October 18, 2017, by Lindsay Brooke

Keeping schtum – the unsolved secret of David Jones’ perpetual motion machine

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, long standing friend and academic colleague of the late David Jones, has vowed to keep his best kept secret – how his famous perpetual motion machine works.

This week Sir Martyn was filmed by the BBC’s Inside Out team opening the brown envelope left by David Jones in his will to Sir Martyn. Inside, the secret everyone wants to learn – how his perpetual motion machine worked. But even our re-knowned Professor struggled to make sense of the detail and says that when he does work it out he won’t be giving away the secret.

The fascinating story was aired on Monday night to viewers in the North East and Cumbria but you’ll be able to watch on catch-up for the next four weeks. There’s also a short report featured on the BBC website.

Sir Martyn describes David Jones as one of the most knowledgeable, imaginative, talented and eccentric scientists whom I’ve ever had the privilege to know. He was, says Sir Martyn, undoubtedly the best science journalist in the UK and quite an extraordinary person.

They met more than forty years ago when David Jones arrived at Newcastle as a Research Fellow where they quickly became friends.

Sir Martyn said: “David was attempting some highly innovative research applying very high voltages to cells of liquid where even the smallest bubble could cause an explosive electrical discharge.  He finally made it work.  Although with hindsight, it was years ahead of its time.

“I have vivid memories of our time together in Newcastle. David’s breadth of knowledge, scientific foresight and imagaination; his mechanical ingenuity and ingenious demonstrations for Yorkshire TV; his journalistic skills; and his experimental wizardry and sheer bravado.”

And as a mark of this true friendship Sir Martyn is determined to keep schtum – David Jones’ secret is save with him.

Posted in Research newsScienceStaff