writes to President Carter in an effort to focus his attention on the Papp engine. It appears that Papp may have misguided McMillian about his credentials (Papp had no doctorate) and the date of his arrival in the U.S.

An insulting letter from the DOE (just months before cold fusion was announced) to one of the witnesses to the Papp engine testing is shown in Exhibit H. George Lewnes, who had an engineering background, had seen the engine run in Florida. Here DOE touts its hot fusion program as the only possible route to fusion! Always the same excuse for not investigating new processes.

A very late letter --- 1992 --- from Jack Kneifl in Nebraska, who was part of a team that was attempting to recover the Papp technology, is shown in Exhibit I. Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was a well respected and famous Naval officer. This letter shows that anti-cold fusion DOE people --- Drs. Polansky and Ianniello --- were also obstructing the Papp engine recovery.

Summary and Looking Forward ~

There is now a staggering amount of good information available, which at a bare minimum would justify a thorough review of the Papp engine matter by official agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and military research organizations such as DARPA. There is significant evidence for the release of heretofore unknown explosive energy from noble gas mixtures. The energetic level of these reactions on their face, if confirmed by independent review, may have serious national security and global security consequences (especially in this age of terrorist threat --- use your imagination). But the cat is out of the bag, and it cannot be put back. One hopes that the civilian uses of this potential technology will far outweigh the military hazards.

Joseph Papp was a "hero" to have brought this technology to the New World, but his outrageous behavior at many turns helped prevent scientific truth from emerging. Yet at long last, the truth is coming out. There needs to be a wide and deep review of the evidence. Unfortunately, the experience of the cold fusion/low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) field over the past fourteen years, in trying to get an impartial DOE review of now proved and replicated LENR experiments, does not inspire much confidence that DOE or other official groups will do anything about this --- even if the evidence is shoved in their faces. The John Huizengas, William Happers, Richard Garwins, and Steve Koonins (Caltech) of this world wield enormous influence within government. They know a priori that cold fusion, and now the Papp engine, are nonsense. Therefore, it will fall to the private sector and to individual scientific researchers to deal with or not deal with the Papp engine enigma. We hope that this beginning of Infinite Energy's coverage of the Papp engine, and the science that may underlie it, will contribute to the search for scientific truth. Perhaps the Papp saga, and particularly Richard Feynman's negative role in it, will yet help to catalyze a long overdue review by mainstream science of what it thinks it knows and what it thinks it knows cannot be.

Infinite Energy 52: 57-58 (2003)

"The Papp Energy System"

By Don Rosen, CEO, Environetics, Inc.

The Papp engine will undoubtedly be recorded as one of the most significant breakthroughs of this century. With scientists now alerted to the inexorable forces of air pollution, irreversible atmospheric free oxygen despoliation and the toxic effects of carbon oxides, a frantic quest is underway to find an abundant, cheap substitute for fossil fuels. Billions of dollars have been spent to research and develop solutions to these pressing worldwide problems. It is now widely held that the potential toll in human life and suffering, resulting from these crises, rivals and indeed surpasses the imminent problems of overpopulation facing the sociologists.

It is providential that the Papp energy system concepts were conceived and developed by an individual rather than by the team effort of a government or industrial giant whose unlimited funds and personnel have begun to conquer space.

Team efforts in many fields of technology, working together in synergical concept for a common goal, have advanced the "state of the art" in the fastest possible time. However, the "goal" must first be defined and the sphere of activity uniformly investigated with proper deployment of the investigative effort. This manifests a logical process of deductive reasoning. It has proved a most efficient system of inquiring into known fields of endeavor.

It is fact that most radical discoveries of significant magnitude are the result of individual encounter, acting independently of the group effort. It may be an accidental confrontation of an individual with a phenomenon of nature, or a true meeting expectant of psychological receptiveness and a truth exposed. The occurrence of these exigencies are too infrequent to ponder. When revolutionary discoveries such as the Papp engine are reviewed with pragmatic acceptance by visionaries, then the groundwork is laid for the development of a new tool, potentially useful to mankind in his unending quest to master his environment. E=MC2 is an equation familiar to most schoolboys. It was one of the mathematical concepts which led to the birth of a new awesome force in nature, which if unleashed could have tragic effects on civilization. This is atomic fission energy, an energy that is difficult to control and make available in small quantities. It creates dangerous radioactivity.

Scientists now theorize that thermonuclear fusion is much more powerful and yields much less toxic radiation that the fission process (e.g., the "clean" H-bomb).

Joseph Papp has developed a practical, workable system to blend fusion energy in small quantum, with laser principals of light forces and thus harness the energy resultant in an engine device wherein the power pulses are cycled with the precision required to transform the power of the atom to direct mechanical energy bypassing the parameters of the thermodynamic cycle governing the function of the heat engine now extant. This is plasma physics. Papp reaches beyond abstract theory to the reality of an engine 100 years in advance of its time --- yet it is not too soon.

A principle of the Papp engine is basic and simple: A hermetic gas chamber is created by the telescopic fitting of two cylindrical units each open at one end, when fitted one over the other to permit extension and retraction of the unit under the cycling pulses of a varying gas pressure confined within the chamber. The gases are estimated to have a life cycle of 6,000 hours operation time, with Papp guaranteeing 1,000 hours. The gases, which are relatively inexpensive, abundant and harmless, are charged into the piston chambers and subjected to controlled electrical pulse and radiation effects, thereby expanding with great force, then contracting, on signal, ready to repeat the cycle for the life of the system.

Since the atomic engine is not aspirated and yields no exhaust it may be operated submerged in water, or in the far reaches of space uniquely unaffected by its extraneous environment. Because the atomic energy released is limitless, the horsepower attainable is boundless. For example, a 4-cylinder 2-cylce engine so constructed with a total of 20 cubic inches displacement will yield 400 hp and up, as desired.

We suggest the Papp engine does presage a new era of work performance capability and ushers in a new field for scientific investigation.

 LASER (Journal of the Southern Californian Skeptics) ~

"R. Feynman on Papp Perpetual Motion Engine"

One time [in 1966] some students came over to my house with one of those magazines about automobiles --- Roadrunner, or something like that. In it there was an article about a marvelous new engine which works on a new principle for getting power, and it's really quite remarkable. You don't have to buy fuel for the car; the fuel is injected into the cylinders when the engine is manufactured and lasts about six months. Then you have to bring it back to have it recharged. The engine is air-cooled and can make a car run 60 miles per hour on the freeway.

There was a picture of the engine and its inventor, Mr. Joseph Papp, who had come to the United States from Hungary. He's standing next to the engine, making measurements on it with a panel full of dials. Various people had looked at the engine and made various remarks about it in the article. Mr. Papp was going to demonstrate his engine in Los Angeles, and the students wanted me to go along with them to see it.

I told them nothing has enough power to go for six months like that, unless it's a nuclear reactor, which it surely is not. 'Fakes are always coming out,' I said, 'and the guy's probably trying to get investors to invest in his engine.'

Then I told them some stories about perpetual motion machines, such as the one in a London museum which was in a glass case.It had no wires connected to it, yet it turned around and around. 'You have to ask yourself, 'Where is the power supply?' I said. In that case, it was some air coming up through a little tube installed in one of the wooden legs holding up the glass case.

The students talked me into going along with them to see the demonstration. It was held in a refrigerator company's parking lot, an L-shaped area. The engine was down at one end of the lot, while the people, about 30 or so, were at the bend of the L, some distance away.

Mr. Papp talked about how the motor worked, using vague and complicated phrases about radiation, atoms, different levels of energy, quanta, and this and that, all of which made no sense whatsoever, and would never work.

But the rest of what he said was important, for every fraud has to have the right characteristics: Mr. Papp explained that he had tried to sell his engine to the big automobile companies, but they wouldn't buy it because they were afraid it would put all the big oil companies out of business.

So there was obviously a conspiracy working against Mr. Papp's marvelous new engine. Then there was a reference to the magazine articles, and an announcement that in a few days the engine was going to be sent to the Stanford Research Laboratory for validation. This proved, of course, that the engine was real. There was also an invitation to prospective investors to get in on this great opportunity to make large amounts of money, because it was very powerful. And there was a certain danger!

There were quite a few wires running from the engine down to where Mr. Papp and the spectators were standing, into a set of instruments used for measurement; these included a variac, a variable transformer with a dial which could put out different voltages. The instruments were, in turn, connected by a cord to an electrical outlet in the side of the building. So it was pretty obvious where the power supply was.

The engine started to go around, and there was a bit of disappointment: the propeller of the fan went around quietly without the noise of an ordinary engine with powerful explosions in the cylinders, and everything --- it looked very much like an electric motor.

Mr. Papp pulled the plug from the wall, and the fan propeller continued to turn. 'You see, this cord has nothing to do with the engine; it's only supplying power to the instruments,' he said. Well, that was easy. He's got a storage battery inside the engine. 'Do you mind if I hold the plug?' I asked? 'Not at all,' replied Mr. Papp, and he handed it to me.

It wasn't very long before he asked me to give me back the plug. 'I'd like to hold it a little longer,' I said, figuring that if I stalled around enough, the damn thing would stop.

Pretty soon Mr. Papp was frantic, so I (Richard Feynman) gave him back the plug and he plugged it back into the wall. A few moments later there was a big explosion:

A cone of silvery uniform stuff shot out and turned to smoke. The ruined engine fell over on its side. The man standing next to me said, 'I've been hit!' I looked at him, the whole side of his arm was torn open, you could see all the muscle fibers, tendons --- everything. I helped him over to a chair to sit down. The youngest student in the group knew what to do. 'Make a tourniquet out of a tie for that man!' he told me. He gave orders to everybody, and began to give artificial respiration to another man who was lying on the ground. It was really quite wonderful to see this young student take over with all those grown men around. By the time the paramedics came, we realized that there were three men injured, the one lying on the ground most seriously: he had a hole in his chest (so the artificial respiration wasn't effective) and he ultimately died. The other two men survived.

We were all shaking.

I turned to the young man who had been so capable in coping with the unexpected tragedy.

'I don't usually drink.' I said, 'but let's go over to a bar and have a drink to calm our nerves.'

We went into a bar and ordered a drink, I was surprised to discover that the young man who had been the most mature of all of us was underage-he couldn't get a drink. We started to talk about the engine. One man, an investor who had brought an engineer with him to see the demonstration, said, 'My engineer advised me to stand mainly behind the corner of the building and just peer out during the demonstration, because these new engines are sometimes dangerous. Somebody else pointed out that Mr. Papp had previously done some work with rockets, and the explosion looked like fuel when it goes off.

My idea was that had Mr. Papp sent his engine to the Stanford Research Institute as announced, the game would be up in a few days. Therefore an explosion just big enough to destroy the engine would keep the game going a little longer; it would show the tremendous power of the engine, and, most importantly, it would provide a reason for investors to put more money into the project, now the engine had to be rebuilt. We all agreed that the explosion was much larger than Mr. Papf probably intended.

After such an explosion with the resulting fatality and injuries, there was, of course, a lawsuit. Mr. Papp sued me for ruining his engine, charging that my stalling around with the cord caused him to lose control of it. Caltech has a legal department to protect its errant professors, so they talked to me. I told them I thought he didn't have much of a case: he would have to prove how the engine worked, and he'd have to demonstrate that in fact, taking the cord off caused the explosion.

The case was settled out of court, and Mr. Papp was paid something. I guess there's a certain amount of wisdom in not going to court, even when you're right, but I cost Caltech a certain amount of money by going to that demonstration.

I still think I correctly diagnosed what was happening with a reasonable probability.

And, of course, nothing has been heard of Mr. Papp's new engine since.

(Richard Feynman, PHD)

San Jose Mercury News (August 27, 1989), p. 8 ~

"The Dream Machine"

By David Ansley

One Man Took Its Secret To The GRAVE. But The Little Engine That Could Change The World Continues To Fascinate --- Or To Fool

This is going to sound loony, but: Sitting in the garage of a house in Daytona Beach, Fla., is an engine that just might be the closest the world has ever come to the miracle of cheap, clean energy. Its inventor died in April. His followers fervently hope someone can figure out how to start the engine.

For the past 20 years they'd been trying to get him to reveal the formula for the mysterious fuel that made his engine run, or at least to give the machine a proper independent test. If he didn't leave his secret with someone, they can kiss goodbye the millions of dollars they spent nurturing this odd man and the engine they thought could change the world.

At first glance, this has all the elements of a perpetual- motion gimmick: Brilliant but quirky inventor Joseph Papp, a Hungarian immigrant with a mean case of paranoia. A wondrous dream machine that could run for thousands of hours on a few cents of fuel and produce no pollution. An apparently impossible power source in the fusion of helium atoms. Scores of devoted followers who elbowed each other aside in their eagerness to give him money, cars, houses. But it's not so easy to prove this engine a scam. Too many sensible people helped him build it and run it. Too many engineers say they couldn't find a hamster inside. The U.S. government gave it two patents. Even famed physicist Richard Feynmann couldn't debunk it --- the best he could do was blow the engine up, which killed a man.

More than one person has suggested that if Joseph Papp doesn't deserve the Nobel Prize for physics, they should create for him a Nobel Prize for legerdemain.

I first crossed Joe Papp's trail in March, when the Utah cold fusion story had just broken. A couple of chemists had stunned the world by claiming to have fused hydrogen atoms in a jar of water. Next day there were a couple of phone messages on my machine. One was from a guy who said he'd invented the same thing in 1986. He'd entered it in the Santa Clara County Fair and won honorable mention. I tried to call him back, but the phone number he left had eight digits.

The next call was from a Jimmy Sabori. "Forget those guys in Utah," he said. "All they have is a glass of water. We have an engine." I found Jimmy Sabori and his brother Jake in a gray warehouse in a corner of downtown San Jose. Tacked to the wall was a detailed blueprint labeled "Joseph Papp Thermonuclear Plasma Engine."

Over lunch they tried to explain the engine's principle and spun a tangled tale of intrigues, kidnapping, Navy tests, greedy partners and lawsuits. So could I see this engine run? Well, it was in Florida. It was out of fuel right now, and that's why they'd called me: They needed someone to put up $50,000 or so to make the fuel for a proper demonstration. But I could take a videotape home and watch it.

I was caught up in their fascination. There on my TV was a large, quiet man standing in his garage as a 3-foot-tall black engine beside him quietly chugged away, its flywheel spinning. He disconnected the starter batteries. It chugged on. He unbolted its frame from the wood floor and let it slide sideways --- no wires coming up through the floor. He hooked it to a machine measuring RPM and horsepower and torque, and I guessed the readings were impressive. Could this possibly be real? If so, how could it stay under wraps for so long? In my search, which included two conversations with Papp before he died, I found that the Saboris were just the latest generation of investors and promoters strung across the country for 20 years.

Many of these people scarcely knew that the others existed. But they had spookily similar stories to tell, of seduction and disappointment, of investments forgotten but dreams that just wouldn't go away. Don Roser, 62, is a building contractor. In 1968, one of his employees at a Gardena refrigeration company, Hungarian immigrant George Haley, invited Roser to dinner to meet fellow Hungarian Joseph Papp.

Papp was fascinating, spinning a tale of how he discovered an odd nuclear phenomenon. In Montreal he'd built a one-man submarine--he showed the book he'd written, The Fastest Submarine --- that used his novel atomic power principle. And --- he had the newspaper clippings --- he'd disappeared one day in 1966 only to show up a couple of days later in a rubber raft off France, having raced his sub across the ocean at 300 mph. Where was the craft? It sank before he was rescued.

It took only three days for Papp to talk Roser into backing a new application of the mysterious power, a car engine modified so it could run for thousands of hours on a sealed charge of his fuel.

In a conventional engine, a few drops of fuel are mixed with air inside a cylinder and ignited with a spark. The explosion pushes down the floor of the cylinder --- a piston --- causing a shaft to turn. The remains of the burned gasoline are pumped out as exhaust.

Papp said his cylinders would need neither to breathe in any air nor to vent any exhaust. A load of fuel --- enough for a year or so --- would cost a few cents, and there'd be no pollution.

The fuel was an airy soup of inert gases --- helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon. Inside the cylinders, Papp said, the combination of a magnetic field, pinches of radioactive substances and a well-timed spark would push the helium atoms so close together that a few would fuse together, releasing great energy, forcing the gases to violently expand and then contract again, over and over for thousands of hours.

Chemists and physicists reading this are shaking their heads. Atoms fuse only under the most intense duress. All the fuss about fusion this spring concerned hydrogen, the lightest of atoms. Even nuclear bombs cause hydrogen fusion for only a fraction of a second. Papp said he was fusing helium atoms. Even the center of the sun doesn't have the wherewithal to do that. But Roser took a gamble, and he pushed Papp hard. The man was a good machinist, he worked incessantly, and "it was like he had done it before. He wasn't groping."

Papp began with an old four-cylinder Volvo engine. In six weeks, he had it running.

(The skeptic asks: What about the car battery that he used to start it? Couldn't that be turning the engine? No, Roser says, because the battery was wired through the starter, which wasn't turning. Besides, Papp often would disconnect the battery and let the engine run alone for a few minutes.) In short order, Roser formed a joint company with Papp, hired armed guards and patent attorneys and called in the press.

Roser's idea was to find a major engine manufacturer to develop and market the thing. He and Papp would own equal shares in the technology. Big companies were interested: TRW, Lockheed, Rockwell. The Army and the Navy made inquiries.

Then came the clash. Roser wanted to put on a public demonstration. Papp was opposed. The old Volvo engine was rusted, he said. It might be dangerous. Instead, he suggested a more impressive demonstration. One Sunday in October 1968 they trooped out to the desert with six or eight engineers and a homemade cannon, to be powered by Papp's invention.

The barrel was four feet long, four inches in diameter, made of 1/4-inch stainless steel and anchored in a concrete block. For the breech they used a spare cylinder head from Papp's engine; for a projectile they machined a piece of steel.

Papp filled the cylinder with his gases and hooked up the power. "We heard this tremendous explosion. It was a low rumble, like a bass sound," Roser says. The projectile had jammed halfway up the barrel and ripped the cannon in half. The back of the gun flared open like a tulip.

The observers were impressed. But if Roser was going to sell the engine to anyone, he needed to have it thoroughly examined. And he still wanted a public show. Papp objected again, but Roser was firm. He had seen Papp and his family standing next to the engine while it purred away; he doubted there was much danger.

The crowd that showed up one Monday in November 1968 included engineers, reporters and, Roser says, an attorney from TRW with a $3.5 million contract in his pocket. It also included a few students from Caltech and their professor: Richard Feynmann, skeptic.

Feynmann, who died of cancer last year, was a Nobel laureate physicist known to most Americans as the member of the Challenger investigation commission who used a glass of ice water, a C clamp and a piece of rubber O-ring to cut through all the NASA double talk and dramatize what caused the shuttle explosion.

Feynmann left a manuscript describing his encounter with Papp. He was convinced the engine was a fake before he'd even arrived. Once there, he took one look and charged that the cord delivering power to a control panel was running the engine. Papp pulled the plug, and the engine kept running. Feynmann then figured there was a battery hidden inside the engine, so he held on to the plug a little longer, hoping the engine would run down.

Papp became frantic; the engine was running without any controls, he said. Feynmann relented and gave up the plug. Papp put it back in the socket right away and the engine blew apart.

''My back was to it," Roser says. "I knew what happened immediately because I heard that same rumble as when the cannon exploded. The guy I was talking to dropped in front of me. He had a piece of shrapnel go into the flesh around his skull."

A Mattel engineer died --- a piston blasted through his gut. Eight others were badly wounded. The man from TRW nearly lost a leg; the contract was forgotten. Papp's and Roser's partnership quickly fell apart; Papp wanted nothing more to do with Roser or the engine. Roser sued to get him back to work, but the case dragged on for years. Papp insisted Roser had been greedy, had tried to push the engine too far, had tried to steal the secret.

In the end, the judge gave Roser half the rights to the energy source. The engine, in the meantime, had won a U.S. patent. But none of that was much use to Roser, who had no idea how to make the fuel.

Roser now figures he spent half a million dollars on Papp, most of it in legal fees. For that, he got to watch the engine run maybe 30 hours altogether; the longest stretch was 35 minutes. Despite his low opinion of Papp, Roser still thinks the inventor had something.

Feynmann figured, after the engine blew up, that Papp had loaded a cylinder with an explosive that would damage the engine and delay the formal test but that he miscalculated the charge.

Roser says the engine and the cannon were inspected by police and Stanford Research Institute for signs of a chemical explosion and that none was found. "They were perplexed by it."

Geza Szabo, 64, is Chief Engineer for a metal tube company in the Los Angeles area. Like many people I spoke with, Szabo assured me he was Papp's right-hand man during the years they were together. Unlike most of the others, he actually got grease on his hands, helping build a six-cylinder engine.

''For six years I worked with him every day, eight to 10 hours... I know exactly how it's hooked up. I know how it works," Szabo says.

Does he believe in Papp's engine? No doubt. "I know it sounds incredible," he says. "Believe me, I'm no dummy. I have two engineering degrees and a truckful of common sense."

All this doesn't mean Szabo knew how to mix the fuel. With a dense thicket of pipes and hoses, vacuum pumps and ionizers, all flashing and hissing like a mad scientist's lab, Papp would produce a cylinder full of his gaseous mixture --- as long as no one was watching closely. "I was so decent," Szabo says. "When he did mixing and ionizing, I walked out."

Papp's expatriate Hungarian friends also didn't know much about his background. Where he came from seems to have depended on when you asked.

The most likely reliable source I could find was Ohio car mechanic Joseph Tatrai, a friend from Papp's home town who decades later visited him in Florida.

Joseph Papp was born in 1933 in Tatabanya, Hungary, where his father was an electrician for a coal mining company, Tatrai says.

After school, Papp joined a "civilian" flying club, the first step toward being a military pilot. "He was a young chap then, a skinny little nothing. He had ideals and dreams but had no resources to develop these things," Tatrai recalls. "He was always a tinkering person." He went on to an elite air force academy, where he flew bombers and studied mechanical engineering.

Later he worked at a research institute that had something to do with atomic power. That's where, Papp later said, he first thought about trying to make a "mini-fusion" engine.

Then came the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Papp made his way in 1957 to Canada, where he met and married Helen Maczko, another Hungarian   immigrant. They had their only child, Susan, in 1967, and a year later moved to California. Papp's family life looked uncomfortable to friends. "He lived in a very, very bad area, a small, tiny house... His wife was miserable," one says.

''An absolute loner, in spite of the family," Haley calls him. "He was an obsessed scientist, even a mad scientist --- you can say that."

''He was, with all respect, a little flipped," Szabo says. Papp's emotions were intense and varied, to put it politely --- "friction all over the place," Szabo recalls.

Depression, too: "He would talk about his misery, how he was so badly treated," says John Phillips, an attorney who spent years trying to repair Papp's and Roser's old partnership.

And paranoia, especially: "He was scared from his shadow," Szabo says. He feared the oil companies or the Mafia would come after him. "Nobody could explain that nobody wanted to shoot him."

In one of the depositions he gave during his suit with Roser, Papp left a glimpse of this. "I am a scientist and I try to fight for United States and I am willing to work with United States, you understand, because I lost my country... But you have to think who is the troublemaker and who tried to cut my throat."

His pride seemed on the line, too.

''He believed fervently that if he ever gave up the secrets, he would be totally out," Phillips says. "... If he lost that, nobody would ever be interested in Joe Papp."

Why did he work so hard at an engine he could never give up?

''He felt it was valuable. He knew it worked," Szabo says. "But he worked by this foggy belief that the trap, the danger, somehow, someday, would disappear. He kept on working, improving --- oh, boy, working like a dog --- filing, drilling, melting... But his mind said there always is a trap."

Working with Papp was exhausting, but the potential seemed to make it all worthwhile.

''If he'd trusted me," Szabo says, "I could have worked out the technical details and we would have been trillionaires."

Papp added them to his list of people who had tried to screw him. Jim Adamson, 71, is an old hand at getting projects off the ground. For 40 years he worked in San Diego for Convair, helping build airplanes and missiles. He heard about Joe Papp through a friend who was Papp's latest lawyer. In June 1973 he invited Papp, Szabo and Haley down from Los Angeles. He got his boss's OK to bring the engine down and test it.

Papp's new engine was a Leyland six-cylinder truck engine, heavily modified, with elaborate wires and gauges and gizmos.

Papp and friends had given it an unusual setting: inside an old school bus. Not under the hood --- it was too big for that. The immense, gleaming engine sat on a gaudy carpet several feet behind the driver.

Papp's friends had concocted a plan where, with great flourish, they would fire up the engine (it had never actually propelled the bus) and drive the bus to the White House to show the world that the energy shortage was over.

Adamson persuaded them to quietly drive it down to San Diego for tests instead. In August 1973, on the night before he was to make the drive, Papp disappeared. Two days later he was found wandering miles away, with a .22-caliber slug in his left shoulder, telling a story of being abducted, escaping and being shot by someone who was after his secrets. No one was ever caught, and several people have always suspected Papp shot himself. If so, he did more harm than he intended. The nerve damage crippled his left hand.

It was almost a year and a half before Adamson could get Papp and the bus to San Diego. It was towed, not driven.

Adamson put the engine in an isolated building. To salve Papp's paranoia, he added a 24-hour plainclothes detail to Convair's already strong security. He assigned a confidential team of engineers and technicians to help Papp. Adamson recalls that the inventor impressed the engineers who were watching him; most figured he was no fraud.

The engine was ringed with monitors, to capture whatever emanations --- pressure, temperature, sound --- it might produce. They even planned to weigh it before and after.

But Papp beat the system. Late on Easter Sunday he went into the lab alone, turned on a camera and started the engine about half a dozen times. People who have seen the videotape say the flywheel ran for several seconds each time. "Go, baby, go," Papp whispered.

It stalled. A piece of metal had slipped loose and gouged the inside of one cylinder.

After Adamson's crew fixed the engine, someone sabotaged Papp's fuel mixer. Papp and Haley blamed the same mysterious forces behind the abduction, but Adamson said it was impossible for anyone but those two men to have gotten to the lab undetected.

About a month later, Papp's wife, feeling abandoned and fearful up in Torrance, tried to kill herself and 7-year-old Susan by cutting their wrists. Papp dropped all his work and went back to his family.

Despite the inventor's blatant reluctance to run his engine under any scrutiny, Adamson is convinced he had something real.

''We took the engine apart" after it jammed. "There were no little mice running around in the treadmill. There was nothing in there, no external connections to anything we could find."

Besides, "when you got inside there and saw the damage that had been done in that cylinder, you would almost have to believe there was significant power there," Adamson says.

In fact, Adamson invested in the engine in its next incarnation. Papp's recollection of the work at Convair? Someone tried to steal his secret from him.

Ernie Engel, 66, of North Platte, Neb., is "semi-retired" today. In the mid-1970s, Engel had just given up a lucrative career selling life insurance in the upper Plains and invested in a three-wheel automobile. At an auto show in Los Angeles in 1976, Joe Papp walked up. "He said, 'You've got a new type of car, and I've got a new source of power.' "

Papp showed his movies and told his stories.

Engel was impressed. He put down $100,000 for a license to put Papp's engines in his cars. It was to be the first of many $100,000 checks he wrote, on the behalf of himself and other Nebraska investors, who called themselves Energy Executives.

Energy Executives was given shares in a new corporation called Papp International, or rights to use the company's future engine in some application --- irrigation pumps, trucks, cars. But because Papp owned 82 percent of the corporation, owning a share usually meant you had sent a check to him, to do with as he pleased.

Papp used the first Energy Executives check to buy a fine house in Santa Ana: two stories, four bedrooms, a swimming pool.

Then he left for six months in South Africa. His translator said Papp signed a corporation's $500 million contract --- but then reneged, complaining that he didn't want to be under its control.

When Papp returned, the investors started shelling out more cash: for the parts to build six new, two-cylinder engines; for a secure fuel lab in a separate town under a different name; for a house-hunting trip to Florida when Papp decided to move; for the $350,000 Daytona Beach home itself; for a new Cadillac; for vacations to China and Hungary; for the patent lawyers' bills. People noticed that Papp was collecting a lot of money from them and not doing much in return, but they don't seem to have questioned his engine, just his responsibility.

Finally the two-cylinder engine ran, on June 18, 1981.

A videotape of that demonstration was sent to the patent office to shore up the new engine's patent application, which was granted. (The office would nominate his engine as one of the year's best patents, but Papp refused to participate in the ceremony.)

Somehow Papp could never be persuaded to give the engine up for an independent test.

Engel finally got fed up, he says, when Papp accused him of breaking into his lab and snooping through his papers. Someone did break in, Engel says, but it wasn't him. He knew Papp would never leave his engine's secret where anyone could find it.

''I had it up to the eyebrows. I drove back to Nebraska and never went back down there."

Altogether, he figures $1.5 million went to Papp from him and his friends in Oklahoma. Roughly another $750,000 came from the investors in Nebraska. Wasn't it a scam? "No, because the engine ran, no doubt about it. There were no secret valves. The engine was picked up and there were no hidden tubes going in, giving it fuel.

''I know Joe. Joe really had it."

Next up: Ken Dollar, of Tulsa, had been following Papp's progress since 1968, when a friend in California told him about the engine.

In late 1982, sensing that relations were strained between the inventor and the Papp International investors, he introduced Papp to Universal Power Concepts, a company that said it would market the engine.

The effort lasted for about five years before winding up in court. In the meantime, a new slate of investors wrote checks --by one estimate a million dollars worth, most of which Papp said he never received. No new engines were built. The one in Papp's garage ran countless times for would-be investors and for the experts they brought. But it never ran anywhere else, though it spent a couple years in a Tulsa testing lab waiting for the squabbling to settle down. Dollar still is convinced. He ended up as president of UPC, which still stands to gain if the engine ever runs.

''He was the best con artist I ever met in my life," he says, but adds, "The engine wasn't a con. To have something that was real and still do the con game, that I never figured out."

One of his partners, Ralph Keen, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma, concurs: "I think I'm a reasonably intelligent person; I understand these types of things could very easily be fraud. I did everything within my power to assure it was not a fraud."

Jimmy Sabori, 59, and his brother Jake, 56, heard about Papp about seven years ago, when Jimmy was building wind-power turbines.

The Saboris sent half a million dollars to UPC, they say, for what they thought would be franchises to use Papp's engine to generate electricity.

When no engine materialized --- it was stuck in the Tulsa lab waiting for the tests that never came --- they sued UPC to get their money back. But in July 1988, the judge instead ordered them to work with Papp to bring his engine to market. Jake hauled the engine back to Florida, rebuilt it with Papp and watched it run. Then the Saboris went hunting for more investors, preferably people who would plunk down a few hundred thousand.

But the Saboris quickly discovered Papp's fundamental dilemma: He was reluctant to reveal his secret. He said he was tired of skeptics. He was especially unwilling to spell it all out for anyone, like a physicist, who could understand the concept and steal it.

Then things got worse: In January, Papp had to open the engine to repair it, venting the last of his fuel. The elaborate mixer, unused in several years, was worn out. Without $50,000 or so to build a new one, the engine could not run again.

In early April, I talked with Papp about this state of affairs by telephone. ''I now feel like giving it up. Forget it. It's like pushing the big wall," he said. "I spend 80 percent of my life to convince people it's true." But if he gave up, he said, he couldn't face his family.

''Every time anybody sees my engine they get all crazy and like to have the whole thing and think how they can get it."

He wanted to keep the secret of his fuel to himself, he said, and just sell the engines.

That wouldn't happen. A long-ignored pain in Papp's belly turned out to be colon cancer. Within two weeks, he was dead.

Bruce Crouse, 32, a plant manager for a company that makes wheel trim for General Motors and Nissan, married Papp's daughter, Susan, last November. When Papp died, his penniless widow turned to her new son-in-law. Papp was barely in the ground before the phone and doorbell started ringing. Past investors, present partners, people who had always wanted to invest offered to help get the engine started.

Many people seem to figure that with Papp out of the way, there was a chance to get the engine running in public --- assuming he left his secret with someone. But did he?

Crouse wasn't talking. He wanted to sort through the applicants and cut a quick deal with somebody, and he was holding his cards close to his chest. The remains of Papp International --- an Oklahoma dentist and a Nebraska farm-machinery manufacturer --- insisted they had a backer and a plan, and that if Papp had left the answer anywhere, they owned it.

A former assistant, Mike Studley, hinted that he had learned the secret years ago. He had a six-month plan to get the engine running, which he would share with me if I held off on this story until he needed the publicity.

Another former investor, from Utah, showed up on Bakersfield television last month, with an endorsement from a California state senator, saying that Papp had sold the rights to him.

The Saboris, desperately short of money, say Papp entrusted them with copies of his papers. They don't understand the details themselves, but are reluctant to reveal the papers to anyone who could. They haven't resolved this dilemma any better than Papp did.

As I listen to the true believers wrangle over the relics, I get a strong suspicion that none of them will make the engine run --- and that this will shake the faith of none of them.

What do I think? Well, I tracked down one more chapter in the Joseph Papp saga: his infamous atomic submarine.

For six years in Montreal, Joseph Papp's Hungarian friends watched as he spent all his time and money building his dream machine: a 28-foot, torpedo-shaped submarine that would use a secret atomic fuel to propel itself at high speeds. Papp built the sub, of steel and aluminum, in a friend's garage under strict secrecy. "Joseph didn't trust anybody, not even his wife," a friend said. In August 1966 it was completed; he showed it off to television reporters. A few days later, Helen Papp called the police to report that her husband and his submarine were missing.

French military authorities found Papp bobbing in a rubber raft off Brest, babbling about having crossed the ocean in eight hours.

Papp was the toast of two continents --- until his story started falling apart. A man looking like Joseph Papp, and using his passport, had flown from Montreal to Paris the night Papp had disappeared. A Paris-to-Brest train ticket was in Papp's pocket when he was found.

The London Daily Mirror said Papp admitted it was a stunt, that he couldn't bear to admit to his friends that the submarine wouldn't work.

Less than two years later, he left for Los Angeles, with the idea of building his fusion-powered engine. In the interim, he obviously figured out what went wrong the first time. Either he perfected his engine --- or he perfected his sleight-of-hand.

Caption: PHOTO: Inventor Joseph Papp with his fabulous fusion machine in the '60s. Over the next 20 years, investors would spend millions on what is either a miraculous breakthrough or an ingenious hoax.

DIAGRAM: Blueprints of Papp's engine exist. In fact, the engine itself exists. But the investors don't have the secret of the fuel that made it run. That died with Papp last April.

PHOTO: In the '70s, Papp modified a Leyland six-cylinder truck engine and mounted it in an old school bus. Papp claimed that the engine could run for a year or so on a few cents worth of his secret fuel. There were plans to demonstrate Papp's solution to the energy crisis by driving the bus to the White House. But the engine never actually propelled the school bus.

PHOTO: In the '80s, Papp was still tinkering with the engine. But he vented the remaining fuel three months before his death.

Email Notes
Cecil Baumgartner
Wednesday, July 30, 2003 9:59 PM

In personal conversations with Joe Papp, he said that he scuttled the submarine off the coast of France to keep it out of the hands of the Russians - which he detested. If the submarine story is a hoax, why couldn't the Canadians find it off their coast? Have the French made a search in the vicinity where they picked him up? I was a witness to his homemade cannon demonstration in which he substantially demolished a three foot length of 3-inch schedule 50 stainless steel pipe (0.6 inch wall thickness) which was totally encased in one-foot thick reinforced concrete with 10cc of "inert" noble gases. The concrete encasement was mostly blasted into the air and reduced to rubble. It also made a crater about 3-foot diameter and about 3-foot deep and the 1-foot thick platform of plywood and 2x8 planks on which the "concrete coffin" was mounted was reduced to splinters. With that kind of power, it would not take more than a 55-gallon drum to propel him across the Atlantic!

Heinz Klostermann
Friday, June 20, 2003 9:31 PM

Dear Alex {Llera], I like that you place a note in the guestbook about: "Joseph Papp the inventor of Hungary who died in April 1989. He received 3 US Patents on his "Pulsed Plasma Explosion Engine and the Bomb Patent". He raised more than $10 Million for his research and development of the engine. After his death another $25 Million Dollars have been spent to find the secret of the Papp Technology. I am involved for tree years now and we believe we are close to reinventing the Papp Technology. We are going public with the total Joseph Papp story in September 2003. Anyone who has info on Joseph Papp in particular his growing-up years in Hungary and his 10 years in Canada should feel free to contact me. Thank you, Heinz Klostermann, 650 5716140 email:"