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Author Topic: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?  (Read 13218 times)

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #100 on: 13/05/2016 08:55:57 »
Quote from: arcmetal
So, what I see as the major problem with EM theory is this taboo with the study of the ether... it holds people back from just looking at the problem, and similarly in QM theory they have ignored De Broglie's pilot-wave theory.  A better study of these theories would probably help move the understanding of nature forward.
There is no taboo that I'm aware of. The problem in many cases is that physicists have been pummeled with E-mail from every Tom, Dick and Harry who, while having no training in physics or relativity,  thinks that he's proved that the aether exists, such as McQueen, but who say that the aether is undetectable. The problem with that kind argument is that its incorrect. In physics for a concept to be a valid one then it has to be falsifiable. An undetectable aether is not falsifiable. These poor physicists keep getting e-mail all day long and have to sort out the garbage from the sane stuff.

If someone knew what they were talking about then that person would be heard.
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #101 on: 13/05/2016 09:11:24 »
Quote from: arcmetal
So, what I see as the major problem with EM theory is this taboo with the study of the ether... it holds people back from just looking at the problem, and similarly in QM theory they have ignored De Broglie's pilot-wave theory.  A better study of these theories would probably help move the understanding of nature forward.
There is no taboo that I'm aware of. The problem in many cases is ...

If someone knew what they were talking about then that person would be heard.

Well then that's great to hear.  So then maybe progress can be made, even if slowly.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #102 on: 13/05/2016 12:07:28 »
I doubt that anyone can say Einstein finds the idea of an ether attractive because he is having a hard time grasping the theory of relativity.

Einstein was most correct as a teenager.

'Alert Einstein's 'First Paper''
http://www.straco.ch/papers/Einstein%20First%20Paper.pdf

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"The velocity of a wave is proportional to the square root of the elastic forces which cause [its] propagation, and inversely proportional to the mass of the aether moved by these forces."

Einstein is referring to the state of displacement of the aether.

The velocity of a wave is proportional to the square root of the elastic forces which cause its propagation, and inversely proportional to the mass of the aether displaced by these forces.

This is also what Robert Laughlin is referring to when he uses terms like matter, quantum solids and fluids, a piece of window glass and 'stuff' to describe the aether.

They are both referring to a relativistic aether which has mass.

The notion of dark matter as a weakly interacting clump of stuff that travels with the matter is incorrect. Aether has mass and is displaced by matter. Einstein's gravitational wave and de Broglie's wave of wave-particle duality are both waves in the aether. The "missing mass" is the mass of the aether connected to and neighboring the matter which is displaced by the matter. The Milky Way's halo is lopsided due to the matter in the Milky Way moving through and displacing the aether, analogous to a submarine moving through and displacing the water.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #103 on: 13/05/2016 12:12:25 »
That is quite incorrect. If you understood what he wrote then you'd know that what he's talking about is not the luminiferous aether from special relativity. He's speaking about vacuum fluctuations. But that doesn't support the propagation of light.

Vacuum fluctuations are the chaotic nature of the aether. The following water wave Casimir effect is analogous to the chaotic nature of the aether.

 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #104 on: 13/05/2016 12:24:22 »
If someone knew what they were talking about then that person would be heard.

'Selected Queries from Newton’s Opticks, 4th ed.'
http://homepages.wmich.edu/~mcgrew/nq.htm

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Qu. 20. Doth not this Aethereal Medium in passing out of Water, Glass, Crystal and other compact and dense Bodies into empty Spaces, grown denser and denser by degrees, and by that means refract the Rays of Light not in a point, but by bending them gradually in curve Lines? And doth not the gradual condensation of this Medium extend to some distance from the Bodies, and thereby cause the Inflexions of the Rays of Light, which pass by the edges of dense Bodies, at some distance from the Bodies?

Newton is referring to the state of displacement of the aether.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories#Luminiferous_aether

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James Clerk Maxwell said of the aether, "In several parts of this treatise an attempt has been made to explain electromagnetic phenomena by means of mechanical action transmitted from one body to another by means of a medium occupying the space between them. The undulatory theory of light also assumes the existence of a medium. We have now to show that the properties of the electromagnetic medium are identical with those of the luminiferous medium."

Maxwell's displacement current is a physical displacement of the aether.

'Ether and the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein'
http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Extras/Einstein_ether.html

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"the state of the [ether] is at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the ether in neighbouring places"

The state of the aether at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the aether in neighboring places is the state of displacement of the aether.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories#Quantum_vacuum

Quote
Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics, endowed chair in physics, Stanford University, had this to say about ether in contemporary theoretical physics:
The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is taboo.
 

Offline McQueen

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #105 on: 13/05/2016 12:27:55 »
There is no taboo that I'm aware of. The problem in many cases is that physicists have been pummeled with E-mail from every Tom, Dick and Harry who, while having no training in physics or relativity,  thinks that he's proved that the aether exists, such as McQueen, but who say that the aether is undetectable. The problem with that kind argument is that its incorrect. In physics for a concept to be a valid one then it has to be falsifiable. An undetectable aether is not falsifiable. These poor physicists keep getting e-mail all day long and have to sort out the garbage from the sane stuff.

The Bible does say something about Pharisees and whited sepulchers, where would be the joy in physics, if one did not have the freedom to think ? Stick to your tombs PmbPhy, you might finally realize something. Without answering any of the questions I have put such as “What is the reason that Einstein gives for the speed of light being constant?” Or for that matter do you have a calculation that shows the speed of light is constant ? I am pretty sure you don’t so don’t bother. BUT at least admit that you don’t know. Don’t obfuscate and don’t be derogatory.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #106 on: 13/05/2016 12:33:11 »
“What is the reason that Einstein gives for the speed of light being constant?”

Everything is with respect to the state of the aether in which it exists, including the rate at which the atomic clocks tick which are used to determine the speed of light. This is why the speed of light is always determined to be 'c'.
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #107 on: 14/05/2016 20:48:36 »
Here, we can agree since it looks like this is what's already happening ... that a variety of extensions to the term "aether" is being used to describe differing theories.

Excellent, at least we are beginning to understand each other.

You will realise that some discussions are not worth pursuing. An extreme example is the poster who claims to understand what gravity really is, it is air pressure holding us down! I usually try a few posts to point them in the right direction, but mostly they are stubbornly attached to their idea, and do not have the capacity to understand the concepts - discussion is futile.  In these cases I withdraw, the poster makes a last post and assumes because there is no challenge that they have won the argument. That doesn't worry me, if I am confident of my information I don't have to prove anything to anyone.

Yes, I have also seen all sorts of these odd theories.  Most of the time it is easy to rule them out with some simple observations, so then I just move on.  But even if a few things are way off in someone's theory, there may be nuggets of truth in there somewhere and maybe those can be dragged along to a better theory.  So yes, I can see how it would be tough to fish through all of that.

One guess for there being all of these crazy theories is simply because there is something there which we don't fully understand (the aether) and so people's imaginations run wild.  For example, we can't see beyond the edge of our observable universe until we get a better telescope, so what's out there is anyone's guess.  It could just be more of the same similar to what we see now, or it could be a couple of aliens on a couch munching on some cheesy puffs having a fun time watching us trying to wriggle out of this universe.

In other discussions it is possible to see that although there is disagreement it is possible the person on the other side is capable of understanding the concepts and common understanding may be possible. In these cases it is worth continuing even if eventually we agree to differ. I am glad we continued.

Thanks, same here.

Yes, I agree with your use of the umbrella terms liquid and metal, but within those groups we must be clear to separate the elements that are different. So the aether for sound can be any liquid or gas, but the speed of sound in a particular aether will depend on the properties of that aether. Also other properties will depend on the aether, for example sound in air is non-dispersive, but is dispersive in CO2. Also sound waves will propagate inside the space station, but water waves will not (assuming you could get an ocean up there!). So we must not assume that the behaviour of waves in one aether will mirror that in another aether.
Also, there is a tendency to talk about the vacuum aether, but the vacuum supports a range of fields so there could be a range of different aethers in the vacuum.

Exactly.  So its possible that there is a whole range of different types of mediums, each supporting a variety of waves.  Some for EM fields, some for gravity, some for electrons, etc.  Or, it could be one medium that is somehow able to support all of those effects at the same time.   I have not seen a coherent explanation to explain it all, but there are some explanations that help sort some of it out.

The only other issue is that we have to be clear about the properties of different aether types so we do not get confused. I come back to the luminiferous aether which SJ described as a relativistic aether and pointed me to the quantum vacuum. But the luminiferous aether was not relativistic, so I'm confused by the reference.
So we don't bounce this one back and forth, I will put it all down together.
Let's assume that in the vacuum there is a relativistic aether supporting electromagnetic radiation. Let's call it the EMR Vacuum aether.
At the time of Michelson & Morley it was assumed that light propagated in the same way as sound in air and waves in water. In other words light would propagate at a fixed speed in the luminiferous aether, but if an observer measures the speed of those light waves then if the aether moves relative to the observer, or if the observer moves through the aether then the measured speed of light would differ. That is a nonrelativistic aether and this behaviour is seen in sound and water waves. In a relativistic aether (EMR Vacuum aether) the speed of light will not vary either by motion of the aether or the observer. Below is a quote from Wiki on Maxwell's biography:

"Maxwell believed that the propagation of light required a medium for the waves, dubbed the luminiferous aether. Over time, the existence of such a medium, permeating all space and yet apparently undetectable by mechanical means, proved impossible to reconcile with experiments such as the Michelson–Morley experiment. Moreover, it seemed to require an absolute frame of reference in which the equations were valid, with the distasteful result that the equations changed form for a moving observer."

So when SJ describes the luminiferous aether as relativistic I am confused. If they had expected the luminiferous aether to be relativistic the M&M experiment would have hailed as a blinding success, parties for weeks etc. What am I missing?


Well, as you can probably guess its about putting the cart before the horse.

I think the important thing to keep in mind is the difference between simply reading what someone has written about a property of nature (thus its known and understood), versus trying to comprehend a property of nature that no one understands, that is, a property that has not been discovered or written about anywhere.

On the one hand you can just read the description of what someone did, and their observations, insights, equations, etc.  On the other hand you are trying to decipher what nature is doing, it may be something no one has every noticed before, and nature is not going to sit up and tell you.  Keeping this in mind, we can then read which experiments happened in which order, and a better picture can emerge....

The MM experiment happened in 1887, but Maxwell wrote his EM papers much earlier in and around 1865, which weren't really identified as significant until 20 years after.   So around 1885, people started running around trying to find a mechanical type of "rest frame" ether.  And so we get the MM experiment happening in 1887, which of course, was performed at a time when there was no notion whatsoever of any thing about "relativity".  It wasn't until after the results of the MM experiments that people started trying to explain it, and then you get some ideas swirling around about length contraction, time dialation, etc, to help explain the odd results of the MM experiment.

Thus, at the time of the MM experiment, no one had the idea of a "relativistic" ether since that idea didn't exist yet. At that moment in time, one could say the luminiferous aether had theories that described its mechanical properties, but these theorized properties were not well understood at the time  with the information that people had at that point in time.   It simply means it was poorly understood, too much information was missing (at that time no one had any ideas about the subatomic world, the quantum, lasers, etc...,  although they had some guesses, like knowing that gasses were made of tiny particles bouncing around).  But as time passes, technology gets better, we can get a more accurate understanding of it properties. Like finding that its "relativistic". It just becomes an improvement on the understanding of its properties.... Yet, its still the luminiferous aether.

At one time it was thought the sun was a bright chariot in the sky, then maybe we thought it was just made of fire, time passes and we get a more precise understanding of its components, like that its made of hot plasma... Yet we still know it as the "sun". The understanding of its properties have evolved, improved.  But why, since we now know that the sun is not a burning chariot riding around in the sky, why don't we have a bunch of people running yelling that its old fashioned buffoonery to say there is a "sun", and instead we should be saying its a G-type main-sequence star of hot plasma.  And that anyone that says there is a "sun" in the sky is talking pseudoscience.

If the luminiferous aether is now understood to be "relativistic", well then great. Maybe in a few years well find its made of electrons and positrons, well then super duper... Or we may find its made of Higgs particles. Great again!  Then in the future we may say that the "luminiferous aether" is a superfluid with relativistic properties and it has components of electrons, positrons or Higgs particles.... and so on....  We are just adding to our understanding of it.

"Luminiferous" just means its the light carrying medium, it may be that they find a separate medium for gravity, and call that the "gravitational" aether, or it may be the same medium, we can call it "grav-electic aether" or whatever.  We just don't know, and that's ok.  The world will not end tomorrow if we don't completely understand the largest structure in the universe.
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #108 on: 14/05/2016 20:52:19 »
There is no taboo that I'm aware of. The problem in many cases is that physicists have been pummeled with E-mail from every Tom, Dick and Harry who, while having no training in physics or relativity,  thinks that he's proved that the aether exists, such as McQueen, but who say that the aether is undetectable. The problem with that kind argument is that its incorrect. In physics for a concept to be a valid one then it has to be falsifiable. An undetectable aether is not falsifiable. These poor physicists keep getting e-mail all day long and have to sort out the garbage from the sane stuff.

The Bible does say something about Pharisees and whited sepulchers, where would be the joy in physics, if one did not have the freedom to think ?

I'd go back to climbing mountains and mass producing portraits of sad clowns on black velvet.  :P
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #109 on: 14/05/2016 20:57:59 »
I doubt that anyone can say Einstein finds the idea of an ether attractive because he is having a hard time grasping the theory of relativity.

Einstein was most correct as a teenager.

'Alert Einstein's 'First Paper''
... papers/Einstein%20First%20Paper.pdf

I have enjoyed reading Einstein's earlier papers.  One can see hints of his thoughts evolving and progressing.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #110 on: 14/05/2016 21:31:35 »
I have enjoyed reading Einstein's earlier papers.  One can see hints of his thoughts evolving and progressing.

If Einstein had maintained his correct notion that the aether has mass and its state is determined by its connections with the matter we never would have needed the notion of dark matter.

The "missing mass" is the mass of the aether connected to and neighboring the matter which is displaced by the matter.

The Milky Way's halo is lopsided due to the matter in the Milky Way moving through and displacing the aether, analogous to a submarine moving through and displacing the water.

What is referred to geometrically as curved spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the aether.

The aether displaced by the Earth pushing back and exerting pressure toward the Earth is gravity.

The state of displacement of the aether is gravity.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #111 on: 15/05/2016 00:44:54 »
You can always quote an authority when his opinion is in the majority. That's known as the Argument from Authority.


NB that is also invalid if it isn't confirmed by experiment. In scientific writing you can generally assume that the reader is familiar with "authority", especially widely-published experimental data like the values of fundamental constants, and the usual reason for quoting it is to challenge it. 
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #112 on: 15/05/2016 00:56:07 »
I doubt that anyone can say Einstein finds the idea of an ether attractive because he is having a hard time grasping the theory of relativity.

Another, but more subtle, argument from authority.

In fact the aether turns up in respectable electromagnetics textbooks until the 1950s because it's an easy concept for teaching military technicians, along with the Bohr atom and a few other tricks needed to bring conscripts up to speed for modern warfare. But in this more relaxed arena I think we would do better to avoid the absurdities inherent in both models.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #113 on: 15/05/2016 01:05:14 »
In fact the aether turns up in respectable electromagnetics textbooks until the 1950s because it's an easy concept for teaching military technicians, along with the Bohr atom and a few other tricks needed to bring conscripts up to speed for modern warfare. But in this more relaxed arena I think we would do better to avoid the absurdities inherent in both models.

There is evidence of the aether every time a double slit experiment is performed, it's what waves.

Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single in a double slit experiment?
A. The particle always travels through a single slit, it is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #114 on: 15/05/2016 01:05:27 »
Or, you could understand Robert Laughlin is correct and a relativistic ether is confirmed every day by experiment.


Now arcmetal has calculated the aether as having

Quote
modulus of: 1e113, and density of: 1.11e96

neither of which is confirmed or even remotely approximated by experiment.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #115 on: 15/05/2016 01:08:37 »

Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single in a double slit experiment?
A. The particle always travels through a single slit, it is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.

Repeating nonsense does not turn it into sense. Why not learn some physics instead of wasting your life peddling outdated nonsense? Or join a church and get paid for it!
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #116 on: 15/05/2016 02:01:33 »
Repeating nonsense does not turn it into sense. Why not learn some physics instead of wasting your life peddling outdated nonsense? Or join a church and get paid for it!

Wave-particle duality is a moving particle and it's associated wave in the aether whether you choose to understand it, or not.
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #117 on: 15/05/2016 02:08:38 »
Now arcmetal has calculated the aether as having

Quote
modulus of: 1e113, and density of: 1.11e96

neither of which is confirmed or even remotely approximated by experiment.

Sorry to nitpick, but the modulus of: 1e113, and density of: 1.11e96 is from some article quoted before by stacyjones, and I didn't read far enough to see how they got those values.

The values I had calculated were a modulus of 450  (kg / m s2)  --- (Pascals), from Kelvin's density of: 5e-15 kg/m3...
 

Offline McQueen

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #118 on: 17/05/2016 11:26:56 »
One thing that seems certain is that the aether does have a physical existence !
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #119 on: 17/05/2016 13:05:40 »
The speed of light is the same in all references. On the other hand, the wavelength and frequency of light can change between references; red and blue shift.

Since the speed of a wave is dependent on the density of the medium, while the speed of light does not change with changes in space-time, then the aether needs to be something different from space-time. If the medium was connected to space-time, the speed of light would change with reference, since the density of the aether would change as time and distance changes the density of the medium. This is not observed.

For light to always propagate at the same speed, through an aether, that aether would need to be something that is not impacted by relativity, since the speed within the medium always holds constant regardless of relative reference. The one thing that comes to mind is the aether has a speed of light reference; same in all references. Photons are not really moving in the aether, since the aether is also at the speed of light.




 

Offline McQueen

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #120 on: 17/05/2016 13:29:50 »
Since the speed of a wave is dependent on the density of the medium, while the speed of light does not change with changes in space-time, then the aether needs to be something different from space-time. If the medium was connected to space-time, the speed of light would change with reference, since the density of the aether would change as time and distance changes the density of the medium. This is not observed.
You have to give up all preconceived notions of what you might think the aether is and evaluate the type of aether that seems to be indicated through evidence and circumstance.  Don’t be in any doubt about this, there is plenty and I do mean a whole lot of evidence that an aether does exist. Why do you have to persist in thinking of the aether along the lines of the luminiferous aether with its impossible qualities. Give up that notion of the aether and consider what newer later evidence indicates.  The thread that has been highlighted shows how far from the luminiferous aether things have progressed.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #121 on: 17/05/2016 17:43:22 »
The speed of light is the same in all references. On the other hand, the wavelength and frequency of light can change between references; red and blue shift.

Since the speed of a wave is dependent on the density of the medium, while the speed of light does not change with changes in space-time, then the aether needs to be something different from space-time. If the medium was connected to space-time, the speed of light would change with reference, since the density of the aether would change as time and distance changes the density of the medium. This is not observed.

For light to always propagate at the same speed, through an aether, that aether would need to be something that is not impacted by relativity, since the speed within the medium always holds constant regardless of relative reference. The one thing that comes to mind is the aether has a speed of light reference; same in all references. Photons are not really moving in the aether, since the aether is also at the speed of light.

Everything is with respect to the state of the aether in which it exists, including the rate at which the atomic clocks tick which are used to determine the speed of light.

A "relativistic aether" is one in which everything is relative to it. That is why the speed of light is always determined to be 'c'.
 

Offline arcmetal

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #122 on: 18/05/2016 05:53:50 »
I doubt that anyone can say Einstein finds the idea of an ether attractive because he is having a hard time grasping the theory of relativity.

Another, but more subtle, argument from authority.

In fact the aether turns up in respectable electromagnetics textbooks until the 1950s because it's an easy concept for teaching military technicians, along with the Bohr atom and a few other tricks needed to bring conscripts up to speed for modern warfare. But in this more relaxed arena I think we would do better to avoid the absurdities inherent in both models.

Of course, can agree with what I have highlighted.  My problem is with the prevailing common notion that has thrown the baby out with the bath water by saying "there is no aether", and so don't look for it. ... Nothing to see here folks just move along.... Yet, all these waves here waving without a medium.

Its interesting that now they are starting to find more hints of its existence, but this has only happened because our technology has gotten better.... With a new telescope one can find new stars.
 

Offline stacyjones

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #123 on: 18/05/2016 06:29:22 »
Of course, can agree with what I have highlighted.  My problem is with the prevailing common notion that has thrown the baby out with the bath water by saying "there is no aether", and so don't look for it. ... Nothing to see here folks just move along.... Yet, all these waves here waving without a medium.

Physicists want to relate general relativity and quantum mechanics. In order to do so they would have to allow themselves to understand Einstein's gravitational wave and de Broglie's wave-particle duality wave are both waves in the relativistic aether. Therefore, physicists are unable to relate general relativity and quantum mechanics.

It is more important for them to deny the existence of the aether than it is to correctly understand what occurs physically in nature.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #124 on: 21/05/2016 00:56:06 »
Thus, at the time of the MM experiment, no one had the idea of a "relativistic" ether since that idea didn't exist yet.
Sorry, missed this.
Yes, we are agreed then. If an aether exists it will have to have relativistic properties eg vacuum and not the pre M&M idea of a non-relativistic medium such as air or water.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: What makes the idea of an aether so attractive?
« Reply #124 on: 21/05/2016 00:56:06 »

 

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