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Jean-Pierre Petit

Professor Jean-Pierre Petit (born 5 April 1937, Choisy-le-Roi) is a specialist in plasma physics and General Relativity Theory. He is a senior researcher at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as an astrophysicist at the Marseille Observatory, now retired. He has published his works in the most prestigious scientific journals of theoretical physics, such as Modern Physics Letters.

His main working fields are fluid mechanics, kinetic theory of gases, plasma physics applied in magnetohydrodynamics power generation and propulsion as well as topology and astrophysics applied in cosmology. He is a pioneer in magnetohydrodynamics and has worked out the principle and techniques of parietal MHD converter. In Cosmology, he worked on the bi-gravity theory.

He is the author of a book titled Enquête sur les OVNIs (Investigating UFOs) published in French by Albin Michel (1990). Petit explains the reasons why "we cannot exclude the possibility that UFOs are piloted by beings originating elsewhere in the universe". In an interview with Jean-Pierre Petit by Marie-Thérèse de Brosses, originally published in the August 9, 1990 issue of Paris Match, his theories, scientific conclusions on UFOs, and possible propulsion methods were delineated. This superb interview was translated from the Paris Match article by Robert J. Durant and his wife, and published in the MUFON UFO Journal, Number 273, January 1991.

A quotation from this interview reflects Professor Petit's philosophy regarding UFOs - "To manufacture such a machine would require that the engine develop an amount of power equivalent to that of a large nuclear power generating plant. And if there is anything not amenable to miniaturization, it is a nuclear plant. Conclusion: the machines seen in Belgium are not of terrestrial origin".

Besides his adventure in the UFO topic as well as his assertions about the existence of Ummo, Petit has succeeded in pursuing a scientific career within the CNRS.

Now retired, he is involved with UFO-Science which he co-founded and LAMBDA (Laboratory for Applications of MHD in Bitemperature Discharges to Aerodynamics) which he founded. He claims a true scientific study of the UFO phenomenon would improve our scientific knowledge and help mankind.

Professional work

Jean-Pierre Petit obtained his Engineer's degree in 1961 at the French aeronautical engineering school ENSAE (Supaero). In the 1960s, he worked for several months in a French rocket engine test facility as a test engineer in the development of the first nuclear intercontinental missiles SLBM. Because he felt uncomfortable within the military R&D, he preferred to integrate civilian research. In 1965, he was hired by the Marseille Institute of Fluid Mechanics (IMFM), a French laboratory affiliated with CNRS and the French atomic agency CEA, as a research engineer where he made his first studies in magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). In 1972, he fully incorporated the CNRS after his EngD thesis defense. In 1974, he officially stopped experimental research in MHD and started working at the Marseille Observatory where he reconverted himself in fundamental research as an astrophysicist. However, he personally carried on his experimental research on MHD propulsion until 1987. Convalescent after many months of hospitalization following an industrial injury, he became, between 1977 and 1983, co-director of the Calculation Center at the French University of Provence where he developed, with students, some CAD software marketed in 1978. He retired from CNRS in April 2003, but keeps working. In 2007, he founded a non-profit organization called UFO-Science to concretize some research ideas he could not experiment on while working, due to lack of allocated funds at the time.

Professional work overview in MHD

His career in the field of MHD is well-known: 1st method of electrothermal instability control and 1st usable MHD generator with non-equilibrium ionized gas (1967); kinetic theory of non-equilibrium plasmas (1972); MHD aerodynes with ionization control (1975); Shock wave cancellation by MHD force field around a cylindrical profile imbedded in a liquid flow (1976); 2nd method of electrothermal instability control by magnetic pressure gradient in an MHD accelerator (1981); Thesis director about shock wave annihilation around a flat wing in a hot supersonic gas flow: Resolution of Navier-Stokes equations within an MHD force field by the method of characteristics (1987).

Plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

Petit is a pioneer in magnetohydrodynamics involving fluid mechanics, plasma physics and electromagnetism, in both MHD types:

The well-known MHD with high magnetic Reynolds number, as the astrophysical plasma inside a star for example. The less-known MHD with low magnetic Reynolds number and critical Hall parameter, involving weakly ionized gases in a non-equilibrium state (i.e. where the electron temperature is higher than the gas temperature) known as "cold plasmas", which are mathematically handled with dyadic tensors in a 7-dimensional phase space. But these non-thermal plasmas are also magnetized plasmas, and the combination of these attributes gives rise to the problematic electrothermal instability which compelled most engaged countries to cancel their engineering MHD programs in the early 1970s.

MHD Power generation

He started working in this field with shock tubes, acting as pulsed power MHD generators delivering several megawatts through direct conversion of supersonic hot gases into electricity, a device invented by Bert Zauderer and Jack Kerrebrock. In 1967, he presented the first experimental results of electrical power generation in a pulsed non-equilibrium high-Hall parameter MHD generator, producing two megawatts of electric power within a magnetic field of 2 teslas in a volume the size of a beer bottle, constituting the first step to cool down the gas in order to protect materials from heat, by controlling the electrothermal instability within MHD converters.

In 1972, he defended in front of Evry Schatzman, his Doctor of Engineering thesis:

• The first part presents the basis for the first kinetic theory of non-equilibrium plasmas, starting from the Chapman-Enskog method for the transport phenomena and extending it to a biparametric expansion in series. This work is published through peer review.

• The second part is an application of the kinetic theory of gases to galactic dynamics. Through this, he resumed the work of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, by compacting the calculations into a matrix form.

Coanda effect and air-breathing MHD accelerators

When he was a student at Supaero, Petit studied the first supersonic disc nozzle, which radially spits a very thin supersonic flat air jet from an annular convergent output along the surface of the device. Then, the Coanda (effect sucks the air flow along the bent wall, sucks down ambient air and creates a low pressure area on top of the device, inducing lift. This is how the Aerodina Lenticulara works, a device patented by Henri Coanda), whom Petit met in those days. He also explained Coanda's disc experiments in a popular science review.

In 1975, he invented new MHD converters named MHD aerodynes and published the idea in a scientific journal. An MHD aerodyne is an aircraft concept with no moving part, where surrounding air is ionized (for example, with microwaves), transformed into a cold plasma, then accelerated by electromagnetic fields around its external hull. It is thus an external flow MHD accelerator with ionization control (opposed to classical magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters where hot gases are electromagnetically accelerated internally, inside a rocket engine nozzle). In order to accommodate electromagnetic coils and the magnetic field lines they create in the air, the hull of MHD aerodynes must have symmetrical geometries (cylinder or sphere for example). A magnetic field as strong as possible is required to rise the acceleration efficiency. But high B-fields give a high Hall parameter ? and it is well known in the engineering field of MHD power generation that high Hall effect MHD converters are preferably disk-shaped. It is the same thing with MHD accelerators, and high Hall effect MHD aerodynes must be disk-shaped, so the electric discharges in the plasma (streamers) can swirl freely around axis, for the Lorentz forces J×B to be centrifugal.

Thereby, the discoidal MHD aerodyne is very similar to Coanda's Aerodina Lenticulara. Both use the Coanda effect to induce lift. The main difference is that the MHD aerodyne uses electromagnetic forces to suck and propel air around the device, instead of mechanical means. It is an "electromagnetic Coanda disk". Admittedly, the idea of discoidal aircraft with silent MHD propulsion had been suggested before, but it had never been published in academic journals, nor experimented hitherto. However, Leik Myrabo later popularized this idea in the USA with his microwave-powered Lightcraft project, using an external flow-control MHD accelerator: Myrabo first talked about an "externally-excited-field MHD accelerator" in 1976, but could experiment his annular "MHD Slipstream Accelerator" prototype for the first time at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1999.

MHD flow control and supersonic without shock wave

Petit calculates MHD forces, creating a partial vacuum area in front or on top of the device, that would be powerful enough to evacuate incoming upstream molecules at supersonic speed before they accumulate at the stationary point, preventing the shock waves, thus controlling sound and heat barriers. MHD acceleration can indeed be very powerful, even more than chemical propulsion, because the acceleration efficiency grows like the magnetic field strength, and is not limited by the propellant's inertia as in chemical propulsion. For example, a small pulsed MHD accelerator can accelerate an ionized gas over 5,000 meters per second with only 10-centimeter electrodes and a moderate 2-tesla magnetic field, as shown at IMFM in 1970.

Petit obtained, from 1975 to 1983, several positive experimental results with his MHD flow control devices:

• In hydraulics: MHD parietal accelerator experiments and bow wave cancellation by Lorentz forces around a cylinder embedded in an acidulated water flow. This work is an hydraulic analogy of shock wave cancellation in gas, allowing to consider the possibility of supersonic cruise in dense air without any sonic boom.

• In magnetized Low pressure discharges with high Hall parameter: creation of spiral currents, plasma confinement to wall and electrothermal instability cancellation by magnetic pressure gradient.

He published these results in specialized journals and conferences.

In 1983, he summarized his research about MHD propulsion and flow control in a scientific comic book titled The Silence Barrier where he popularizes these new concepts.

In 1987, the student engineer Bertrand Lebrun from the French Engineering institute ENSAM defended his Doctor of Engineering thesis under the direction of Jean-Pierre Petit. The subject in the mathematical calculation of shock wave cancellation around a flat wing in a supersonic gas flow, where they develop a method to solve the Navier-Stokes equations within an MHD force field by the method of characteristics. This work is published in international MHD meetings, and in peer-reviewed journals.

New research

In 2007, Petit created UFO-Science, a non-profit organization devoted to scientific study of the UFO phenomenon. Electromagnetic plasma propulsion and supersonic flight without shock wave through flow control by MHD force field are studied in a new laboratory running with private funds, called LAMBDA (Laboratory for Applications of MHD in Bitemperature Discharges to Aerodynamics). He created this concept of "Citizen Research" because he claims the Establishment represented by official scientific public administration, such as the CNRS and the CNES, failed to concretize his ideas because of military strategic implications.

Astrophysics and cosmology

Galactic dynamics

From 1972, Petit launched into theoretical research in astrophysics at Marseille Observatory. At the beginning, he presented some work consecutive to his thesis about the kinetic theory of gases applied to galactic dynamics. In this work, the Friedmann equations emerge from an elliptic solution of the Vlasov equation coupled with Poisson's equation. He then published a rewriting of the Newtonian cosmology, resuming a work from 1934 by Arthur Milne and William McCrea, but from the point of view of his kinetic theory of non-equilibrium plasmas, which allows one to find the rotating universe model of Otto Heckmann and Engelbert Schücking.

Variable constants cosmology

In 1988, Petit introduced the idea of variable speed of light in cosmology, along with the joint variations of all physical constants combined to space and time scale factors changes, so that all equations and measurements of these constants remain unchanged through the evolution of the universe. The Einstein field equation remains invariant through convenient joint variations of c and G in Einstein's constant. The invariances requirement of Schrödinger and Maxwell's equations fulfill the set of gauge joint variations laws of the constants. The fine-structure constant becomes an absolute constant. Late-model restricts the variation of constants to the relativistic Radiation-Dominated Era of the early universe, where spacetime is identified to space-entropy with a conformally flat metric.

Bi-gravity cosmological model (Twin universe theory)

From 1977, Petit started to build an atypical cosmological model, nowadays called the bigravity theory but formerly known as the twin universe theory, completed over the years. This model proposes a radically different vision for the universe, in opposition with the standard cosmology, but shares similarities with a model published before by Andrei Sakharov. In the bi-gravity theory, there is not only one universe, but two parallel universes with two conjugated Riemannian metrics having their own geodesics, interacting through gravitation. Whereas Petit claims his theory explains various observational facts that the standard model cannot answer, and despite several publications through peer review, this model has not triggered much interest in the cosmological community throughout the years. However, in August 2007 Petit incorporated an international club of high-level geometers who take interest in his model and validate his work from its mathematical ground.

Popular science

The general public have known of Petit from the 1970s, from his series of "scientific comic books" published in France as Les Aventures d'Anselme Lanturlu (Lanturlu land), depicting a young character who explains hard scientific concepts with easy popular meaning and simple analogies. Petit consequently created a non-profit organization named Savoir-sans-frontières (Knowledge without borders) to remunerate people all over the world for translation of these books into all available languages. In English, for example, the collection is known as The Adventures of Archibald Higgins. These educational books are freely available to download as PDF files from the organization's web site (Savoir sans frontières).

In 2001, he re-published his book On a perdu la moitié de l'univers (We lost half of the universe). The book was first published in 1997 by Albin Michel. This short book is mainly a face-to-face between two hypothesis (a universe containing dark matter VS a universe interacting via gravitation with shadow-matter) and how do they explain the universe. He also write in 1999 The dark side of the universe but was never published. This book is freely available to download (The dark side of the universe). This book contain also the information published in On a perdu la moitié de l'univers but cover more subjects in astrophysics, topology, and cosmology.

Claims and public matter of controversies

Petit is known to the general public through his popular science publications (books and comics), and by his appearances in French media, mostly about the UFO phenomenon. He is indeed favorable to the extraterrestrial hypothesis explaining some UFO cases, and the conspiracy theory about a cover-up from the armed forces to take a decisive technological, thus strategic advantage over other nations. He loudly denounces the tight relationship between the army and scientists since the Manhattan Project, which has created according to him a powerful military R&D leading to futuristic weapons of mass destruction and unmoral crowd and riot control technologies, to the exclusive use of the military-industrial complex. He also gives credit to 9/11 conspiracy theories through his web site. He thinks that global warming and geopolitics evolution caused by the unconsciousness of world political leaders will create fatal irrevocable disorders in the near future. According to him, becoming aware that we are not alone in the universe and that we are visited by people having a better technology than ours is the last chance for mankind. Such unconventional opinions has raised various enmities against him.

Ummo case and Ufology

In the 1990s, he published several books about Ufology and the Ummo case, from which he would have studied documents since 1974. He claimed to have found there useful inspiration for some of his work about MHD propulsion and cosmology. Thereafter, those unidentified correspondents even sent mail to him for a while, where he would have again, according to him, found other starting points for additional research developments. His hierarchy does not welcome these books.

American secret weapons

After an international conference on advanced propulsion, Petit wrote a book, where he proclaims a leading edge science would have secretly emerged inside the U.S. black projects sanctuaries, involving intensive study of aerial plasma propulsion with electromagnetic flow control. He suggested such an acceleration of these technological programs would have been undertaken after military forces of the United States would had the proof of existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life forms visiting Earth in the 1940s, in particular with the so-called Roswell UFO crash which he thinks was real.

Using his knowledge about plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamics, Petit describes a model of hypersonic plane working with an MHD bypass system, claiming it would correspond to the mythic Aurora secret spyplane that the U.S. Air Force would have brought into service in the 1990s. He gave several lectures on this subject, especially at the French aeronautical engineering school (ENSAE) where his object lesson was not criticized. Conversely, detractors of this idea never provided any technical argument in support of their denials.

Petit also envisages that the U.S. Army would have accidentally discovered how to generate antimatter through superdense states of matter by the use of magnetically-focused underground thermonuclear explosions of several megatons. Some antimatter bombs would have been created, but too powerful to be tested on Earth; they would have been camouflaged into what was known as the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, then detonated on Jupiter. Most of his colleagues judge this story as fancy.

Aneutronic fusion energy vs pure fusion bombs

After the breakthrough made by Sandia National Laboratories at the end of 2005 where researchers generated more than 3 billion degrees within the MHD compressor Z machine, he tries to draw the attention of scientists, politicians, ecologists and the public to what he presents as a possible future clean nuclear civilian energy, thanks to aneutronic nuclear fusion reactions with none or very few radioactive waste byproducts. But again, this technology is potentially proliferating, and Petit claims it could also lead to new pure fusion weapons, where the central fission A-bomb used classically for ignition of the H-bomb would be useless, replaced by a fast electric pulsed power detonator (a compact z-pinch fed with some explosively pumped flux compression generator).


Enquête sur les ovnis - Voyage aux frontières de la science, Preface by Jacques Benveniste, Éditions Albin Michel, Collection "Aux marches de la science", 1990, ISBN 2-226-0120-6

Enquête sur des extra-terrestres qui sont déjà parmi nous - Le mystère des Ummites, Éditions Albin Michel, Collection "Aux marches de la science", 1991, ISBN 2-226-05515-0

Le mystère des Ummites - Une science venue d'une autre planète?, Éditions Albin Michel, 1995, ISBN 2-226-07845-2

Les enfants du diable - La guerre que nous préparent les scientifiques, Éditions Albin Michel, 1995, ISBN 2-226-07632-8 (discontinued)

On a perdu la moitié de l'univers, Éditions Albin Michel, Collection "Aux marches de la science", 1997, ISBN : 222609391 (discontinued)

On a perdu la moitié de l'univers, Preface by Jean-Claude Pecker, 2001 Hachette Littératures, Collection Pluriel, ISBN 978-2012789357

OVNIS et armes secrètes américaines - L'extraordinaire témoignage d'un scientifique, Éditions Albin Michel, 2003, ISBN 2-226-13616-9

L'année du contact, Éditions Albin Michel, 2004, ISBN 2-226-15136-2

OVNI - Le message, published by himself, 2009, ISBN 978-2-918564-00-3,not published

Le versant obscur de l'univers, The dark side of the universe, 1998-1999 (the dark side of the universe.pdf free download)



MUFON 1991 International UFO Symposium Proceedings
No infringement intended. For educational purposes only.