Sunday, September 07, 2008

History of Aether Wave Theory

Modern Aether concept has begun by Rene Descartes, who proposed in 1644, that no empty space can exist and that space must consequently be filled with matter. The parts of this matter tend to move in straight paths, but because they lie close together, they can't move freely, which according to Descartes implies that every motion is circular, so the aether is filled with vortices. These ideas were extended later by more specific vortex model of Christian Huygens (1669 -1690) and by Newton's Aether flux model and gravity theory in particular (Principia ~1686, Opticks).
Modern textbooks often claims, Newton believed that space and time were absolute and inviolable - but Newton was a strong proponent of wave/particle duality and he published a variable-density Aether model, in which light and matter trajectories were either bent or deflected by an Aether density gradient. This can be compared to Einstein’s "refractive approach" to gravitational light-bending (1911), which was abandoned by Einstein himself on behalf of formal space-time curvature based description of gravity. Madame Blavatsky, in 1888, predicted that the ether would soon be rejected. She was right. It was rejected officially by wast majority of scientists in 1905, when Albert Einstein first dispensed with it. Einstein half-rejected the aether, he did not reject it in the sense of action by contact or instantaneity.
These trivial and quite natural models were never refuted in fact! Modern physicists never realized, Aether environment cannot be observed by its waves like every else environment - so they misinterpreted negative result of Michelson-Morley experiment (and many others) by the same way, like virtually every other aspects of Aether hypothesis toward less complete and intuitive space-time concept. Particle model doesn't explain, what the space-time really is, but it explains fractal foam nature of space-time curvature and the gradient driven symmetry of space and time . At Einstein time, scientists were not aware of another subtleties (Lens-Thirring effects, connection of QM and Lorentz symmetry violation, etc.), which are forming the motivation of AWT by now.
Believe it or not, neither AWT is completely new. It seems, the original author of dense Aether concept was Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, who published in Harper's Magazine in 1904 his "Electric Theory of Matter", which is basically the electromagnetic theory of Aether. The dense Aether concept was mentioned even in some textbooks after then (1908).


The fundamental mistake of another well known Aether proponent T.J.J.See was, he didn't understood the dense Aether concept like others, albeit Lodge has explained it to him explicitly. From the above discussion it's evident, the conceptual father of AWT was rather Oliver Lodge, not T.J.J.See, albeit the later had published a lotta articles about Aether (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) later. But his Aether Wave Theory has only few common points with Lodge's concept, for example the assumption, all forces are mediated by Aether waves.
From AWT follows, era of formal and nonformal approach alternates in science in less or more apparent waves, the density of which increases, because of increasing information density. Intuitive plenum concept of ancient Greeks was replaced by abstract Newtonian concept of absolute space and time. With better understanding of wave nature of light at the beginning of 19th century Aether theory was revived, but it was replaced by formal combination of relativity and quantum mechanics in 20th century. Now we are facing Aether concept again, because contemporary system of formal dualities has reached its limits in many aspects, the complexity in particular.

16 comments:

Zephir said...

One of rare on-line references to Oliver Lodge early work concerning dense aether concept.

Zephir said...

Eddington on aether

Eddington who supposedly proved Einstein’s Relativity in 1919
believed in aether, too. Many relativity texts falsely present that aether has been disproved by relativity - so it’s worth looking at Eddington on this issue.

Zephir said...

Sir Oliver Lodge and Relativity

"Lodge's conception of physics cannot be understood without consideration of the ether. This is a greatly misunderstood concept, and our persistent misunderstanding of the concept has damaged our understanding of both the historical process and the nature of physics."

Zephir said...

Max Born in his textbook "Quantum Theory" in 1924 wrote:

"One obvious objection to the hypothesis of an elastic Aether (Space) arises from the necessity of ascribing to it the great rigidity it must have to account for the high velocity of Waves. Such a substance would necessarily offer resistance to the motion of heavenly bodies, particularly to that of planets. Astronomy has never detected departures from Newton's Laws of Motion that would point to such a resistance"....

Zephir said...

It was clear that the conception of light as a simple pressure was inadequate to account for the different kinds of light, i.e., the phenomenon of color. To remedy this, Robert Hooke suggested that the (longitudinal) pressures transmitted by the ether may be oscillatory, with a frequency corresponding to the color. This conflicted with the views of Newton, who tended to regard light as a stream of particles in an empty void. Huygens advanced a fairly well-developed wave theory, but could never satisfactorily answer Newton's objections about the polarization of light through certain crystals ("Iceland spar"). This difficulty, combined with Newton's prestige, made the particle theory dominant during the 1700's, although many people, notably Jean Bernoulli and Euler, held to the wave theory.

Zephir said...

http://www.zpenergy.com/downloads/Orig_maxwell_equations.pdf


You will not find the original works in any modern book because of their notion of aether fluid mechanics. They were collected and destroyed by the publishing firm that was owned by J.P. Morgan, when he hired Lorentz to go on a book tour..and he paid to have them all removed and replaced in any place where they were found.
collections, libraries, schools, the whole lot.

Zephir said...

The dense aether concept differs significantly from aether of pre-einsteinian era, when it was considered as a sparse gas pervading the space. The dense aether model considers the aether very dense and *forming the space* instead. In a pamphlet on "[The Density of Æther](http://openlibrary.org/books/OL20162777M/The_density_of_the_aether)" Sir Oliver Lodge remarks: "*Just as the ratio of mass to volume is small in the case of a solar system or a nebula or a cobweb, I have been driven to think that the observed mechanical density of matter is probably an excessively small fraction of the total density of the substance or æther contained in the space which it thus partially occupies—the substance of which it may hypothetically be held to be composed. Thus, for instance, consider a mass of platinum, and assume that its atoms are composed of electrons, or of some structures not wholly dissimilar: the space which these bodies actually fill, as compared with the whole space which in a sense they 'occupy,' is comparable to one ten-millionth of the whole, even inside each atom; and the fraction is still smaller if it refers to the visible mass. So that a kind of minimum estimate of ætherial density, on this basis, would be something like ten thousand million times that of platinum*."
And further on he adds that this density may well turn out to be fifty thousand million times that of platinum. "*The densest matter known,*" he says, "*is trivial and gossamer-like compared with the unmodified æther in the same space.*"
In the same pamphlet Sir Oliver Lodge makes a very striking estimate of the intrinsic energy of the æther. He says: "*The total output of a million-kilowatt power station for thirty million years exists permanently, and at present inaccessibly in every cubic millimetre of space.*" Here again he is underestimating the stupendous truth.

Zephir said...

Oliver Lodge at Gutenberg.org: The Ether of Space, Life and Matter

Zephir said...

Why did Poincaré retain the ether? What I know, Poincaré got actually pretty upset with success of Einstein up to level, he prohibited to mention him at Sorbonne and teach the relativity, where he lead the mathematical physics department. As the result, the French physics delayed the relativity research by many years. Poincare also never mentioned Einstein's work on relativity - neither in his papers or books, nor, as far as I know, in his letters.

Zephir said...

Poincare didn't believe the Einstein's explanation of Mercury precession and he attributed it to ring of dense matter around Sun - and now it seems, he could actually have his bit of truth (despite from probably different reason, than Poincare believed) - the Mercury precession appears affected with dark matter ring around Sun. After all, the equation that accounted for Mercury's orbit had been published 17 years earlier, before Relativity was invented. The author, Paul Gerber, used the assumption that gravity is not instantaneous, but it propagates with the speed of light. After Einstein published his General Relativity derivation, arriving at the same equation, Gerber's article was reprinted in "Annalen der Physik".

Zephir said...

Patschke, Arthur: Umsturz der einsteinschen relativitätstheorie

Zephir said...

There are no particles, there are only fields, 200-word letter to the editor

Zephir said...

Sir Oliver Lodge and Professor Einstein Differ in Their Theories(PDF)

Zephir said...

Another AWT clone

Zephir said...

Dayton-miller's claims of finding positive evidence for ether
http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0608238

Zephir said...

Dense aether model predicts the zero result of M-M experiment, so it cannot be disproved with it. Lodge therefore supported the M-M experiment in full extend. For example in 1892 he also demonstrated, that aether drag is invisible around rapidly moving celestial bodies(apparatus).