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Replies: 2   Last Post: Nov 2, 2013 9:15 AM

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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 6,212
Registered: 12/13/04
Posted: Nov 2, 2013 9:15 AM
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Scientists and journalists know that the speed of light is variable (c'=c is false) but maintain strict omerta in fear of persecution. Yet sometimes they carelessly let the cat out of the bag:
QUESTION: Setting aside any other debates about relativity theory for the moment, why would the speed of light be absolute? No other speeds are absolute, that is, all other speeds do indeed change in relation to the speed of the observer, so it's always seemed a rather strange notion to me.
LEE SMOLIN: Special relativity works extremely well and the postulate of the invariance or universality of the speed of light is extremely well-tested. It might be wrong in the end but it is an extremely good approximation to reality.
QUESTION: So let me pick a bit more on Einstein and ask you this: You write (p. 56) that Einstein showed that simultaneity is relative. But the conclusion of the relativity of simultaneity flows necessarily from Einstein's postulates (that the speed of light is absolute and that the laws of nature are relative). So he didn't really show that simultaneity was relative - he assumed it. What do I have wrong here?
LEE SMOLIN: The relativity of simultaneity is a consequence of the two postulates that Einstein proposed and so it is deduced from the postulates. The postulates and their consequences are then checked experimentally and, so far, they hold remarkably well.
Lee Smolin, The Trouble With Physics, p. 226: "Einstein's special theory of relativity is based on two postulates: One is the relativity of motion, and the second is the constancy and universality of the speed of light. Could the first postulate be true and the other false? If that was not possible, Einstein would not have had to make two postulates. But I don't think many people realized until recently that you could have a consistent theory in which you changed only the second postulate."
Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects. Quantum gravity seemed to lack a dam - its effects wanted to spill out all over the place; and the underlying reason was none other than special relativity."
Frank Wilczek: "Einstein's special theory of relativity calls for radical renovation of common-sense ideas about time. Different observers, moving at constant velocity relative to one another, require different notions of time, since their clocks run differently. Yet each such observer can use his "time" to describe what he sees, and every description will give valid results, using the same laws of physics. In short: According to special relativity, there are many quite different but equally valid ways of assigning times to events. Einstein himself understood the importance of breaking free from the idea that there is an objective, universal "now." Yet, paradoxically, today's standard formulation of quantum mechanics makes heavy use of that discredited "now." Playing with paradoxes is part of a theoretical physicist's vocation, as well as high-class recreation. Let's play with this one. (...) As we've seen, if a and b are space-like separated, then either can come before the other, according to different moving observers. So it is natural to ask: If a third event, c, is space-like separated with respect to both a and b, can all possible time-orderings, or "chronologies," of a, b, c be achieved? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is No. We can see why in Figures 5 and 6. Right-moving observers, who use up-sloping lines of constant time, similar to the lines of constant t2 in Figure 2, will see b come before both a and c (Figure 5). But c may come either after or before a, depending on how steep the slope is. Similarly, according to left-moving observers (Figure 6), a will always come before b and c, but the order of b and c varies. The bottom line: c never comes first, but other than that all time-orderings are possible. These exercises in special relativity are entertaining in themselves, but there are also serious issues in play. They arise when we combine special relativity with quantum mechanics."
"Vous dites le temps c'est comme le paysage qui ne bouge pas..."
ETIENNE KLEIN: "Ça c'est une conception c'est pas forcement la bonne mais c'est celle que défend Einstein."
"C'est pas la vôtre?"
ETIENNE KLEIN: "Heu... disons que c'est une conception qui pose des problèmes quand on compare ce que dit la relativité d'Einstein à ce que dit une autre théorie physique qui s'appelle la physique quantique..."
Etienne Klein: "On pourrait s'attendre à voir la cosmologie confirmer la vision d'un espace-temps statique telle que la prône la relativité restreinte. Il n'en est rien. La quasi-unanimité des physiciens s'accorde aujourd'hui sur des modèles d'univers particuliers, dits de big bang, dans lesquels on peut définir un temps cosmologique, lié à l'expansion de l'univers. Sans pour autant s'identifier au temps absolu de Newton, ce temps cosmologique partage avec lui la propriété d'être universel : des observateurs qui ne sont soumis à aucune accélération et ne subissent aucun effet gravitationnel mutuel peuvent en effet synchroniser leurs montres, et celles-ci resteront en phase tout au long de l'évolution cosmique."
Olivier Darrigol, directeur de recherche au CNRS: "Ritz est l'auteur d'une tentative célèbre de concilier l'électrodynamique et le principe de relativité dans une théorie qui FAIT DEPENDRE LA VITESSE DE LA LUMIERE DE CELLE DE LA SOURCE."
Alberto Martinez: "In sum, Einstein rejected the emission hypothesis prior to 1905 not because of any direct empirical evidence against it, but because it seemed to involve too many theoretical and mathematical complications. By contrast, Ritz was impressed by the lack of empirical evidence against the emission hypothesis, and he was not deterred by the mathematical difficulties it involved. It seemed to Ritz far more reasonable to assume, in the interest of the "economy" of scientific concepts, that the speed of light depends on the speed of its source, like any other projectile, rather than to assume or believe, with Einstein, that its speed is independent of the motion of its source even though it is not a wave in a medium; that nothing can go faster than light; that the length and mass of any body varies with its velocity; that there exist no rigid bodies; that duration and simultaneity are relative concepts; that the basic parallelogram law for the addition of velocities is not exactly valid; and so forth. Ritz commented that "it is a curious thing, worthy of remark, that only a few years ago one would have thought it sufficient to refute a theory to show that it entails even one or another of these consequences...."
Alberto Martinez: "Does the speed of light depend on the speed of its source? Before formulating his theory of special relativity, Albert Einstein spent a few years trying to formulate a theory in which the speed of light depends on its source, just like all material projectiles. Likewise, Walter Ritz outlined such a theory, where none of the peculiar effects of Einstein's relativity would hold. By 1913 most physicists abandoned such efforts, accepting the postulate of the constancy of the speed of light. Yet five decades later all the evidence that had been said to prove that the speed of light is independent of its source had been found to be defective."
John Norton: "In 1907, Einstein had also concluded that the speed of light, and not just its direction, would be affected by the gravitational field."
Dr. Cristian Bahrim: "If we accept the principle of equivalence, we must also accept that light falls in a gravitational field with the same acceleration as material bodies."
"The light is perceived to be falling in a gravitational field just like a mechanical object would. (...) 07:56 : (c+dc)/c = 1+(g/c^2)dh [as predicted by Newton's emission theory of light]"
Robert W. Brehme: "Light falls in a gravitational field just as do material objects."
Albert Einstein Institute: "One of the three classical tests for general relativity is the gravitational redshift of light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. However, in contrast to the other two tests - the gravitational deflection of light and the relativistic perihelion shift -, you do not need general relativity to derive the correct prediction for the gravitational redshift. A combination of Newtonian gravity, a particle theory of light, and the weak equivalence principle (gravitating mass equals inertial mass) suffices. (...) The gravitational redshift was first measured on earth in 1960-65 by Pound, Rebka, and Snider at Harvard University..."

Pentcho Valev

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