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Thread: Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether?

  1. #1 Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether? 
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    Couldn't the results of the Michelson and Morley Interferrometer experiment equally be explained by saying that objects with mass physically grow longer in the direction of motion, rather than saying that all distances physically grow shorter?

    If the lens in your eye physically expands in the direction of motion, changing its shape, then when you look left or right, the objects would seem closer together, giving the impression that distances between them along the axis of motion have diminished. If you use a measuring stick, and it's always getting longer when you turn it lengthwise, then naturally the distances it measures will appear to be shorter.

    And if this extends to all observable phenomena..... then I don't see why space can't still be a static medium.


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  3. #2 Re: Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Couldn't the results of the Michelson and Morley Interferrometer experiment equally be explained by saying that objects with mass physically grow longer in the direction of motion, rather than saying that all distances physically grow shorter?

    If the lens in your eye physically expands in the direction of motion, changing its shape, then when you look left or right, the objects would seem closer together, giving the impression that distances between them along the axis of motion have diminished. If you use a measuring stick, and it's always getting longer when you turn it lengthwise, then naturally the distances it measures will appear to be shorter.

    And if this extends to all observable phenomena..... then I don't see why space can't still be a static medium.
    Michelson Morely does NOT rule an aether, but it does make an aether superfluous.

    You can postulate a preferred reference frame and call it the aether frame if you wish. Any inertial reference frame will do. Once you have that preferred reference frame you can then, by fiat, require that the kinematics of any other inertial reference frame be related to it by the Lorentz transformation. Having done that you will have a "theory" that, since it relies on the Lorentz group of transformations, is experimentally indistinguishable from special relativity. This is well-known and the theory is called the Lorentz Ether Theory (LET). It is not used, because there is no point in using it and it obscures the simple fundamental principles on which special relativity is based. And special relativity has withstood all experimental challenges to date.

    In any case objects do NOT grow longer in the direction of motion. In fact the longest length accorded an object is found in its frame of rest.

    Bottom line -- special relativity works and is supported by a mountain of experimental evidence. There is no need to replace it, certainly not with something that is either wrong or that is equivalent but more complicated on the surface.


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  4. #3 Re: Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    In any case objects do NOT grow longer in the direction of motion. In fact the longest length accorded an object is found in its frame of rest.
    Yeah. That's right. I got it backwards. It was the "upstream/down stream" pathway that was predicted to take longer, and didn't. So, if there is any physical change in dimensions to compensate then it would have to be a shortening, not a lengthening.



    Bottom line -- special relativity works and is supported by a mountain of experimental evidence. There is no need to replace it, certainly not with something that is either wrong or that is equivalent but more complicated on the surface.
    Knowing whether an Aether is possible or not is useful to me because I like to understand things in terms of what they are not instead of what they are. I like deductive logic.
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  5. #4 Re: Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    In any case objects do NOT grow longer in the direction of motion. In fact the longest length accorded an object is found in its frame of rest.
    Yeah. That's right. I got it backwards. It was the "upstream/down stream" pathway that was predicted to take longer, and didn't. So, if there is any physical change in dimensions to compensate then it would have to be a shortening, not a lengthening.



    Bottom line -- special relativity works and is supported by a mountain of experimental evidence. There is no need to replace it, certainly not with something that is either wrong or that is equivalent but more complicated on the surface.
    Knowing whether an Aether is possible or not is useful to me because I like to understand things in terms of what they are not instead of what they are. I like deductive logic.
    Ignore Waveman. All he's interested in is promoting his own skewed view of how things work.

    Anyway, as DrRocket said, Aether might exist, but it'd be in the same way that there might be an invisible, intangible leprechaun in the room with you. It basically doesn't do anything, so there's no reason to assume it exists.

    Another way of saying that is that any observable properties it might have had have been ruled out. (Unlike space-time, which matches observation very well.)
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  6. #5 Re: Does Michelson & Morley really rule out an Aether? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Waveman28
    You could say the same thing about space time. There is no reason to assume it exists either. In reality though, there is a reason to postulate an Ether, because it can explain phenomena in a consistent and logical way, something a lot of people are ignorant of.
    As usual you have it backwards.

    There is no reason to postulate an Ether precisely because there is a logical and consistent formulation of physics that requires no Ether -- that formulation is called special relativity and it is supported by a veritable mountain of experimental evidence in addition to an elegant mathematical model.
    That is true, unless someday down the road physics actually wants to try and unify Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. Then I think an Aether might come in very handy. It makes it easier to visualize matter as a wave phenomenon if you're allowed to actually place it in a medium.
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  7. #6 well 
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    the partical gose back and forth in time , this way he know in whith speed to hit , it stabiliz on the reflctin speed .and in sum it afecet the totule advencin time of the partical itself . thanks
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  8. #7 Re: well 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water Nosfim
    the partical gose back and forth in time , this way he know in whith speed to hit , it stabiliz on the reflctin speed .and in sum it afecet the totule advencin time of the partical itself . thanks
    Wow. Completely wrong and almost completely unreadable.


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Waveman28
    You could say the same thing about space time. There is no reason to assume it exists either. In reality though, there is a reason to postulate an Ether, because it can explain phenomena in a consistent and logical way, something a lot of people are ignorant of.
    As usual you have it backwards.

    There is no reason to postulate an Ether precisely because there is a logical and consistent formulation of physics that requires no Ether -- that formulation is called special relativity and it is supported by a veritable mountain of experimental evidence in addition to an elegant mathematical model.
    That is true, unless someday down the road physics actually wants to try and unify Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. Then I think an Aether might come in very handy. It makes it easier to visualize matter as a wave phenomenon if you're allowed to actually place it in a medium.
    The problem is, quantum waves aren't the same thing as regular macroscopic waves. They just have enough wave-like properties that some physicist called them waves. It's really lead a lot of laypeople down the wrong train of thought. Quantum waves don't need a medium, for one thing. (They don't even really wave in the usually sense either.)
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  9. #8 Re: well 
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    [quote="MagiMaster"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Nosfim
    the partical gose back and forth in time , this way he know in whith speed to hit , it stabiliz on the reflctin speed .and in sum it afecet the totule advencin time of the partical itself . thanks
    Wow. Completely wrong and almost completely unreadable.

    sorry for my unreadabel english , but but the partical by moving forth and back in time do spacetime feild , space made from nothing
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  10. #9 Re: well 
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster

    The problem is, quantum waves aren't the same thing as regular macroscopic waves. They just have enough wave-like properties that some physicist called them waves. It's really lead a lot of laypeople down the wrong train of thought. Quantum waves don't need a medium, for one thing. (They don't even really wave in the usually sense either.)
    Well, they don't need a medium so long as we postulate that there is no background medium carrying them. The trouble is that's all it is: it's just a postulate. If there were a background medium then observing that an EM wave can move through otherwise-empty space would not be proof that it doesn't need a medium. Indeed, if a background medium does exist, then it is probably quite necessary.

    Certainly they'd still be very different from a macroscopic mechanical wave like sound. It is still quantized, and still random, which still makes its behavior very odd when compared with a classical wave.
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  11. #10 Re: well 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster

    The problem is, quantum waves aren't the same thing as regular macroscopic waves. They just have enough wave-like properties that some physicist called them waves. It's really lead a lot of laypeople down the wrong train of thought. Quantum waves don't need a medium, for one thing. (They don't even really wave in the usually sense either.)
    Well, they don't need a medium so long as we postulate that there is no background medium carrying them. The trouble is that's all it is: it's just a postulate. If there were a background medium then observing that an EM wave can move through otherwise-empty space would not be proof that it doesn't need a medium. Indeed, if a background medium does exist, then it is probably quite necessary.

    Certainly they'd still be very different from a macroscopic mechanical wave like sound. It is still quantized, and still random, which still makes its behavior very odd when compared with a classical wave.
    You do realize, do you not, that this makes no sense whatever ?

    If you think that you are going to be, in your words, "a proper physicist" then you have a LONG way to go.

    What is really scary is that you may actually think that you are making sense.
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  12. #11 Re: well 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster

    The problem is, quantum waves aren't the same thing as regular macroscopic waves. They just have enough wave-like properties that some physicist called them waves. It's really lead a lot of laypeople down the wrong train of thought. Quantum waves don't need a medium, for one thing. (They don't even really wave in the usually sense either.)
    Well, they don't need a medium so long as we postulate that there is no background medium carrying them. The trouble is that's all it is: it's just a postulate. If there were a background medium then observing that an EM wave can move through otherwise-empty space would not be proof that it doesn't need a medium. Indeed, if a background medium does exist, then it is probably quite necessary.

    Certainly they'd still be very different from a macroscopic mechanical wave like sound. It is still quantized, and still random, which still makes its behavior very odd when compared with a classical wave.
    The problem here is pretty simple. Everything works without a medium and everything works the same way with a medium, so why bother assuming a medium exists? It just adds extra stuff without improving anything.
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  13. #12  
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    http://www.tu-harburg.de/rzt/rzt/it/Ether.html

    More careful reflection teaches us, however, that the special theory of relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume the existence of an ether,; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it.

    But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.

    Think of waves on the surface of water. Here we can describe two entirely different things. Either we may observe how the undulatory surface forming the boundary between water and air alters in the course of time; or else--with the help of small floats, for instance--we can observe how the position of the separate particles of water alters in the course of time. If the existence of such floats for tracking the motion of the particles of a fluid were a fundamental impossibility in physics--if, in fact, nothing else whatever were observable than the shape of the space occupied by the water as it varies in time, we should have no ground for the assumption that water consists of movable particles. But all the same we could characterise it as a medium.
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  14. #13  
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    the ether if it existed would be far from a simple elastic.
    It would have to have some pretty unlikely and pretty miraculous properties.

    Consider that carefully before you decide that there must be an ether.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by granpa
    the ether if it existed would be far from a simple elastic.
    It would have to have some pretty unlikely and pretty miraculous properties.

    Consider that carefully before you decide that there must be an ether.
    A point that is only reeinforced by what has been learned about quantum field theories and the nature of the vacuum since Einstein gave that talk in 1920.
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  16. #15 Re: well 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster

    The problem is, quantum waves aren't the same thing as regular macroscopic waves. They just have enough wave-like properties that some physicist called them waves. It's really lead a lot of laypeople down the wrong train of thought. Quantum waves don't need a medium, for one thing. (They don't even really wave in the usually sense either.)
    Well, they don't need a medium so long as we postulate that there is no background medium carrying them. The trouble is that's all it is: it's just a postulate. If there were a background medium then observing that an EM wave can move through otherwise-empty space would not be proof that it doesn't need a medium. Indeed, if a background medium does exist, then it is probably quite necessary.

    Certainly they'd still be very different from a macroscopic mechanical wave like sound. It is still quantized, and still random, which still makes its behavior very odd when compared with a classical wave.
    You do realize, do you not, that this makes no sense whatever ?

    If you think that you are going to be, in your words, "a proper physicist" then you have a LONG way to go.

    What is really scary is that you may actually think that you are making sense.
    Ok, what I am saying is, the following logic doesn't work:

    1)- The vacuum of space contains no medium.

    2)- EM waves are observed to move through the vacuum of space

    3)- Therefore: EM waves don't need a medium

    4)- Therefore: Space doesn't need to contain a medium, so statement #1 should be assumed to be correct.


    It's called "circular reasoning". Science is proving an earlier assumption using conclusions drawn later on from that assumption...... which is why I generously chose to refer to that assumption as a "postulate". If we falsify that postulate, we get a different result:

    1)- The vacuum of space contains a medium

    2)- EM waves are observed to move through the vacuum of space

    3)- No conclusion can be drawn from this about whether EM waves need a medium or not, because when they move through the vacuum of space they are still in a medium.

    Since both the affirmative, and negative versions of the same postulate are equally consistent with experimentation, nothing can be said to have been "proven" about an EM wave's ability (or lack of ability) to travel without a medium.

    As far as I'm concerned, if hypotheses arising from the theory that there is an Aether are equally likely to conform to the outcomes of future experiments as hypotheses arising from the theory that there is no Aether, then both theories represent valid ways to pursue knowledge.
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  17. #16  
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    The biggest difference in the logic here is Occam's Razor. There is no logical need for a medium, as it requires additional assumptions to be made about space that we have no observation to support since both medium and no medium are equally supported, the razor will favor no medium, because a medium requires extra information that we simply have no reason to believe.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  18. #17  
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    If the Aether exists, I'm not convinced that it actually has a definable speed, or that other objects have definite speeds compared to it, but we know that light traveling through this Aether is always observed to move at C from every reference frame, and that gives us a standard basis for comparison between them. Light does this on its own even without an Aether, but I think light + Aether might even do it better.

    We get to define a static reference frame "x" where X's speed is always unknown to us, but we can still see how other objects relate to it, and use that information to compare them with each other.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If the Aether exists, I'm not convinced that it actually has a definable speed, or that other objects have definite speeds compared to it, but we know that light traveling through this Aether is always observed to move at C from every reference frame, and that gives us a standard basis for comparison between them. Light does this on its own even without an Aether, but I think light + Aether might even do it better.

    We get to define a static reference frame "x" where X's speed is always unknown to us, but we can still see how other objects relate to it, and use that information to compare them with each other.
    That is exactly the situation with the Lorentz Ether Theory(LET). The LET is neither used nor widely known because it does nothing that special relativity does not do, and obscures the simple principles that underlies SR. I"n short, your thoughts regarding light + Aether are contrary to the facts.
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  20. #19  
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    A number of posts have been split off and moved to "New Hypotheses and Ideas" as they deal with a personal theory of an individual poster. [/b]
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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