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Replies: 2   Last Post: Apr 25, 2014 2:58 AM

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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 3,362
Registered: 12/13/04
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 1:00 PM
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What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter, Jeffrey Bennett: "THE ABSOLUTES OF RELATIVITY. The name "theory of relativity" is in some sense a good name, in that the relativity of motion is a fundamental part of the theory. But in another sense it is a misnomer, because the foundations of the theory actually rest on the idea that two particular things in the universe are absolute: 1. The laws of nature are the same for everyone. 2. The speed of light is the same for everyone. Every astounding idea that comes from Einstein's special theory of relativity - including the strange ways in which time and space are different for you during your voyage to the black hole than they are for people on Earth - follows directly from these two seemingly innocuous absolutes. (...) The absoluteness of the speed of light is so surprising that we should take a moment to be clear about why it is so important. As I said above, every astounding consequence of special relativity follows directly from the two absolutes. Given that the first is unsurprising and was long suspected, all the consequences of relativity in essence stem from the single surprising idea that everyone always measures the same speed of light. In other words, if this idea is correct, then all of special relativity will make perfect sense. Conversely, if it is not correct, then the entire theory will fall apart. So what makes us so confident that Einstein was right? Remember, observations and experiments are the ultimate arbiters of truth in science, and the absoluteness of the speed of light is an experimentally verified fact. The first clear demonstration of this fact came with an experiment performed in 1887 by A. A. Michelson and E. W. Morley."

In 1887 the Michelson-Morley experiment UNEQUIVOCALLY confirmed the assumption that the speed of light (relative to the observer) varies with the speed of the emitter (c'=c+v). That is, at that time, Newton's emission theory of light was the only existing theory able to explain the null result of the experiment. Then FitzGerald, Lorentz and Einstein abused reality by replacing the true Newtonian assumption with its antithesis - the false assumption that the speed of light is independent of the speed of the emitter (c'=c). They also devised an ad hoc protective belt - "contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations" - able to deflect refuting evidence from the false assumption:

"Relativity and Its Roots", Banesh Hoffmann, p.92: "Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether."

John Norton: "These efforts were long misled by an exaggeration of the importance of one experiment, the Michelson-Morley experiment, even though Einstein later had trouble recalling if he even knew of the experiment prior to his 1905 paper. This one experiment, in isolation, has little force. Its null result happened to be fully compatible with Newton's own emission theory of light. Located in the context of late 19th century electrodynamics when ether-based, wave theories of light predominated, however, it presented a serious problem that exercised the greatest theoretician of the day."

John Norton: "The Michelson-Morley experiment is fully compatible with an emission theory of light that CONTRADICTS THE LIGHT POSTULATE."

Pentcho Valev

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