Someone pasted the above link on my Facebook page yesterday, and I thought it deserved a little commentary. What intrigues me first, and most of all, about this article is the implication that interest in Heim's theory - and it went through several versions - is something "new," when in fact it has been around since the early 1950s, when he first started working on it for Messerschmitt-Belkow-Blohm in West Germany. That's right, you read that correctly: Messerschmitt-Belkow-Blohm, a major aerospace firm and, of course, one of Germany's major defense contractors (think Messerschmitt Me 109 fighters here).
The article therefore intrigues me, because we're being implicitly asked to believe that his theory is only just now coming to the attention of NASA and other space agencies, when in one form or another it has been around for more than sixty years! As I pointed out in my book The Philosophers' Stone: Alchemy and the Secret Research for Exotic Matter, where I devoted an entire chapter to Heim, the whole motivation that Heim had in formulating his theory was precisely his realization that if mankind were ever to have a permanent presence among the stars, chemical rockets were as obsolete as the dodo bird; a new physics and new technology based on the coupling of electromagnetic and gravitational fields was required. Heim sought, in other words, the Holy Grail of physics: a unified field theory.
Heim's theory, like so many other unified field theories beginning with the five dimensional theory of fellow German Theodor Kaluza, is a "hyper-dimensional" theory, in other words, it employs more than the standard four dimensions of General Relativity, three of space, one of time. In Heim's case, however, there are two unique features, and they're rather breathtaking ones. First, Heim realized that for a theory to be successful, it simply had to incorporate the findings of quantum mechanics, and thus had to unify not only gravity and electromagnetism, but also the strong and weak nuclear forces of quantum mechanics. Second, Heim's theory posited a "hyper-space" or "sub-space" in which the relativistic speed limit - the velocity of light - no longer applied, and where there were coupling effects between gravity and electromagnetism. All this would be nothing new as unified field theories go, if it were not for the fact that Heim's theory did something else: it predicted, with some success, from first principles, the masses of particles in the zoological taxonomy of quantum mechanics' particle zoo. This no other hyper-dimensional theory did on the scale of Heim's theory, and that made his theory verifiable, unlike many hyper-dimensional theories touted elsewhere. Oh yea, and one final point, Heim's theory predicted such electromagnetic and gravitational coupling in rotating systems; in other words, once again, we're chin-to-chin with the concept of torsion.
Suddenly everyone (at NASA anyway), was sitting up and taking notice... sixty years after Messerschmitt-Belkow-Blohm did. When America's early Vanguard satellite program was under way - as Richard C. Hoagland has pointed out in a paper called "Von Braun's Fifty-Year Old Secret" - the satellite's orbit wildly exceeded expectations: the rocket boosting it into orbit boosted it way beyond what standard calculations showed. Von Braun was mystified and he contacted the French scientist Allais and...you guessed it, fellow countryman Burkhardt Heim, for an explanation. We can only guess at what their replies were, but you can bet your bottom dollar that both men told Von Braun that rotation - torsion - had a lot to do with it (after all, the satellite's booster was rotating!)
All of this leads me to suspect that this little article is a bit disingenuous for the simple reason that the physics and the implied technology (and yes, there's an implied technology and you won't like what it resembles! See my The Philosophers' Stone, pp. 324-326f) have been around a lot longer than one would first imagine. The article paints a picture of future discoveries when in fact it is clear that at least the Germans were investigating Heim's theory a lot longer than that, and one can only assume that the Russians and Americans were as well(and just as an aside, we know the Russians were because Dr. Nikolai Kozyrev was investigating torsion in a highly classified project in the Soviet Union, a project begun after the first versions of Heim's theory were made public!. We may be looking at past discoveries and hidden technologies and physics, rather than future ones. After all, Lockheed's Ben Rich is well-known to have made statements to the effect that we had the technology "to take ET home" just before he died. (He also said another, even more interesting thing, and few have noticed it: "We discovered an error in the equations..." though he never said which equations... but I have my suspicions!)
All this puts the picture of a flying wing accompanying the article into an interesting context... but all of that is another story, another book perhaps.... As for Heim, he did work for the Nazis on the war, but the work he did is shrouded in mystery and one can only guess at what it might have been, although we do know he proposed an idea for a "clean hydrogen bomb" to Werner Heisenberg during the war, and that would imply some interest in Heim's part in thermonuclear plasmas. That interest, plus the technologies implied by his theory (q.v The Philosophers' Stone, pp. 324-326f again), should, by now, be ringing a Bell...