Robert Lomas and the Da Vinci Code II

(...) Like other Brown novels, the central character is puzzle-solving symbologist Dr Robert Langdon, a character played by Tom Hanks in the film versions – and based largely on Dr Lomas.

"It was during the (copyright] trial of 2006 that Dan Brown revealed he had based Dr Robert Langdon on me. There are references in The Lost Symbol which indicate as much. The opening of my book The Hiram Key is spoken by one of the characters.

"After The Da Vinci Code, I got a lot of fan mail asking about things in the book. When I read it I realized why, but my life is not as exciting as Robert Langon's. Where I theorize about things like hidden chambers under Scottish churches, Langdon finds them!"

The 2006 copyright trial is now part of the mythology surrounding the phenomenon of The Da Vinci Code. It was brought by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, both of whom claimed Dan Brown had plagiarized parts of their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, but they lost the case.

Dr Lomas said: "I became friends with Dan Brown because I offered to support him in court. I was fascinated by the concept of studying order long before I became a freemason. As a physicist I have to believe there's a plan to find, otherwise what are you looking for?"

Dr Lomas is a best-selling author in his own right. His latest book, Turning the Solomon Key, discusses the impact of freemasonry on the design of Washington DC , which also involves his theories on astrology and physics.

The book describes how he believes the White House was positioned so that once every eight years Venus rises directly above its dome.

"In Masonic astrology, individuals born when the Bright Morning Star (Venus) rises tend to be high achievers. My theory is that ionized particles in the upper atmosphere cause changes in the development of the brain, making it more creative."

He goes further and suggests that the same ionic turbulence could have been affecting the humans species for millennia. He is the first scientist to put forward a theory which he believes explains World Bank statistics which show the further away from the tropics a society is, the more productive it becomes.

"The tropics are covered by something called the D-layer, which absorbs ions. My theory is humans only began to evolve into complex societies after they moved out from under the D-layer."

Freemasonry was started by stone masons working on St Nicholas's Kirk, Aberdeen circa 1498. It spread to Edinburgh, then York, then Leeds.

There are around 12,000 Masonic lodges in the UK and at least 40 in Leeds. Typically, lodges have about 50 members. One in 10 people belong to the freemason movement in the UK.

During the Second World War, freemasons went into hiding in what has been termed 'the 40 years silence' – Hitler murdered some 300,000 German freemasons during the Holocaust. When Nazis invaded Jersey, one of their first tasks was to destroy the Masonic temple there.

Freemasonry is the largest spiritual organization after Catholicism and has members in every country around the globe. You are never asked to join freemasonry, you must ask if you want to join.

The Masonic Knights Templar formed as a Jacobite support group in the 1600s for exiled freemason king James II and drew on the rituals of the original Templar Knights. The Masonic Knights Templar still exists today and has actually survived longer than the original organization upon which it is based.

Headingley Masonic Lodge was founded by the late William Lesley Wilmshurst, a man of near-legendary status among freemasons and one of the most prominent thinkers in the world about ritual and its effect on the human mind.