# Questions on the aether ?

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#### McQueen

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##### Questions on the aether ?
« on: 19/07/2015 06:18:40 »
For some weird reason, it might be psychological for all I know, any mention of an all pervading Aether seems to raise hackles. This is not solely because the Michelson Morley experiment claimed to have conclusively proven that the aether did not exist: here is an excerpt of the Michelson Morley Experiment:

Michelson proceeded to invent a new instrument with accuracy far exceeding that which had been attained to that date, and that instrument is now universally called the Michelson interferometer. In trying to measure the speed of the Earth through the supposed "ether", you could depend upon one component of that velocity being known - the velocity of the Earth around the sun, about 30 km/s. Using a wavelength of about 600 nm, there should be a shift of about 0.04 fringes as the spectrometer was rotated 360°. Though small, this was well within Michelson's capability. Michelson, and everyone else, was surprised that there was no shift. Michelson's terse description of the experiment: "The interpretation of these results is that there is no displacement of the interference bands. ... The result of the hypothesis of a stationary ether is thus shown to be incorrect." (A. A. Michelson, Am. J. Sci, 122, 120 (1881))

This experiment might work IF the aether were detectable in the ordinary sense BUT if the aether is a part of the mechanism by which light propagates, the aether would be absolutely undetectable and the experiment would fail.  But that is not really the point of this post. The real point is why does the concept of an all pervasive Aether raise hackles when the hundred or so different fields proposed by Quantum Mechanics do not This is really staggering, each of those fields such as the electric field and the magnetic field , are also all pervasive they extend throughout the Universe. Yet the concept of an aether, will raise snide remarks, raised eyebrows and general shows of snobbery, while the totally ridiculous concept of a hundred or more fields (they are constantly being added to) does not.
Why do scientists want such a complicated model ? Miraculously life itself (both flora and Fauna) on  earth is not all that complicated just 4 amino acids in different combinations define every life form seen on earth. Similarly light from even the most distance galaxy billions of light years distant from the earth, shows that the Universe is composed of just a hundred or so elements. Yet physicists it seems need invisible and undetectable ‘matter waves’ that move faster than light, it needs the concept of ‘spin’ when nothing that can be described is possibly spinning or rotating in anyway can be detected, it needs the 276 dimensions of the Schrodinger wave function, mathematical abstraction or otherwise, as an integral and cherished part. It tries to impose a theory of quanta on to a wave theory like Maxwell’s Theory on the propagation of light, something that is almost impossible to achieve. Yet the theory is everywhere sacred. The question is why ? Is it due to some kind of X-men fascination ? Any theories that propose a simpler more realistic solution are religiously and rudely shunned.
« Last Edit: 19/07/2015 06:20:49 by McQueen »
“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it’s wrong.”

#### PmbPhy

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #1 on: 19/07/2015 09:24:36 »
Quote from: McQueen
The real point is why does the concept of an all pervasive Aether raise hackles when the hundred or so different fields proposed by Quantum Mechanics do not
I wish people wouldn't use terms like "hackles" which force me to look them up in a dictionary.  Just because we're physicist and knowledgeable in the field of physics it doesn't mean that I have a wide vocabulary. I've never once heard or seen that term used and there was never an occasion before today to look it up. So what makes people think that the average Joe would know what something like "hackles" means?

As far as Quantum Mechanics (QM) goes, I never heard of anything like a hundred or so fields proposed by quantum mechanics. And if it does, then so what? There was never anything wrong with the existence of a field, such as an electromagnetic or gravitational field. And besides, the Aether was never considered to be a field. It was always considered to be a medium. So if by "field" you're referring to the kind of field that's associated with something like medium where one can specify the direction of flow of the medium, making it a vector field, or the temperature as a function of position and time, making it a scalar field, then there's no problem with that as far as quantum mechanics goes. The only problem with an Aether was that it was supposed to have an absolute frame of rest.

Quote from: McQueen
Yet the concept of an aether, will raise snide remarks, raised eyebrows and general shows of snobbery, while the totally ridiculous concept of a hundred or more fields (they are constantly being added to) does not.
Snobbery? I find that offensive. You're stereotyping when you say things like that. But anyway, there is a big difference in the nature of those things. No field known to man at this time can be said to have an absolute frame of rest.

Quote from: McQueen
Why do scientists want such a complicated model ?
What complicated model are you referring to? QM? If so then you're misusing the term model incorrectly, as so many people do. A model is not the same thing as a theory. The term "Standard Model" is not a model. It's merely a theory which uses "model" as part of its name. That was a mistake when they coined the term. An historical accident if you were to ask me. But QM is not more complicated than any other theory. And we don't choose how complicated a theory is. That's something physicists don't have control over. As to why we want it, we want to be able to describe and hopefully someday, explain, nature.

Quote from: McQueen
Miraculously life itself (both flora and Fauna) on  earth is not all that complicated just 4 amino acids in different combinations define every life form seen on earth.
That's a misconception. Just because there's only 4 different amino acids it doesn't mean that life is simple. On the contrary, life uses those 4 amino acids to construct extremely complicated "machines" (biological machines = organisms).

Quote from: McQueen
Similarly light from even the most distance galaxy billions of light years distant from the earth, shows that the Universe is composed of just a hundred or so elements. Yet physicists it seems need invisible and undetectable ‘matter waves’ that move faster than light,...
There is no such thing as a "matter wave" that moves faster than light. You're confusing phase velocity and group velocity. In any case no information can travel faster than the speed of light.

Quote from: McQueen
... it needs the concept of ‘spin’ when nothing that can be described is possibly spinning or rotating in anyway can be detected, ...
That's wrong too. You need a better understanding of spin so please read the following article:
What is spin? by Hans C. Ohanian, Am. J. Phys., 54 6, June 1986.
It's online at: http://people.westminstercollege.edu/faculty/ccline/courses/phys425/AJP_54(6)_p500.pdf

You'll then learn that
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... the rotational motion consists of a circulation of energy in wave fields, rather than a rotation of some kind of rigid body. The spin is intrinsic, or inherent, i.e., it is a fixed feather of the wave field that does not depend on environmental circumstances.
In any case its wrong to think that something in classical mechanics must necessarily translate into quantum mechanics. They are radically different paradigms.

Quote from: McQueen
It tries to impose a theory of quanta on to a wave theory like Maxwell’s Theory on the propagation of light, something that is almost impossible to achieve.
And yet they've done it already.

Quote from: McQueen
Yet the theory is everywhere sacred.
To whom? Nobody that I know. To all the physicists that I know its merely a physical theory and its dangerous to think of them as written in stone. Every single good physicist under the sun knows this to be the case.

Quote from: McQueen
The question is why ? Is it due to some kind of X-men fascination ? Any theories that propose a simpler more realistic solution are religiously and rudely shunned.
Nope. You're simply misinformed.

#### McQueen

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #2 on: 19/07/2015 10:18:08 »
I don’t know maybe it is just the general tone that is a bit depressing !

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you're misusing,  when you say things like that, That's a misconception,  You're confusing phase velocity
That's wrong too,  You need a better understanding,  In any case its wrong , Nope. You're simply misinformed.

A lot of husbands just wear their wives out with continuous criticism and this kind of phrasing reminds me of  something like that. Further although there is supposed to be a ‘New Theories’ sub-forum at this forum, I have found that the reason I can't post anything about my theory, is that it is my theory that is being discriminated against, any post that I make that mentions my theory by name is automatically met with the message  “- Error - you have used a blacklisted term”, so it seems even the New Theories sub-forum is not as tolerant as it would have us  believe. So no reference can be made to my theory in any post, how do I reference it ? But that is neither here nor there.
Let’s see if you are really so tolerant and, so open to  a fair argument.  I would like to have your explanation as to how, the oscillation of an electron, that is incredibly small, give rise to an electro-magnetic wave that is 5000 kms long ? I would also have liked to post here my theory of the photon and to hear your comments, but let the above question suffice for now.
« Last Edit: 19/07/2015 10:19:43 by McQueen »
“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it’s wrong.”

#### Bored chemist

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #3 on: 19/07/2015 17:42:49 »
"For some weird reason, it might be psychological for all I know, any mention of an all pervading Aether seems to raise hackles. "
Perhaps you should research the reason.
Here's a hint.
If you were to turn up on a science forum and discuss how sharp unicorn's horns were you wouldn't get a friendly reaction because it simply isn't science.

"The real point is why does the concept of an all pervasive Aether raise hackles when the hundred or so different fields proposed by Quantum Mechanics do not "
because there is some evidence for those other things, yet all the evidence regarding the ether indicates that it's not there.

"Miraculously life itself (both flora and Fauna) on  earth is not all that complicated just 4 amino acids in different combinations define every life form seen on earth."
is just plain wrong.

#### David Cooper

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #4 on: 19/07/2015 18:32:17 »
The problem with talking about aether goes back to the failure of the old ether theory to predict length contraction. The Michelson Morely experiment disproved that ether theory, so "The result of the hypothesis of a stationary ether is thus shown to be incorrect" is a correct statement in that context. However, once Lorentz had corrected the old theory (into a new version now known as Lorentz Ether Theory, or LET), the idea of aether was placed firmly back on the table, though the propaganda against the idea of aether had done so much damage to people's understanding of it that they are still failing to catch up to this day. LET remains a fully viable theory and it ought to be taught in addition to SR and GR so that we don't have to deal with the ongoing bombartment of attacks on it trying to ridicule it by talking of unicorns. SR and GR have much bigger problems, such as the complete failure to acknowledge the need to add a Newtonian time to the model to govern the unrolling of events through their "time dimension" so that events can actually mesh together correctly.

[By the way, nothing wrong with the word "hackles" on this side of the pond - common usage here.]

#### Bored chemist

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #5 on: 19/07/2015 19:16:20 »
On a practical note, what is the difference between something which can not (even, in principle) ever be detected and something that doesn't exist?

#### McQueen

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #6 on: 20/07/2015 00:40:41 »
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Bored Chemist : "The real point is why does the concept of an all pervasive Aether raise hackles when the hundred or so different fields proposed by Quantum Mechanics do not "
because there is some evidence for those other things, yet all the evidence regarding the ether indicates that it's not there.
By all the evidence presumably you are referring to the Michelson-Morley experiment, it would be nice if you could be a little more specific.  Also maybe a reminder that many great scientists, right from the time of Aristotle, to Newton to Descartes, James Clerk Maxwell, Einstein and Lorentz believed in the aether. These were not small or easily dismissed minds. Further like it or not Quantum Mechanics is archaic, it is  based on outdated and obsolete information (no Big Bang Theory when it was formulated, no photons!), yet it continues to hoard that outdated information like something out Hitchcock’s psycho.
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Bored Chemist :"Miraculously life itself (both flora and Fauna) on  earth is not all that complicated just 4 amino acids in different combinations define every life form seen on earth."
is just plain wrong.
You are the Chemist, I was just repeating a widely held belief. What’s the gen on this ?
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David Cooper: The problem with talking about aether goes back to the failure of the old ether theory to predict length contraction. The Michelson Morely experiment disproved that ether theory, so "The result of the hypothesis of a stationary ether is thus shown to be incorrect" is a correct statement in that context.
Two thousand five hundred years ago Aristotle was the first person to introduce the idea of an aether. His reasoning was that if there was a beautiful vase situated on a table at some distance from the observer,  there would have to be some medium by which the vase could be brought to the senses of the observer. Talking and making conversation are as natural to us as breathing, yet on the moon or in space it is not possible to talk because there is no medium (atmosphere) to carry sound waves.  EVERYONE who has been involved in physics, including Einstein and Lorentz believed that Action at a distance was impossible and that an aether was necessary. Later on they were convinced by the Michelson Morley experiment, that an aether did not exist and that in any case it was not necessary because the aether concept had  been replaced by fields.  But even if this concept of fields is examined it is not really very satisfactory in the sense that these fields are not thought to permeate the Universe or even the earth and planets as it was once postulated the aether did, instead electric fields originate in the electron. If one thinks about how few electrons there are (comparatively) in the Universe. It is difficult to imagine how light and electromagnetic radiation might propagate. Even taking into account Maxwell’s iron butterfly, steam engine type of description of the propagation of electromagnetic radiation. This is especially preposterous when one thinks that light detected from several billion light years away had its origin in an electron(s) which no matter how powerful could not have sustained the field for such massive distances. An aether, especially a virtual photon aether as the one I describe could have easily supported such a propagation of light.    But just compare Newton’s view of the aether as an odourless, tasteless, substance that was impossible to detect under any circumstances to the much more tangible aether predicted by science of the early twentieth century.  The argument against the aether was that it involved the preposterous mechanical properties required of a medium which supports a wave at $$3 \times 10^ 8$$ m/s. The velocity of any medium-dependent wave has the nature of the square root of an elastic property divided by an inertial or density property. To support a wave speed of the speed of light would require an incredibly high "stiffness" for space which has near zero density. A medium so tenuous that it produced no detectable drag on the planets which moved through it must yet have an incredibly high restoring force to bring it back to equilibrium once the planet passed. Have you read my version of the aether as a ‘virtual photon’ aether that had its origins at the time of the Big Bang and which permeates the entire Universe. (Adapted from the hyper-physics web-site)
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Bored Chemist:On a practical note, what is the difference between something which can not (even, in principle) ever be detected and something that doesn't exist?
I did not say that the aether could not be detected, I said that in fact it is just the opposite and that it manifests itself in the lines of force around a wire carrying a current and in the fields of force around a permanent magnet AND also in the fact that in the double slit experiment, atoms, and even bucky balls  leave an interference pattern when both slits are open.  If you think about this rationally you might, you just might conclude that it is not due to the ('matter') wave properties of these particles but to something else.
« Last Edit: 20/07/2015 01:00:46 by McQueen »
“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it’s wrong.”

#### sciconoclast

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #7 on: 20/07/2015 13:44:40 »
"we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities, in this sense, therefore, there exist an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable" Albert Einstein.       Of course, he is not talking about a mechanical ether.

#### David Cooper

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #8 on: 20/07/2015 17:30:28 »
On a practical note, what is the difference between something which can not (even, in principle) ever be detected and something that doesn't exist?

Something that has to exist in order to provide a complete mechanism is something which must exist if that mechanism is the correct one. Something that must exist is clearly very different from something that doesn't exist. The question then is whether the mechanism that depends on an aether is potentially the correct one, and if it is potentially correct, then there may well be an aether and it is a serious mistake to rule it out. Einstein's SR and GR also depend on an aether though, and it's a much more complex one which supports a weird "time dimension" that doesn't completely account for time. In GR, there not only has to be an aether of some time to enble gravity to function without being a force, but it also has to keep a record of how deep a point is within a gravity well as there is no other way for time to be slowed at the bottom of that well where all the gravity has cancelled out. But hey, why look for something to support a mechanism for anything of this kind when you can just leave a hole in a theory and let it function by magic instead.
« Last Edit: 20/07/2015 17:32:37 by David Cooper »

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #9 on: 20/07/2015 20:45:25 »
Gravity attracts. If it attracts the fleeting virtual particles of the vacuum then these particles would tend to flow towards the source of the gravitational field. Considered as a stand-in for an aether this would be undetectable as each particle is fleeting and would move through the field following any rotational vortex. In this way it could be considered static in the frame of reference of an observer situated on the surface of mass that is the source of the field. As it follows the path of gravitational attraction it would be indistinguishable from gravity itself.

#### Bored chemist

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #10 on: 21/07/2015 20:22:39 »

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Bored Chemist :"Miraculously life itself (both flora and Fauna) on  earth is not all that complicated just 4 amino acids in different combinations define every life form seen on earth."
is just plain wrong.
You are the Chemist, I was just repeating a widely held belief. What’s the gen on this ?
Who holds that belief?
If you mean the 4 bases in DNA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA
then you need to be a bit more careful but, even then, there are other odds and ends involved.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

Re my other comment about evidence.
What experiment would you like me to cite that doesn't detect the luminiferous ether?
Every day in countless clinical labs in the world, someone measures the sugar concentration in blood.
And the luminiferous ether doesn't mess up teh results.
Of course, there's no reason why it would.
But the point is that no experiment- even in principle- will show an effect of the ether.

So, as i said- what's the difference between something that never does anything, and something that doesn't exist?

#### David Cooper

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #11 on: 21/07/2015 21:06:25 »
If you remove the aether, your experiments might just stop working, so we're not talking about something that never does anything.

#### scotty stull

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #12 on: 21/07/2015 21:16:23 »
Nobody asked me what i think of Aether, does any want to know what i think ?

#### PmbPhy

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #13 on: 21/07/2015 22:33:34 »
Nobody asked me what i think of Aether, does any want to know what i think ?
Not I. Nothing personal but I myself just don't care about Aether. It's a dead and useless concept that very very few people just want to hang onto for no good reason.

#### McQueen

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #14 on: 22/07/2015 04:18:16 »
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Bored Chemist:Re my other comment about evidence.
What experiment would you like me to cite that doesn't detect the luminiferous ether?
\

It depends on what type of aether you are trying to detect, or rather on what construction you place on the term aether, and on whether that is what you are trying to detect?
“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it’s wrong.”

#### McQueen

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #15 on: 22/07/2015 04:23:22 »
Quote
Not I. Nothing personal but I myself just don't care about Aether. It's a dead and useless concept that very very few people just want to hang onto for no good reason.

You never know, it might turn out to be like a lot of resurrected ideas. Both Huygen and Newton were born in the same age, both had different theories on the propagation of light, Newton, believed that light traveled in straight lines, Huygen's believed that light traveled as a wave. Quantum Mechanics has adopted Huygen's theory and left Newton out in the cold. Yet it is possible that Huygen's theory and by association Quantum Mechanics and much of what it stands for, might  be wrong and that Newton might have been right after all.
“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it’s wrong.”

#### David Cooper

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##### Re: Questions on the aether ?
« Reply #16 on: 22/07/2015 17:38:11 »
If you interpret aether as being a fabric of space, it has a very clear role. Without such a fabric, how are distances and positions controlled? Does every particle store have its position in space and time stored somewhere as coordinates while a computer outside of the universe crunches these numbers to work out what's going to interact with what? That is what you're going to need if you don't have a space fabric. Spacetime is simply a complex aether.