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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 6,212
Registered: 12/13/04
Posted: Mar 14, 2013 6:03 PM
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"Madame, Monsieur, Les Archives de l'Etat du Valais (Cahiers de Vallesia) et la Société valaisanne de Physique ont le plaisir de vous annoncer la parution de l'ouvrage "Le destin douloureux de Walther Ritz (1878-1909), physicien théoricien de génie", sous la direction de Jean-Claude Pont. (...) Un seul fait donnera une idée de la grandeur de Walther Ritz. Lorsque, en 1909, l'Université de Zurich met au concours le poste de professeur de physique théorique, il y a douze candidats. Parmi eux Einstein et Ritz. C'est Ritz qui est choisi sur la base du rapport du professeur Kleiner, qui a été le directeur de thèse ... d'Einstein (voir les documents p. 60-70 de l'ouvrage) et qui écrit de Ritz qu'il possède « un don extraordinaire, se manifestant aux limites de la génialité. » Hélas, Ritz devait décéder quelques mois plus tard des suites de sa tuberculose."

Olivier Darrigol,

Votre article dans cet ouvrage est intitulé "Electrodynamics in the physics of Walther Ritz", et vous y parlez de la théorie de l'émission de Ritz qui "FAIT DEPENDRE LA VITESSE DE LA LUMIERE DE CELLE DE LA SOURCE". Je n'ai pas lu l'article encore mais: Quelle est votre conclusion finale? Ritz ou Einstein? La vitesse de la lumière dépend ou ne dépend pas de la vitesse de la source lumineuse?
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."
Walther Ritz (1908): "The only conclusion which, from then on, seems possible to me, is that (...) THE MOTION OF LIGHT IS A RELATIVE MOTION LIKE ALL THE OTHERS, that only relative velocities play a role in the laws of nature..."
Herbert Dingle: "Either there is an absolute standard of rest - call it the ether as with Maxwell, or the universe as with Mach, or absolute space as with Newton, or what you will or else ALL MOTION, INCLUDING THAT WITH THE SPEED OF LIGHT, IS RELATIVE, AS WITH RITZ."
Jan Lacki: "Ritz had no time to make his theory more elaborate. He died complaining that no one, even in Göttingen, was granting his views sufficient care. His emissionist views were submitted to heavy criticism and experimental tests were later realized to show their inanity. Today, with considerable hindsight, we know the end of the story and how Einstein and Planck's views shaped our contemporary physics. While few would today contest the reality of quanta or turn their back on field theory of elementary processes, it is interesting to know that the criticisms against Ritz's conceptions were shown, since then, often wanting, if not simply incorrect. It is fair to say that if Ritz's emission theory is false, it cannot be as easily dismissed as it was thought in Ritz's times."
Alberto Martinez: "Two months after Ritz's death, in September 1909, his exchange with Einstein barely echoed at a meeting of the Deutsche Naturforscher und Ärtze in Salzburg, where Einstein delivered a lecture elaborating his views on the radiation problem but made no explicit reference to Ritz's views. Two years later, however, in November 1911, Paul Ehrenfest wrote a paper comparing Einstein's views on light propagation with those of Ritz. Ehrenfest noted that although both approaches involved a particulate description of light, Ritz's theory constituted a "real" emission theory (in the Newtonian sense), while Einstein's was more akin to the ether conception since it postulated that the velocity of light is independent of the velocity of its source. (...) Ritz's emission theory garnered hardly any supporters, at least none who would develop it or express support for it in print. As noted above, in 1911, two years after Ritz's death, Ehrenfest wrote a paper contrasting Ritz's and Einstein's theories, to which Einstein responded in several letters, trying in vain to convince him that the emission hypothesis should be rejected. Then Ehrenfest became Lorentz's successor at Leiden, and in his inaugural lecture in December 1912, he argued dramatically for the need to decide between Lorentz's and Einstein's theories, on the one hand, and Ritz's on the other. After 1913, however, Ehrenfest no longer advocated Ritz's theory. Ehrenfest and Ritz had been close friends since their student days, Ehrenfest having admired Ritz immensely as his superior in physics and mathematics; but following Ritz's death, Einstein came to play that role, as he and Ehrenfest became close friends."
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."

Pentcho Valev

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