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Topic: WHY EINSTEIN PROPOSED HIS SECOND POSTULATE
Replies: 2   Last Post: Apr 26, 2014 4:54 AM

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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 3,427
Registered: 12/13/04
WHY EINSTEIN PROPOSED HIS SECOND POSTULATE
Posted: Apr 24, 2014 11:56 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Special-Relativity-James-Smith/dp/048668895X
Introduction to Special Relativity, James H. Smith, p. 42: "We must emphasize that at the time Einstein proposed it [his second postulate], there was no direct experimental evidence whatever for the speed of light being independent of the speed of its source. He postulated it out of logical necessity."

Logical necessity? Yes. Einstein needed the false constancy of the speed of light as a premise in order to procrusteanize time and become famous:

http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/essay-einstein-relativity.htm
John Stachel: "But here he ran into the most blatant-seeming contradiction, which I mentioned earlier when first discussing the two principles. As noted then, the Maxwell-Lorentz equations imply that there exists (at least) one inertial frame in which the speed of light is a constant regardless of the motion of the light source. Einstein's version of the relativity principle (minus the ether) requires that, if this is true for one inertial frame, it must be true for all inertial frames. But this seems to be nonsense. How can it happen that the speed of light relative to an observer cannot be increased or decreased if that observer moves towards or away from a light beam? Einstein states that he wrestled with this problem over a lengthy period of time, to the point of despair. We have no details of this struggle, unfortunately. Finally, after a day spent wrestling once more with the problem in the company of his friend and patent office colleague Michele Besso, the only person thanked in the 1905 SRT paper, there came a moment of crucial insight. In all of his struggles with the emission theory as well as with Lorentz's theory, he had been assuming that the ordinary Newtonian law of addition of velocities was unproblematic. It is this law of addition of velocities that allows one to "prove" that, if the velocity of light is constant with respect to one inertial frame, it cannot be constant with respect to any other inertial frame moving with respect to the first. It suddenly dawned on Einstein that this "obvious" law was based on certain assumptions about the nature of time always tacitly made."

Pentcho Valev



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