Section 1

 

INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW

 

 

            During the 19th century, most scientists believed that an invisible material substance called ‘ether’ existed and was absolutely stationary throughout all of space.  In 1879, Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879) theorized that if two relatively stationary mirrors move in-tandem away from the ‘stationary ether,’ then a light ray propagating to and fro between such mirrors will have an increasing distance and time interval to propagate in the direction of such motion in order to catch up to such moving mirrors.

            In 1881, Russian-American scientist Albert Michelson (1852 – 1931) decided to test Maxwell’s ether theory of light propagation.  He invented an apparatus in which one ray of light would propagate between two relatively stationary mirrors in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion, and a different ray of light would propagate over the same distance, in a direction perpendicular to the first light ray.  Michelson assumed that he would be able to detect the difference in the time of propagation between such light rays, because the light ray propagating in the direction of the Earth solar orbital motion relatively so the stationary ether would have a longer distance/time interval to propagate. 

Over a period of six months, Michelson pointed his apparatus in all different directions of the Earth’s solar orbital motion, but he never detected any difference in the time intervals for the two propagating light rays.  In 1887, Michelson decided to repeat his experiment with fellow American scientist Edward Morley (1838 – 1923), but the results were the same.  They never detected any difference in light propagation time intervals.  This second set of ‘null results’ became known as the ‘Michelson and Morley Paradox.’[1]

            Between 1889 and 1904 scientists George Fitzgerald and H. A. Lorentz independently theorized that on the Earth, Michelson’s apparatus must have physically contracted (shortened) just enough in the direction of the Earth’s motion to compensate for the expected difference in time intervals.  In 1917, Swiss-German mathematician Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) agreed with them and with Maxwell’s ether theory, but he asserted that the contraction was not physical.  Rather, Einstein concluded that the contraction occurred as a result of the way the experiment was measured with coordinates.  Because there was no viable alternative solution at the time, the scientific community finally accepted Einstein’s contraction theory.  It became a major experimental confirmation for Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.[2]

            After years of research and analysis, the author has finally discovered the real theoretical, empirical and technical reasons for the Michelson & Morley 120 year old paradox.  They have nothing to do with any contraction.  These real reasons will be described and explained in detail in Section 8 of this treatise. 

There are numerous empirical confirmations for such real reasons, and they will also be described and explained in Section 9.  In the last section of this treatise, the author will explain the many reasons why the existence of such real solutions is very important for physics, even in the 21st century.


Section 2

 

THE FALSE HYPOTHESIS OF STATIONARY ETHER

 

During the early 18th century, Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) hypothesized that light was composed of particles or ‘corpuscles,’ whereas Henri Descartes (1596 – 1650) and others had conjectured that light was formed of impulses or waves that travel through an invisible medium in space called ‘ether.’[3]  Newton’s particle theory of light prevailed for over a century, due largely to his great prestige.[4]  However, in 1801, English scientist Thomas Young (1773 – 1829) revived Descartes’ wave theory of light, and along with it came Descartes’ 1638 conjecture that light waves were supported in space by ‘ether.’[5] 

During the early 19th century, the scientific community was faced with a dilemma of sorts.  Water waves can be interpreted to be a disturbance of the material substance of water that forms and supports them.  Likewise, sound waves may be interpreted to be a disturbance of the material substance of air that forms and supports them.  If light waves are a disturbance of the medium through which they propagate, as was theorized by Maxwell and others, then how could this medium be empty space, which is nothing?[6]  Because of this perceived necessity of a material medium for the formation, support and propagation of light waves, the scientists of the 19th century merely postulated the existence of luminiferous (light bearing) ether. [7]

Ether was thought to have many amazing properties.[8]  If ether is not affected by the celestial bodies moving through it, then it must be at rest in Newton’s absolute space.  Because it suited one of his early 19th century theories, Fresnel even postulated that the ether was stationary in space.[9]  A priori, ether had to be absolutely at rest, because otherwise Maxwell’s constant velocity of light at c might vary from place to place.[10]  Such were the fanciful speculations of 19th century scientists.

Maxwell ardently believed in the concept of ‘ether’ absolutely at rest in space, and his theories for the constant velocity of light at c in a vacuum were assumed to be written with respect to this theoretically stationary substance.[11] 

The conventional wisdom of the latter part of the 19th century asserted that if a light experiment could be devised to measure the magnitude of the speed (v) of the Earth through the stationary ether in different directions relative to the velocity (c) of light, v/c, then the absolute speed and direction of the Earth through the stationary ether could be determined.[12]  A priori, this hypothetical experiment could also determine the velocity of light relative to the moving Earth and demonstrate the existence of stationary ether. 

            During the 1870’s, numerous light experiments were devised to measure the absolute speed of the Earth through the ether.  But all of these first order (first approximation) experiments failed to detect any absolute speed of the Earth through the ether.[13]  Nevertheless, the scientific community remained collectively convinced that the hypothesis of a stationary material substance in Newton’s absolute space was a necessary and fundamental law of nature.[14]

By 1879, the hypothesis of stationary ether was firmly entrenched in scientific dogma.[15]  The best way to demonstrate the existence of stationary ether was to somehow determine the absolute speed of the Earth relative to the stationary ether.  But how?


Section 3

 

MAXWELL’S 1879 ETHER DISPLACEMENT THEORY OF LIGHT

 

 

During early 1879, James Clerk Maxwell was pondering possible experimental methods to detect the absolute velocity of the Earth with respect to the stationary ether.  In March of 1879, Maxwell sent a letter to American astronomer D. P. Todd who had been assisting him in his endeavor.  Maxwell died a few months after sending this letter.[16]  The letter, described as “On a Possible Mode of Detecting a Motion of the Solar System Through the Luminiferous Ether;” was later published by an associate of Mr. Todd in the British scientific journal, Nature.[17] 

In his letter Maxwell described a possible theoretical method to detect the absolute velocity of the Earth, based on the theoretical “effect of the earth’s motion on the there-and-back speed of light [from a light source to a mirror and back] as measured in the laboratory.”[18]  The relevant portion of Maxwell’s letter states as follows: 

“[I]n the terrestrial methods of determining the velocity of light, the light comes back along the same path again, so that the velocity of the earth with respect to the ether would alter the time of the double passage by a quantity depending on the square of the ratio of the earth’s velocity to that of light [(v/c)2], and this is quite too small to be observed.”[19]

 

The terrestrial method for measuring the velocity of light is illustrated in Figure 3.1A.  The time for a light ray to propagate from mirror A to mirror B and back to A is measured by some form of a clock.

Maxwell must have reasoned as follows:  if ether is absolutely stationary in space, and if the Earth is moving through space in its solar orbital path, then the Earth (and all light experiments on it) must be displacing from the stationary ether.  Therefore, if the two mirrors are displacing in-tandem from  stationary ether, a light ray propagating between such mirrors must have to propagate a greater distance and a greater time interval in order to catch up to such displacing mirrors in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion.  (see Figure 3.1B)  Maxwell also must have computed these false assumptions in a manner similar to that illustrated in Figures 3.1 and 3.2.  It is important to realize that Figures 3.1 and 3.2 both illustrate false ether assumptions by Maxwell.

At this point one might ask the question:  what was Maxwell’s greater time interval for the double passage of light on the moving Earth altering from?  The answer is:  it was theoretically altering from the absolute theoretical time interval for the double passage of light, assuming that the Earth was at rest in the stationary ether.  (see Figure 3.1A)  In other words, one false ether assumption (Figure 3.1B) was altering from another false ether assumption.  (Figure 3.1A) 

The author’s above assumptions and interpretations were confirmed by H. A. Lorentz, who in 1895 interpreted Maxwell’s 1879 theory to mean that:  “the time required for a ray of light to travel from a point A to a point B and back to A [on the Earth’s surface] must vary when the two points together undergo a displacement…” with respect to the stationary ether.  Lorentz called this theoretical ‘in-tandem displacement’ of points A and B from stationary ether:  “the Maxwell displacement.”[20]  Figure 3.2 presents a more detailed illustration of what is theoretically occurring in Figure 3.1B.


Section 4

MICHELSON’S 1881 ETHER BASED LIGHT EXPERIMENT

When Russian-American scientist Albert Michelson (1852-1931) read Maxwell’s letter in the scientific journal Nature, he must have made the same mathematical calculations that Maxwell made.[21]  (see Figure 3.2)  Thus, Michelson asserted that this miniscule theoretical difference of time interval, if it actually existed, could easily be detected and measured by an interference of light method.[22]  Acting upon his intuition, Michelson in 1881 created an interference of light experiment to test for Maxwell’s theoretical time interval variation, by attempting to detect and measure the solar orbital velocity of the Earth (30 km/s) with respect to the stationary ether.[23]   

Michelson assumed that “the actual distance that light travels in the [absolute direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion in his experiment] is greater than in the [direction perpendicular to such motion].”[24]  Michelson further assumed that light which propagated from Earth perpendicularly to the absolute direction of the Earth’s absolute solar orbital motion “would be entirely unaffected” by such motion.[25]  In Michelson’s own words:

“Assuming then that the ether is at rest, the earth moving through it, the time required for light to pass from one point to another on the earth’s surface, would depend on the direction in which it [light] travels.” [26]

 

Michelson then concluded that if it were possible to measure the time T required for light propagating at velocity c to pass from one point to another in “the direction of the earth’s motion [less the] time [T1] required for it to pass in the opposite [perpendicular] direction, [then] we could find v the velocity of the earth’s motion through the ether.” [27]  Because prior light experiments to the first order of approximation v/c (one part in ten thousand), had failed to detect any motion of the Earth with regard to the ether,[28] Michelson decided to increase the sensitivity and precision of the measurement to an approximation of the second order:  v2/c2 (one part in one hundred million) as Maxwell had suggested in his 1879 letter.[29] 

In 1881, Michelson built a very sensitive apparatus (an ‘interferometer’) with a 50% reflective glass mirror (a ‘beam splitter’) that would split a light ray into two equal parts, called light ‘pencils.’  (see Figure 4.1)  Light pencil 1 would propagate to and fro (between the beam splitter BS and mirror M1 on the apparatus) parallel (or longitudinal) to the assumed direction of the Earth’s absolute solar orbital motion.  Light pencil 2 would propagate to and fro in the direction of mirror M2, which was perpendicular (or transverse) to the Earth’s solar orbital motion.  The mirrors could be rotated so that they would point in different directions.

            Very importantly, using a micrometer screw, Michelson adjusted the distance of mirror M1 so that the light waves of light pencil 1 were slightly out-of-phase with the light waves of light pencil 2.[30]  This adjustment of distance caused the two light pencils to slightly change their relative wave phase positions by the time they propagated to and fro and joined again at the beam splitter.  (see Figure 4.2B)  As a result, Michelson was able to create and observe an interference fringe pattern through the telescope.[31]  (see Figure 4.3C) 

When Michelson’s apparatus was then rotated through 90°, the directions of the two light pencils were also rotated 90°.  As a result, Michelson assumed that first pencil 1 and then pencil 2 would take longer to propagate (between their respective mirrors) in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion.  As a result of this rotation, Michelson also expected that the relative position of such out-of-phase light wave would change and that this would cause the interference fringe to shift about 1/10th of a light wave.[32]  Theoretically, this shift of the interference fringe (compare Figure 4.3D-1 to Figure 4.3D-2) would indicate the difference in time interval between T and T1 in the apparatus.  In turn, Michelson assumed that such time interval difference would indicate the magnitude of the absolute solar orbital velocity of the Earth through the stationary ether.

            Michelson then repeatedly pointed and rotated his 1881 apparatus in all possible directions of the Earth over several periods of time as the Earth orbited the Sun.  However, the result of this experiment was only a very nominal shift of the interference fringe when the pencils of light were pointed in any different direction.[33] The observed nominal fringe shift averaged only about 2% of that which Michelson expected, and he attributed these nominal fringe shifts to observational error.[34]

            Michelson concluded that his experiment had produced a null result.[35]  Why had not Michelson’s 1881 experiment produced a fringe shift that would have indicated a difference in the time interval of propagation for light rays in different absolute directions of the Earth’s solar orbital motion through the ether?  What could be the reason for this paradoxical null result?  Both Michelson and the scientific community were completely baffled.


Section 5

MICHELSON AND MORLEY’S 1887 ETHER BASED LIGHT EXPERIMENT

Because of the numerous theoretical and technical problems that Michelson had encountered during his 1881 experiment,[36] he decided to repeat the experiment in 1887 with fellow American scientist Edward Morley (1838-1923).  As in the 1881 experiment, Michelson and Morley (M & M) assumed that an in-tandem physical displacement of the light source and the longitudinal mirror would occur relative to the propagating light pencils, because of the known solar orbital motion of the Earth at 30 km/s.  (Figures 3.1 and 3.2)  M & M further assumed that this displacement would increase the distance interval and the time interval for the light ray to propagate in the absolute direction of such solar orbital motion, from the beam splitter to the longitudinal mirror and back to the beam splitter, and that such increased time interval should be detectable as a fringe shift by their interferometer.

In 1887, the design of Michelson’s apparatus was improved, and the path that each pencil of light would propagate in each perpendicular direction was increased eleven fold to about twenty-two meters (to and fro).[37]  The most significant theoretical modification that Michelson made for his 1887 experiment was to change his hypothesis concerning the path of the light pencil that was perpendicular (or transverse) to the solar orbital motion of the Earth.  In this regard, Michelson stated that in 1881, “the effect of the motion of the earth through the ether on the path of the ray at right angles [transverse] to this motion was overlooked.” In other words, in 1881 Michelson forgot that the transverse reflecting mirror (mirror M2 in Figure 5.1) should also theoretically displace in the absolute direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion.[38]

            Michelson then asserted that the paths of the two light pencils would only be perpendicular to each other if his apparatus was at rest in the ether.[39]  According to Michelson, when the apparatus moves through the ether in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion, the to and fro path of the transverse light pencil would be at an angle relative to the longitudinal light pencil, which angle would be in the direction of such solar orbital motion.[40]  (see Figure 5.1)  Michelson then concluded that, because this angle would increase the time interval which the transverse light pencil would have to propagate, the difference between T and T1 would actually be only 40% of the magnitude which he had assumed in his 1881 experiment.  This new magnitude of time interval difference would only be about 0.04 of a wave, instead of the 0.10 of a wave that Michelson assumed in 1881.[41]

            Michelson’s new hypothesis was, of course, yet another major false ether assumption, for the following reasons.  We now know that the particles (vis. photons) that comprise a light ray do not have mass[42] and therefore the light ray is not subject to the lateral inertial motion of its material light source (the Earth).  Yet, this lateral inertial motion would be necessary to create the angled path of light propagation envisioned by Michelson.  In reality, the path of the transverse light pencil would always propagate perpendicularly to the longitudinal light pencil and rectilinearly toward the transverse reflecting mirror (M2).  It would then reflect back toward the beam splitter in a perpendicular and rectilinear path.[43]  (see Figure 5.2A)

Very importantly, just before the 1887 experiment began, M & M adjusted the micrometer “screw altering the length of [the] path” for one light pencil to propagate.[44]  As in the 1881 experiment, this slight adjustment of distance caused two slightly out-of-phase light pencils to result in an interference fringe pattern.[45]  (see Figures 4.2 and 4.3C)  This seemingly insignificant change of distance for one light pencil to propagate to and fro will be exceedingly important for our analysis and explanation of one or more of the real reasons for Michelson’s null results.

M & M then pointed their new much more precise apparatus in all possible directions of the Earth over a six-month period hoping to detect some fringe shift (time interval difference) in some direction.  But at the end of the day, the outcome of the       M & M experiment in 1887 was substantially the same as Michelson’s 1881 experiment.  Again, only a very nominal shift of the interference fringes was observed,[46] and basically the 1887 experiment was considered to be yet another null result with the same conclusions as the 1881 experiment.[47]

Why had not the absolute orbital velocity of the Earth and the theoretical displacement of Michelson’s mirrors relative to the propagating light ray, produced the expected fringe shift and time interval difference?  How could light propagate at c over two theoretically different distances (longitudinal and transverse) during the same time interval?  Did this mean that the transmission velocity of light changed in different directions of motion?  Did it mean that the concepts of ether and stationary ether at rest in space were invalid?  Did it mean that Michelson’s interference fringe shift experiments and the assumptions that they were based upon were at fault?  Did it mean that Maxwell’s law for the constant transmission velocity of light at c needed to be revised?[48]  What could be the answers to these riddles?  These were some of the mystifying questions that faced the scientific community after 1887.


Section 6

THE FALSE ASSUMPTIONS AND COMPUTATIONS

THAT CAUSED THE MICHELSON & MORLEY PARADOX

 

            Just like everyone else, the author was initially mystified by the absolute paradox that was perceived and inferred from Michelson’s so-called null results.  Only after years of painstaking research, analysis, inductive reasoning, and many dead ends, did he finally realize and understand the real reasons and solutions for this monumental mystery of physics.

            The M & M paradox did not just occur by coincidence.  It was created over a long period of time by numerous scientists who engaged in a multitude of illogical, incorrect and absurd considerations.  They include the false hypothesis of ether, Maxwell’s 1879 ether displacement theory of light, numerous other ad hoc assumptions, false premises and bizarre theories, the false analysis of Michelson’s experiments, absurd mathematical computations, and impossible expectations.

            These false and unscientific considerations finally resulted in the ridiculous and unnecessary paradox:  How could a light ray propagate over a greater distance and time interval in one absolute direction of the Earth’s absolute motion through space, yet the difference in time intervals of light propagation in two different perpendicular directions of the Earth’s motion could not be detected?

            One fundamental reason why the scientific community was so confused by the reality of the M & M experiment, and was so unwilling to accept its empirical results, was their unshakable belief in ‘stationary ether.’  They had unscientifically convinced themselves that this mythical material substance of ‘ether’ actually existed, and that it was absolutely ‘at rest’ in all of space (like a fixed stake in space).  They further believed that all positions, distances, time intervals, motions, velocities, propagations, and directions could be described, measured, and computed in ‘absolute’ terms (not relative terms) with respect to stationary ether, as if stationary ether was a fixed reference frame in space.  Their minds were completely closed to any other possibilities.

            Most of the other false assumptions, incorrect computations, and unrealistic expectations with regard to the M & M experiment, followed from this one fundamental false premise.  We shall now briefly describe and explain the fallacies of these absurd computations, false assumptions, impossible expectations and other unscientific considerations.

            When one describes, measures and/or computes the artificial magnitude of any physical phenomenon from an absolutely stationary place, it becomes an impossible absolute magnitude.  Thus, the scientific community assumed that the absolute motion and the absolute direction of motion of the Earth with respect to the stationary ether produced one (and only one) absolute velocity of 30 km/s for the Earth:  its solar orbital velocity relative to the Sun.[49]  All of the other countless different velocities of the Earth relative to other co-moving planets, stars, and other celestial objects in the universe were completely ignored in their artificial theories, assumptions and computations.  These faulty ideas made specific displacements of mirrors, specific contractions of matter, specific impossible propagations of light, etc., with respect to stationary ether, appear to be possible, reasonable, and consistent.

            For these reasons, the scientific community falsely assumed that the mirrors in Michelson’s apparatus could and should displace from stationary ether and from each light pencil in Michelson’s apparatus, a certain absolute distance because of the absolute solar orbital velocity of the Earth at 30 km/s moving away from the stationary ether.[50]  Because of this theoretical and mathematical absolute magnitude of displacement from stationary ether, they also falsely assumed that a light ray emitted at the absolute position of stationary ether should have an increasing distance and time interval in order to catch up to such displacing mirrors. 

When the scientific community computed all of these false absolute assumptions their artificial absolute results appeared to be correct.  (see Figure 3.2)  On the other hand, if they had used the relative velocities of the Earth with respect to the Andromeda galaxy at 310 km/s (or any other relative velocity of the Earth) for their computations, such realistic results would have produced chaos.  Their quest for absolute certainty was an impossible dream.  Similar artificial results occurred when the transverse light pencils were falsely assumed to take an angled path toward the displacing transverse mirror.  (see Figure 6.1)

            These spurious results, and the fact that Michelson’s experiments failed to detect the Earth’s solar orbital velocity of 30 km/s, lead to another paradox for Michelson’s experiments:  if there are an infinite number of other velocities of the Earth relative to other planets, moons, stars, galaxies, comets, etc., why didn’t Michelson’s experiments detect any of these other relative velocities?  One relative velocity is just as real as any other relative velocity.  The answers to this new paradox will also be described and explained in Sections 8 and 9.

            The scientific community also falsely assumed that they could compare the theoretically greater distance and time interval which a light ray must propagate in the absolute direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion through space (Figures 3.1B, 3.2B and 3.2C), with respect to:  1) the theoretical distance/time interval that light must propagate assuming that the Earth was at rest in stationary ether (Figure 3.1A); and/or to  2) the theoretical distance/time interval that light must propagate across stationary ether in the direction perpendicular to the Earth’s absolute motion.[51]  (Figure 3.2A)

            As an alternative to the above theories, the scientific community rationalized that if the Earth was moving through the stationary ether, that this should cause an ‘ether wind’ effect which was similar to the sensation when a woman is standing at the bow of a fast moving ship sailing through still air (i.e. she feels a wind in her face).  Based on this dubious effect, they reasoned that the ether wind would decrease the velocity of the propagating light pencils through the ether in the direction of the Earth’s absolute solar orbital motion and therefore such light pencils would take a longer time interval (than normal) to catch up to the displacing mirrors.[52]  To add to the confusion of the scientific community, these theoretical misassumptions, rationalizations and faulty computations were often comingled and intertwined with each other.[53]

Michelson’s experiments themselves were also incorrectly analyzed.  For example, we have already described Michelson and Morley’s misanalysis that the transverse light pencil must propagate in an angular path with respect to the displacing transverse mirror, because theoretically it too must be displacing from the transverse light pencil.  And we have also previously described why empirically this cannot occur.

            This leads us to another misassumption which resulted from a faulty analysis of the M & M experiment.  It was misassumed by everyone that both arms of Michelson’s apparatus must have the same finite distance from the light source.  However, in 1932, the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment dispelled this false assumption.  In the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment one arm of the apparatus was intentionally constructed much shorter than the other arm.  (see Figure 7.1)  Nevertheless, the result of this experiment was the same as the Michelson and Morley experiment:  another null result, and another paradox.  In Section 8 we shall also describe and explain the reason for this paradoxical result, and such explanation will become one of the major solutions for the Michelson and Morley paradox.

 


Section 7

THE INCORRECT ‘SO-CALLED SOLUTIONS’

FOR THE MICHELSON & MORLEY PARADOX.

 

 

The empirical null results of Michelson’s experiments implied that the light source and longitudinal mirror rigidly attached to the Earth had not physically displaced in-tandem away from the ray of light (propagating within the same apparatus), contrary to the assertion of such displacement in Maxwell’s 1879 letter.  But how could this be?  The Earth’s orbital velocity around the Sun was obvious and intuitive and everyone believed that stationary ether existed, so everyone assumed that the in-tandem displacement of the light source and longitudinal mirror from the stationary ether and the propagating light ray must also exist. 

Everyone also assumed that this theoretical displacement would increase the distance interval and the time interval that the light ray would have to propagate relative to the displacing light source and the displacing longitudinal mirror in the direction of the Earth’s motion.  In fact, all of these assumptions had been mathematically confirmed by computations.  (see Figures 3.2 and 6.1)  Must not there be some plausible explanation for these mysterious paradoxes?  For many frustrated and bewildered scientists, any explanation might do.

The first attempted explanation for Michelson’s so-called null results was that the normally stationary ether was completely dragged along with the moving Earth at its surface, and therefore the velocity of the Earth’s surface relative to the dragged along ether was zero.  In other words, the Earth and the dragged along ether were relatively at rest, so that Michelson’s apparatus and mirrors could not displace from the dragged along ether.  But this artificial theory, first suggested by English physicist George Stokes in 1845, was soon totally discredited by experiments, calculations and logic.[54] 

            During the two year period after the M & M experiment was published, many other artificial solutions were advanced, but none was accepted.  Then, in May 1889, Irish physicist George F. Fitzgerald (1851-1901), in an attempt to defend the existence of ether as a stationary reference frame in space, proposed a radical explanation for Michelson and Morley’s paradoxical null results in a letter to the editors of Science Newspaper.  Fitzgerald wrote:

“I have read with much interest Messrs. Michelson and Morley’s wonderfully delicate experiment...

 

“I would suggest that almost the only hypothesis that can reconcile this [null result] is that the length of material bodies changes [contracts], according as they are moving through the ether or across it, by an amount depending on the square of the ratio of their velocity to that of light.”[55] 

 

In effect, Fitzgerald hypothesized that if the diameter of the Earth physically ‘contracts’ or becomes shorter in the direction of its absolute motion through the stationary ether, then every observer sharing the same motion of the shortened Earth (including Michelson, Morley, and the longitudinal arm of their apparatus) would also proportionally physically contract.[56]  According to Fitzgerald, these physical contractions of distance would in turn proportionally reduce the time interval which light had to propagate at its transmission velocity of c to and fro along the linearly contracted longitudinal arm of the apparatus, in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital velocity.  (see Figure 6.1)  The magnitude of this specific hypothetical contraction would have to be just enough to mathematically compensate for the ‘undetected time interval’ in Michelson’s experiments.[57]  From all of these hypotheses, one might conclude:  what an amazing coincidence!

Several years later, in 1895, Dutch scientist H. A. Lorentz (1853–1928) also devised an ad hoc contraction hypothesis similar to Fitzgerald’s, which he also hoped would theoretically save the concept of stationary ether.  In his 1895 treatise, entitled ‘Michelson’s Interference Experiment,’ Lorentz conjectured as follows: 

“If we assume the arm which lies in the direction of the Earth’s motion to be shorter than the other by ½Lv2/c2…then the result of the Michelson experiment is explained completely.”[58]

 

“The shortening of the one diameter of the Earth would amount to about 6.5 cm.[59] The length of a meter rod would change, when moved from one principal position into the other, by about 1/200 micron.[60]…Revolving the apparatus we should perceive no displacement of the fringes.”[61] 

 

One might ask:  how did Lorentz explain the physical method by which each rotating arm became shorter than the other in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion?  Lorentz conjectured:

“One would have to imagine that the motion of a solid body…through the resting ether exerts upon the dimensions of that body an influence which varies according to the orientation of the body with respect to the direction of motion.”[62]

 

But, as Born points out:  “The contraction hypothesis seems…almost absurd—because the contraction is not a consequence of any forces but appears only as a companion circumstance to motion.”[63]

Folsing described Lorentz’s theory as follows:  “In the artificial and contrived Lorentzian hypothesis, contraction had been invented solely for the interpretation of the Michelson experiment…”  (Folsing, p. 219)  Arthur Miller described Lorentz’s hypothesis of the contraction of matter based on velocity as “clearly a physics of desperation.”  (Miller, p. 28) 

In his 1917 book, Relativity, Einstein described and agreed with Maxwell’s 1879 theory that light must propagate a greater distance/time interval in the direction of the Earth’s motion relative to the stationary ether.  Einstein also summarized and confirmed Michelson’s false hypotheses, and described the resulting paradox, as follows:

“Imagine two mirrors so arranged on a rigid body that the reflecting surfaces face each other.  A ray of light requires a perfectly definite time T to pass from one mirror to the other and back again, if the whole system be at rest with respect to the aether.  It is found by calculation, however, that a slightly different time is required for this process, if the body, together with the mirrors, be moving relatively to the aether.  And yet another point: it is shown by calculation that for a given velocity v with reference to the aether, this time T´ is different when the body is moving perpendicularly to the planes of the mirrors from that resulting when the motion is parallel to these planes.[64]  Although the estimated difference between these two times is exceedingly small, Michelson and Morley performed an experiment involving interference in which this difference should have been clearly detectable.  But the experiment gave a negative result – a fact very perplexing to physicists.[65]

 

After Einstein described Michelson’s paradoxical null result, he went on to conjecture that:

“Lorentz and Fitzgerald rescued the [ether] theory[66] from this difficulty [Michelson’s paradoxical null results] by assuming that the motion of the body relative to the aether produces a contraction being just sufficient to compensate for the difference in time…[T]his solution of the difficulty was the right one.”[67]

 

Einstein’s somewhat different ‘solution’ for the M & M paradox asserted that there was a specific contraction of Michelson’s apparatus in the direction of motion, but that such contraction was only caused by the method of coordinate measurement which Michelson employed.[68]  Thus, Einstein theorized that:

“for a co-ordinate system moving with the earth the mirror system of Michelson and Morley is not shortened, but it is shortened for a co-ordinate system which is at rest relatively to the sun.”[69]

 

This assertion by Einstein also ignores the fact that Michelson was not measuring anything with coordinates.  On the contrary, Michelson was only attempting to detect a change in the relative positions of two out-of-phase light waves (a fringe shift).  (see Figure 4.2)

            All of these specific magnitudes of contraction assumed by Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Einstein led to yet another paradox.  Since the Earth has an uncountable number of relative velocities with respect to an infinite number of other moving celestial bodies, why didn’t the Earth and Michelson’s apparatus contract an infinite number of different magnitudes in an infinite number of directions of relative motion, all at the same time?  Why shouldn’t all of these other specific magnitudes also be measured, calculated and explained?

            All of these contraction ideas were completely ad hoc and meaningless.  Fitzgerald’s and Lorentz’s physical contraction ideas cannot be correct, inter alia because they depend upon the existence of ether, the validity of Maxwell’s 1879 ether theory, and Michelson’s paradox which also depends upon the existence of ether.  But we now know that ether does not exist, so none of such ether based contraction concepts can be valid.  For the same reason, Einstein’s above conclusions that Michelson should have detected a time interval difference with respect to the ether, and that a contraction solution for this ether based paradox is the right one, also cannot be correct.

            Likewise, Einstein’s contraction ‘solution,’ which was based on his coordinate method of measurement of the contraction, cannot be correct.  Michelson was attempting to detect a specific physical time difference, and therefore only a specific physical contraction would explain his null result.  But Einstein’s contraction idea was not physical; it was only the mathematical illusion of a contraction by different observers, based on an irrelevant type of measurement:  coordinates.[70]  As Resnick states:  with Einstein’s contraction “no actual shrinkage is implied, [there is] merely a difference in measured results.”[71]  As Born also pointed out:

“[Einstein’s] contraction is only a consequence of our way of regarding things and is not a change of physical reality…a rod in Einstein’s theory has various lengths according to the point of view of the observer.”[72]

 

            Similarly, none of the above contraction ideas could be correct, because they were all assuming that only one specific velocity of the Earth in one specific direction produced only one specific contraction.  Whereas, the Earth has an infinite number of relative velocities in an infinite number of specific directions.  According to their theories, this should produce an infinite number of different specific contractions for the same material bodies. 

Another major problem with any contraction solution for the Michelson & Morley null results occurred in 1932 with the empirical Kennedy-Thorndike experiment.[73]  The Kennedy-Thorndike experiment was quite similar to the 1887 Michelson & Morley experiment, but with two major physical differences.  First and foremost, the interferometer was intentionally constructed with two arms of very different lengths.  In other words, one arm was intentionally shortened or contracted by about 16 cm relative to the other arm.  Secondly, the interferometer did not physically rotate, so any fringe shift could only occur as a result of the daily rotational motion or the annual solar orbital motion of the Earth.[74]  (see Figure 7.1)

            After six months of trying, no fringe shifts were observed by Kennedy-Thorndike.  Kennedy-Thorndike considered this failure to be yet another mysterious null result.  Because one arm was intentionally made 16 cm shorter than the other arm, it is generally acknowledged that the aforementioned contraction hypothesis of Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Einstein cannot explain the null results of the K & T experiment.[75]  In fact, Resnick concludes that the Kennedy-Thorndike result is “in direct contradiction to the contraction hypothesis.”[76]

            In order to attempt to explain all of these null results (sans a contraction) many scientists have turned to other ‘theories of desperation.’  For example, some scientists interpret the Kennedy-Thorndike paradoxical null result as evidence that the time for light to propagate the extra distance in the longer arm is the same as the time of light propagation in the shorter arm.[77]  But in order to support this very strained logic they must switch theories to the ‘ether wind’ hypothesis, where the velocity of light theoretically decreases in the direction of the Earth’s direction of motion through the ether.[78]  The major problems with these absurd theories, include:  1) neither ether nor an ether wind exist,  2) the longer arm is often not pointed in the assumed direction for the Earth’s solar orbital motion, and  3) there is a special case where the ‘ether wind’ theory cannot apply.[79]

            Another ‘theory of desperation’ is Walther Ritz’s 1908 ballistic or particle theory of light where the speed of light is uniquely defined by the light source, not by the medium through which it passes.[80]  The numerous problems with this theory, include:  1) the experimental facts that the velocity of light is always the same regardless of the speed of its source,  2) that light travels at different velocities in every different medium; and  3) De Sitter showed (in 1913) that based on Ritz’s theory light from binary stars should be distorted, but no distortion has ever been observed.[81]  (see Figure 7.2) 

            Yet, another theory of desperation is Galileo’s 1632 theory of relativity, which asserts that mechanics experiments conducted on uniformly moving inertial reference frames cannot reveal any information about the velocity of the Earth.  In 1904, Poincaré generalized Galileo’s theory of relativity ad hoc to include light, and in 1905 Einstein adopted Poincaré’s generalization as a postulate for his Special Theory.  Based on these dubious generalizations, French infers that Einstein’s generalization explains the null results of Michelson’s experiments and the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment, because it was impossible for Michelson and Kennedy to determine the velocity of the inertially moving Earth by their light experiments conducted on it.[82] 

Resnick goes even further and asserts that Einstein’s 1905 second postulate (that light is always measured to be c in every inertial frame of reference) confirms Michelson’s null results, because the Michelson and Kennedy experiments empirically found the velocity of light in their experiments to be c.[83]  If Einstein’s second postulate was a valid explanation, why then did Einstein in 1917 state that a contraction was the correct answer to the M & M null results?  Thus, Resnick’s inconsistent explanation is a theory of two desperately conflicting theories.  Another problem with Resnick’s theory is that he must consider all of such null results to be correct in order to claim that Einstein’s second postulate confirms them.

Another major problem with both French’s theory and Resnick’s theory is that both the Michelson and Morley experiment and the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment are considered to be major confirmations of Special Relativity. [84]  Therefore, it would be circular reasoning to try to explain and justify two major confirmations by the same theory that is the subject of such confirmation (Special Relativity).  

            For all of these reasons, there must be different explanations and real solutions for    M & M’s paradoxical null results.  When all of the real reasons and solutions for the Michelson and Morley experiment, the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment, and the other baffling paradoxes are described, explained and empirically confirmed in Section 8 and Section 9, infra, there will no longer be need for any metaphysical, desperate or other ad hoc and artificial explanations.

           


Section 8

 

THE REAL & CORRECT THEORETICAL, EMPIRICAL & TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS FOR MICHELSON’S PARADOXICAL NULL RESULTS

 

 

The first real reason for Michelson’s null results is completely theoretical.  Michelson was attempting to detect the absolute velocity of the Earth through the ether by detecting a theoretical difference between two theoretical time intervals for light rays to propagate in two different directions, with respect to the ether. 

There were at least nine different ether theories concerning the theoretical difference in time intervals, or why such difference was not detected:  1) Lorentz’s 1886 stationary ether theory;[85]  2) Fresnel’s 1818 theory that the ether was being partially dragged along by the Earth;[86]  3) George Stokes’ 1845 theory that the ether was being totally dragged along by the Earth’s motion through it;[87]  4) Maxwell’s 1879 ether displacement theory which compared light propagation on a moving Earth and on an absolutely stationary Earth;[88] 5) the ‘ether wind’ theory which should decrease the velocity of light in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion;[89] 6) Michelson’s theory that the longitudinal mirror in his apparatus would displace from stationary ether and a propagating light ray in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion;[90] 7) Michelson & Morley’s theory that both mirrors in their apparatus should be displacing differently from stationary ether;[91]  8) Fitzgerald’s and Lorentz’s theory that the time interval difference existed but it could not be detected because of a physical contraction of matter;[92] and  9) Einstein’s theory that the difference in time intervals should result from the way time coordinates are measured.[93]

Theoretically, several of these different ether theories should have produced a specific time interval difference for light to propagate in a certain direction.  But Michelson never detected any difference in the time interval for light to propagate in any different direction of the Earth’s motion through space, nor has anyone else.

Apparently, no one has ever realized that all of these absolute theories and theoretical positions, motions, dragging effects, displacements of mirrors, decreases in the speed of light, distance intervals and time intervals of light propagation, measurements of time coordinates, and mathematical calculations of the same, and many absolute expectations were based on one completely false and impossible assumption:  the existence of a material substance called ether.

            Since we now know that the concept of ether (stationary, dragged along, or otherwise) was only a man made myth and does not exist, therefore the absolute place or position from which all of these theories, measurements, and computations were made or described also does not exist.  In reality, all of these illusionary theories, ‘measurements,’ ‘computations,’ and expectations were made with respect to ‘nothing.’  As George Gamow stated in his 1961 book:  “One cannot move with respect to nothing…one can speak only about the relative motion of a material body in respect to another [material body].”[94]  It also follows that one also cannot measure, describe, or calculate something with respect to nothing.  In this regard, let us also quote from Richard Feynman:

“You can only define what you can measure!  Since it is self-evident that one cannot measure a velocity without seeing what he is measuring it relative to, therefore it is clear that there is no meaning to absolute velocity.[95]  The physicists should have realized that they can talk only about what they can measure.”[96]

 

            These were the fundamental theoretical reasons why Michelson could not detect a greater distance/time interval for light to propagate in the absolute direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion through space, or in any other absolute direction of the Earth’s motion through space.  There was never anything to detect!  Such a greater or increasing distance/time interval for light to propagate in any direction with respect to nothing simply does not exist.  It was yet another ether myth.[97]  It is also self-evident that Michelson, Morley, Kennedy, Thorndike, and anyone else cannot detect (by any method) a time interval difference that does not exist.  Their elaborate efforts to do so were always an absolutely meaningless mission impossible!

            There was also another related theoretical problem:  Michelson’s experiments, the Kennedy-Thorndike experiments, repetitions thereof, and similar experiments were always assumed, described, interpreted, and believed to have resulted in ‘null results,’ because completely different results were absolutely expected.  However, all of these so-called null results actually resulted in empirically positive results, again because there was nothing to detect. 

There was no difference in ‘time intervals for light propagation through ether or space,’ that could be detected.  There was no greater distance or time interval for light to propagate between relatively stationary mirrors in any direction of the Earth’s motion through ether or space that could be detected.  There was no decrease in the velocity of light in the direction of the Earth’s motion through ether that could be detected.  There was no displacement of mirrors from a propagating light ray in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion, through the ether that could be detected.  The reason for all of these factors is that there is no such thing as stationary ether,[98] ether wind, or dragged along ether which could be detected either. 

            The scientific community simply refused to believe in all of these empirical results, and it still does.  There is a huge lesson to be learned from these unscientific facts.  That is:  always believe in and trust reasonable physical observations and empirical results over illogical theoretical expectations, unobserved theoretical phenomena, and over mathematical theories, equations and computations.[99]

            The real reason why there was no change in the velocity of light in any direction of the Earth’s motion through space is because the light rays propagating in Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments always propagated through the same medium:  clear air.  It is well known from the Index of Refraction that light always propagates through clear air at sea level at almost velocity c (only 0.0003 less fast).[100]  This is also the real reason why light was always detected to be c in every light experiment conducted in any inertial frame of reference on Earth, or in space.

The next real reason for Michelson’s null results is physical and empirical.  Let us postulate that the finite physical distance between two relatively stationary physical points (A and B) does not change just because such two points move in-tandem through space in any particular direction.  Such finite distance between A and B always retains the same finite magnitude.[101]  (see Figure 8.1)  The positive empirical results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments described this postulate, because no fringe shift was ever detected during either experiment.

In addition, let us also postulate that a light ray can only propagate at the constant velocity of c over any finite physical distance through the vacuum of space (or air), and that the velocity of such light ray at c does not change just because it propagates through the vacuum of space (or air) in any particular direction.[102]  (see Figure 8.1)  The positive empirical results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments also described this postulate, because no fringe shift was ever detected during either experiment. 

The fundamental reason for the last above postulate is because the medium (i.e. the vacuum or the air) through which the light ray is transmitting in Figure 8.1, is the primary determining factor for the velocity of the propagating light ray, and the medium never changed in either experiment.  Light always transmits through a vacuum at the constant velocity of c (300,000 km/s, the fastest speed that nature allows), because there are no particles of matter in a perfect vacuum to slow light down or change its direction of transmission. 

The velocity of the vehicle in which the light experiment is traveling has nothing to do with the velocity of the light ray within the vehicle.  For example, if one of the vehicles in Figure 8.1 was filled with water the light ray would propagate much slower in that vehicle (about 225,000 km/s).  The confirmation of these facts is the empirical index of refraction where light propagates at different velocities through different media.[103]

Because of these above described postulates, there can never be an increasing physical distance or a greater time interval for light to propagate between two relatively stationary physical points (A and B), regardless of their in-tandem motion through the vacuum of empty space in any direction.  Therefore, these postulates demonstrate the empirical validity of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s results.  There never was a greater time interval for light to propagate within Michelson’s or Kennedy’s apparatus in any direction.  These results have been demonstrated many times in many different reference frames.[104]  In Section 9 we shall further empirically demonstrate the validity of these postulates and of the above conclusions based thereon.

Another real, physical and empirical reason for Michelson’s so-called null results, which apparently has been completely overlooked by everyone, was that M & M were actually only attempting to measure (or compare) one slightly out-of-phase light wave relative to another slightly out-of-phase light wave.  (see Figure 4.3)  Such out-of-phase light waves created an interference fringe when Michelson slightly changed the distance of one mirror by fine tuning its micrometer screw.  M & M then assumed that the solar orbital motion of the Earth would change the distance/time interval which one light wave would have to propagate away from the ether.  But, to paraphrase Feynman, one can only assume that which one can measure, and one can only measure that which one can see.[105]  One cannot measure unobserved or undetectable phenomena.

Regardless of what M & M were assuming, and regardless of the direction that their apparatus might be pointing in, if the finite physical distance of each arm of his apparatus always remained the same, there could never physically be an interference fringe shift:  that is, a change of the relative phase positions of such out-of-phase light waves.  Stated somewhat differently:  As long as the physical length of each arm did not change (whatever its magnitude of distance might be), the relative phase position of each out-of-phase light wave would physically have to remain the same.  This was the empirical result of the 1932 Kennedy-Thorndike experiment where one arm was intentionally constructed much shorter in length than the other arm.  (see Figure 7.1)  Therefore, the specific finite length of each arm and the specific finite distance that each light ray propagated in any direction were always irrelevant to the occurrence of a fringe shift.

For all of the above real, physical and empirical reasons, a fringe shift could never physically occur when Michelson or Kennedy pointed the arms of his apparatus in different directions over a period of several months.  Michelson’s and Kennedy’s attempts to detect an interference fringe shift, or a difference in time intervals for light propagation in any direction, were always a mission impossible.  In order to visualize what actually happened in Michelson’s experiments, see Figure 8.2.

The next real reasons for Michelson’s null results are technical.  We have already described one of these technical reasons.  If the arms of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments always remained the same finite length, then a fringe shift (a change in the relative phase position of two slightly out-of-phase light waves) never could have physically occurred.  (see Figures 4.1 and 7.1)  The only way that a fringe shift could have occurred would be if Michelson or Kennedy would have slightly adjusted the distance of the focusing mirror with the micrometer screw in order to obtain a fringe.  (see Figure 4.2)  But since both scientists already had obtained an interference fringe, there was no reason for them to obtain another one.  And they never did.

A second technical reason was because M & M’s apparatus was located in the concrete basement of a building (with no windows) so that its sensitive instruments would not be affected by traffic, heat, sunlight, etc.[106]  If M & M had desired to visually detect the motion of the Earth’s solar orbital motion, or any other relative motion of the Earth, they could have mounted a 10-inch telescope on the roof of the building and observed the light paths of a passing luminous planet (i.e. Venus) or a luminous planet that the Earth was passing (i.e. Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn) through the lens of the telescope and calculated the solar orbital motion of the Earth over a period of months.

However, the solar orbital motion of the Earth could never be detected by the interference method employed by M & M or Kennedy & Thorndike from the basement of a building, because (unlike the telescope) there never was any material body which moved within the light paths of their interference experiment, which technically could be detected by any method.  The only motion which occurred within the light paths of their experiments was when the focusing mirror was adjusted by the micrometer screw to create an interference fringe.  For this simple technical reason, none of these scientists could ever detect anything else, and none of them ever did.


Section 9

EMPIRICAL CONFIRMATIONS OF THE CORRECT SOLUTIONS

 

One might ask:  Are there any empirical confirmations for the author’s aforementioned analysis and conclusions?  The answer is yes, and they are numerous. 

First of all, there were the so-called null results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments themselves, which have been reconfirmed by other experiments dozens of times.  Strangely enough, these so-called null results were actually positive empirical results, not null results, but Einstein and the rest of the scientific community simply could not believe them.  Instead, they trusted their spurious mathematical computations, their incorrect beliefs and their absurd expectations, which we now know were totally based on the false assumptions of ether and on the false analyses of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments themselves. 

Michelson’s empirical results could only be interpreted to be ‘null results’ by someone like Lorentz, who had an absolutely closed mind, who firmly believed in the existence of stationary ether in space, who absolutely expected Michelson’s results to be very different, and whose mindset would not allow any reasoning or thoughts to the contrary.  Unfortunately, there were many scientists like Lorentz in the late 19th century, and there still are.

The positive empirical results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments included the following facts:  1) that there is no ether (stationary, dragged along, or otherwise);  2) that light has the same velocity of c in every direction as it transmits through its medium of a vacuum;  3) that there is no increasing distance or time interval for anything (including a light ray) to travel or propagate between two relatively stationary objects in any direction of any motion, regardless of such object’s in-tandem motion through space; and  4) that unless relative motion exists within the light paths of a light experiment (i.e. the changing distance of one mirror by adjusting the micrometer screw), it cannot be detected by any method which is attempted within that light experiment.

The first positive result of such experiment is now self-evident.  No further confirmation is needed to realize that neither ether nor an ether wind exists.  They were both man-made myths.[107]   How could Michelson, Kennedy, or anyone else detect something that does not exist?

            With respect to the second positive result, the reason why light had the same velocity of c in all directions through its medium of a vacuum is also self-evident.[108]  Empirically, and by definition, there is nothing (i.e. no particles of matter) in a perfect vacuum that could slow the quanta of light down or change their linear direction of propagation.  Therefore, light transmits through a perfect vacuum at the maximum speed that nature allows.  That maximum transmission velocity of light through the medium of any vacuum is called velocity c.[109]

With respect to the third positive result, we must answer the question:  why is there no increasing distance or time interval for anything to move or propagate in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion?  The answer is because this spurious concept originated ad hoc in 1879 in Maxwell’s brain, and it could only be valid if there was an absolutely stationary material substance which existed in all of space, called stationary ether.  If stationary ether did exist in space, then there could be an increasing distance/time interval for light to propagate to and fro on Earth when the Earth is moving away from such stationary position in space.  But, since we now know that there is no stationary ether, it follows that there can be no increasing distance or time interval for light to propagate from nothing.[110] Even Einstein postulated that there is no such thing as ‘absolute rest.’[111]

Likewise, it is also self-evident that Michelson could not detect the solar orbital motion of the Earth or any other motion by light rays propagating to and fro between mirrors in his apparatus, unless such relative motion was within the light rays of his apparatus.  We not only know this logically, we also know it empirically.  When Michelson adjusted the micrometer screw on one mirror and caused it to move slightly, the interference between two light wave phases displaced or shifted slightly and formed an interference fringe.  This adjustment demonstrated that the apparatus was working properly, and that a detectable change in physical distance is what was necessary in order for a fringe shift to occur.  But thereafter this change of relative position of out-of-phase light waves never reoccurred, no matter in which direction of the Earth’s motion Michelson turned his apparatus over the next six months.

Even if the solar orbital motion of the Earth could have been detected, i.e. by looking through a telescope on the roof of the building and seeing the motion of the Earth relative to a passing planet (i.e. Mars or Venus), it could never have been detected by the interference method employed by Michelson and Morley.  M & M’s apparatus was located in the concrete basement of a building, and there was never any motion that could be detected within the light paths of Michelson’s experiment, except when Michelson slightly changed the detectable physical distance of one mirror by adjusting its micrometer screw.[112] 

Similarly, there was the 1851 Fizeau interference of light experiment.  When light was propagated through stationary water in Fizeau’s tube, there was no fringe shift detected in any direction of the Earth’s rotational or solar orbital motion.  It was only when the water began to physically move within the light paths of Fizeau’s experiment (in Fizeau’s tube toward or away from the light ray) that a fringe shift was detected.[113]  (see Figure 9.1)  This fringe shift was also proportional to the velocity of the water in each direction.

The positive empirical results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments also demonstrated other empirical facts, i.e. that the so-called contraction solutions asserted by Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Einstein were ad hoc, invalid and meaningless.  In addition, such positive empirical results demonstrated that Einstein’s relativistic concepts of his relativity principle, time dilation, length contraction, the Lorentz transformations, etc., had nothing to do with the results of Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments.  Therefore, it must be concluded that Michelson’s and Kennedy’s experiments (and any similar experiments or repetitions thereof) are not experimental confirmations of Special Relativity, as is often claimed by relativists.[114]

There are literally dozens of similar situations, experiments, and potential experiments that either confirm, or should confirm, Michelson’s and Kennedy’s positive results to be correct.[115]  For example, today, the velocity of light can be measured by lasers and electronic sensors to and fro between two relatively stationary points A and B on Earth, to be 299,792.5 km/s through the medium of a vacuum.[116]  Everyone should be extraordinarily confident that if this type of experiment was repeated in any direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion the same magnitude of velocity of light would be measured in each direction, for all of the reasons set forth in RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Chapter 12.

 


Section 10

 

WHY ARE THE REAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE MICHELSON & MORLEY NULL RESULTS IMPORTANT FOR PHYSICS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY?

 

Finally, we must ask the question:  Why is it important to know and understand the real reasons for Michelson’s null results?  First and foremost, because they demonstrate that Lorentz’s 1904 ad hoc transformation equations, that were invented to justify the contraction explanations of Michelson’s paradoxical null results, are merely meaningless, ether based equations.  By extension, all of Einstein’s Special Theory concepts and consequences that are based on such empirically invalid transformation equations are also empirically invalid and without any meaning.

Secondly, because such real reasons empirically confirm the facts described in Section 6, supra:  that Maxwell’s 1879 ether theory was merely ad hoc and meaningless.  By extension any concepts based on that theory, such as Einstein’s 1905 relativity of simultaneity ‘proof’ and Einstein’s moving light clock thought experiments, are also invalid, artificial and meaningless. 

Thirdly, because such real reasons demonstrate that Michelson and Morley’s null results, and any repetitions thereof or similar experiments, were not implicit confirmations of Special Relativity, by reason of Fitzgerald’s, Lorentz’s and Einstein’s contraction explanations.  Fourthly, because they empirically demonstrate just how ad hoc, artificial, unnecessary, unjustified and meaningless Lorentz’s, Fitzgerald’s and Einstein’s contraction of matter concepts really were. 

There are many other reasons, and we will suggest the following in no particular order:

 

1.      Because these real solutions quite probably will unlock other doors, explain other paradoxes, falsify other meaningless ad hoc concepts, and add to the knowledge of physics.

2.      Because, like Fermat’s last theorem, the M & M paradox has been puzzling scientists for over 120 years.  They now know that even the most baffling paradox has a rational cause.

3.      So that the metaphysical results and implications attributed to M & M’s null results and similar experiments will no longer be considered to be valid science.

4.      Because they empirically confirm the facts described in all prior sections.

5.      Because they empirically demonstrate just how artificial and meaningless Lorentz’s 1904 transformations really were, and why all theories and consequences based upon them should be considered to be the same.

6.      Because they demonstrate how artificial, unjustified, and meaningless Lorentz’s, Fitzgerald’s and Einstein’s contraction of matter concepts really were.

7.      Because they demonstrate that Michelson and Morley’s null results, and any similar experiments or repetitions thereof, are not implied confirmations of Special Relativity.

8.      Because they expose and tend to falsify all of such theories, concepts, and their progeny as being nothing more than ether based nonsense.  They inspire scientists to be skeptical and look elsewhere.


Table of References

 

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Bird, J. (1922). Einstein’s Theories of Relativity and Gravitation. Scientific American Publishing Co: New York.

 

Born, M. (1965). Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Dover Publications: New York.

 

Cropper, W. (2001). Great Physicists. Oxford University Press: New York.

 

D’Abro, A. (1950). The Evolution in Scientific Though from Newton to Einstein. Dover Publications: New York.

 

Einstein, A. (1917a). Relativity: The Special and the General Theory. [1961 Three Rivers Press: New York].

 

Einstein, A. (1922). How I Created The Theory of Relativity. [Translation, Y.A. Ono, Physics Today, August 1982, Vol. 35, No. 8].

 

Feynman, R. (1963). Lectures on Physics, Vol. 1. Addison Wesley Publishing Company: Reading, Massachusetts.

 

Fitzgerald, G. (May 1889). The Ether and the Earth’s Atmosphere. Science: A Weekly Newspaper. [New York, May 17, 1889, Vol. XIII, No. 328, pp. 390].

 

Gamow, G. (1948). One Two Three…Infinity. The Viking Press: New York.

 

Gamow, G. (1961). Biography of Physics. Harper & Row: New York.

 

Goldberg, S. (1984). Understanding Relativity. Birkhäuser: Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Halliday, D. (1992.) Physics, Vol. 2. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

 

Hoffmann, B. (1983). Relativity and its Roots. Dover Publications: New York.

Holton, G. (1973). Introduction to Concepts and Theories in Physical Science. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company: Reading, Massachusetts.

 

JMJ (2001 – 2010). RelativityofLight.com/1.0

 

Lorentz, H. (1895). Michelson’s Interference Experiment [Dover, 1952, pp.1-7].

 

Lorentz, H. (1904). Electromagnetic Phenomena [Dover, The Principle of Relativity, 1952, pp. 9-34].

Lorentz, H.  (1921) (need the rest).

 

Maxwell, J. C. (1862). On Physical Lines of Force [The Scientific Papers of James

Clerk Maxwell, Vol. 1, pp. 451 – 513, Dover Publications, 1890: New York].

 

Maxwell, J. C. (1864). A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field [The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, Vol. 1, pp. 526 – 597, Dover Publications, 1890: New York].

 

Maxwell, J. C. (1873).  A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. II [Dover Publications, 1954: New York].

 

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Michelson, A. (1881). The Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether. American Journal of Science, XXI. 120-129.

 

Michelson, A. & Morley, E. (1887). On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether. American Journal of Science, XXXVI. 333-345.

 

Miller, A. (1998). Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Springer-Verlag: New York. 

 

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Purcell, E. (1985). Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. 2. McGraw Hill Publishers: New York.

 

Resnick, R. (1968). Introduction to Special Relativity. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

 

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Wolfson

Table of Figures

 

 

Figure 3.1         Maxwell’s 1879 ether assumptions

 

Figure 3.2         A detailed illustration of Figure 3.1

 

Figure 4.1         Michelson’s interference of light experiment

 

Figure 4.2         What happened when Michelson adjusted the distance of one mirror in the

path of one light pencil?

 

Figure 4.3         Out of phase light waves can create an interference fringe, and relative

motion within the light paths of the experiment can create fringe shifts

 

Figure 5.1         Michelson & Morley’s incorrect 1887 concept of the assumed inertial path

of a light ray propagating laterally at an angle to the direction of motion

 

Figure 5.2         The correct rectilinear path of the transverse light ray in the 1887

Michelson & Morley experiment

 

Figure 6.1         Michelson’s 1887 theoretical difference in time intervals for a light pencil

to propagate along the longitudinal arm in the direction of motion, and obliquely to the displacing transverse arm in the Earth’s absolute direction of motion

 

Figure 7.1         The 1932 Kennedy-Thorndike experiment

 

Figure 8.1         Light measured at velocity c to and fro on two different reference frames

 

Figure 8.2         Two perpendicular light pencils propagating within Michelson’s apparatus

at 4 different times, in the absence of stationary ether

 

Figure 9.1         The experiment of Fizeau which determined the velocity of light in a

moving liquid

 

 

 



[1] The false assumption and computations that caused the M & M paradox are described and explained in Section 6.

[2] See Section 7.

[3] See Holton (1973), pp. 384, 386.  [Note:  ‘Ether’ was spelled ‘aether’ during much of the 19th century, and before.]

[4] Id., p. 391.

[5] The concept of ether was first mentioned by the ancient Greeks in an attempt to explain the motions of the Earth and the other planets around the Sun.  (Goldberg, pp. 46, 47)  Descartes’ ether hypothesis was also based on his abhorrence of a vacuum and his dislike of the concept of ‘action-at-a-distance’ with no physical contact.  (see Maxwell’s Papers (c. 1878), Vol. II, Ether, p. 763) 

[6] See Goldberg, pp. 82 – 85.  Vestiges of this conceptual problem still exist.  For example, a vacuum is not considered to be a medium by many physicists.

[7] See Hoffmann (1983), p. 56.  That light waves could oscillate in empty space, without some material medium which also vibrates, forms and supports the light waves, seemed to be an unthinkable concept to 19th century scientists, even without any empirical evidence to substantiate this conviction.  For example, Heinrich Hertz once stated:  “Take electricity out of the world, and light vanishes; take the luminiferous ether out of the world, and electric and magnetic forces can no longer travel through space.”  (Folsing, p. 159)

[8] For example, it must fill all of space as far as astronomers and their telescopes can observe light.  It must be “capable of transmitting [light] energy.”  (Maxwell’s Papers (c. 1878), Vol. II, Ether, p. 767)  It must be rigid, because it must support the extremely high frequency of light over great distances.  It must possess “elasticity similar to that of a solid body” (Id.) in order to account for the phenomenon of polarization.  It must be enormously strong in order to transmit light waves for vast distances at the velocity of light.  It must be intangible (have no mass), because how else could the planets and the moon pass through it as if it were not even there.  (Goldberg, p. 84, 85; Holton (1973), pp. 393 - 394)  If it had no mass, it would not be affected by gravity.  These hypothetical properties were “not shared by any known medium.”  (Bergmann, p. 27)

[9] See Lorentz, 1921, p. 793.

[10] The Latin phrase ‘a priori’ means ‘according to theory’ or ‘by cause and effect.’  (Webster’s Dictionary, p. 68)

[11] See Cropper, pp. 163 – 165; Purcell, p. 334.  Maxwell even believed that light was nothing more than a disturbance in the material ether.

[12] Hoffmann (1983), pp. 56, 85, 86; Goldberg, p. 86.  The term ‘absolute’ refers to any measurement made with respect to absolutely stationary ether.

[13]  See Hoffmann (1983), p. 86.

[14] Bergmann, p. 27.  In 1687, Newton conjectured that space was absolute, so that he could have something that his inertial motion could move relative to.

[15] It was not until the early 1920s that the scientific community finally began to realize that stationary ether actually did not exist.  In reality, it was just a man-made myth. 

[16] See Hoffmann (1983), p. 75.

[17]  Nature (1880), Vol. XXI, pp. 314, 315.

[18] Hoffmann (1983), pp. 75-76.

[19] Maxwell (1880), Nature, Vol. XXI, p. 315.

[20] Lorentz, 1895 [Dover, 1952, p. 3].  These theoretical displacements by Lorentz were also false assumptions.

[21] See Hoffmann (1983), p. 75.

[22] Michelson (1881), pp. 120 – 121; Hoffmann (1983), p. 76.

[23] Michelson (1881), p 120.  Contrary to Galileo’s assertions in 1632, Michelson believed that the inertial “motion of the earth in space can be made perceptible in terrestrial experiments.”  (see Einstein, Relativity, pp. 57 – 58; French, p. 50)

[24] Michelson (1881), p. 121.

[25] Id.

[26] Ibid.  This was a somewhat different theoretical reason for a time interval difference than Maxwell’s theoretical reason.  Some authorities state that Michelson was expecting an ‘ether wind effect’ in the direction of the Earth’s motion (see Gamow (1948), pp. 92 – 95; Goldberg, pp. 433 – 438)  Theoretically, an ‘ether wind’ was the same wind sensation that a woman on the bow of a fast moving ship feels “even though the weather may be perfectly calm.”  (Gamow (1948), p. 92)

[27] Id.  The magnitude of this miniscule theoretical time interval difference (T – T1) was equal to about 1,000,000,000,000,000th (one quadrillionth) of a second.  (Hoffman (1983), p. 76; Wolfson, p. 72)

[28] “By a first-order experiment, we mean one that is refined enough to detect magnitudes of the order of v/c where v is the velocity of the earth through the stagnant ether and c is the velocity of light.”  (D’Abro (1950), p. 132)

[29] See Goldberg, p. 90; Hoffmann (1983), p. 76; Halliday, pp. 960, 961.

[30] Michelson (1881), pp. 122 – 123.

[31] Michelson’s above described adjustment of distance of mirror M1 and the illustration of the relative positions of such out-of-phase waves will become critical for our later explanation of Michelson’s null result paradox.

[32] Id., pp. 122, 125.

[33] A priori a different time interval should also have been observed as a fringe shift when either light pencil was pointed in the direction opposite to the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion.  But Michelson observed no fringe shift in such opposite direction either.  (see RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Figure 9.8) 

[34] Michelson (1881), pp. 127, 128.  In effect, the result of the experiment was that T - T1 = 0. 

[35] Michelson also concluded from this null result that:  “the hypothesis of a stationary ether…is erroneous…This conclusion directly contradicts [the hypothesis]…that the earth moves through the ether, the latter remaining at rest.”  (Michelson (1881), p. 128)  Instead, Michelson believed (as did many other scientists) that the ether must have been dragged along with the moving Earth.

[36] These problems included vibrations (i.e. the location of the apparatus was near busy roads), difficulties in rotating the apparatus, variations in temperature, and the minimal distance (about 2 meters) that each pencil of light would propagate along each arm of the apparatus.  (M & M (1887), pp. 336-338)

[37] M & M (1887), pp. 337, 341.  During this second experiment, only the solar orbital velocity of the Earth was again considered, because Michelson & Morley acknowledged that “little is known [of] the motion of the solar system” relative to the motion of the other celestial bodies.  (Id., p. 341) 

[38] Id., p. 334.

[39] M & M (1887), p. 335.

[40] Id., pp. 335 – 336.

[41] Id., pp. 335, 336.

[42] See Sobel, pp. 206 – 207.

[43] Theoretically, if the transverse mirror was small enough and/or if the longitudinal speed of the apparatus was fast enough, the transverse light pencil might miss the theoretically displacing transverse mirror completely and continue to propagate rectilinearly into space (Figure 5.2B), or it might miss the beam splitter upon its return path.  In either impossible hypothetical case, Michelson would see no interference fringe at all.

[44] M & M (1887), p. 339.

[45] Id.

[46] Id., pp. 340, 341.

[47] Id.  The observed nominal fringe shift again averaged only about 2% of that which was expected.          M & M again attributed these nominal fringe shifts to observational error.  (M & M, 1887, pp. 340, 341)

[48] See Einstein, Relativity, p. 23.

[49] Actually, every moving body in the universe has an infinite number of different relative velocities with respect to all of the other moving bodies in the universe.

[50] Please go to RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Chapter 10B, to further understand just how unreasonable these misassumptions really were.  What physical process could cause the relatively stationary light source and mirrors in Michelson’s apparatus to physically displace in tandem from the emitted light ray?  The obvious answer is:  none.

[51] The empirical analogy for this last rationalization was the fact that it takes longer for a boat on Earth to travel a certain distance with and against the current of a river, than it does for the same boat to travel the same distance across the current.  (see Gamow (1948), pp. 92 - 96) 

[52] See Gamow (1948), pp. 92 – 96.  How reasonable or scientific were these rationalizations and analogies?

[53] The reader should realize that it is very difficult for the author to reasonably describe and explain totally unreasonable, ridiculous and false ideas in an understandable manner.

[54] See Hoffmann, 1983, p. 81.  Also, we now know that this explanation could not be correct, because we now know that there is no ether.

[55] Fitzgerald, Science Newspaper, Vol. XIII, No. 328, 1889, p. 390.  Fitzgerald, like almost every other scientist since 1887, believed in Maxwell’s 1879 theory, and that the light ray in the M & M experiment had propagated over a greater distance/time interval in the direction of the Earth’s solar orbital motion.

[56] See Born, pp. 219, 220.  A priori, the contraction could not be measured by the observers themselves, because their measuring rods would also shrink in the same proportion as the longitudinal arm of Michelson’s apparatus, as would everything else on Earth.  (see Lorentz, 1895 [Dover, 1952, p. 6]; D’Abro, 1950, p. 132)

[57] See Einstein (1917a), Relativity, p. 59. 

[58]Lorentz, 1895 [Dover, 1952, p. 5].

[59] Lorentz’s theory asserts that as the Earth daily rotates 90º on its axis, the side in the direction of its solar orbital motion continually contracts, and thereafter expands. 

[60] “One could hardly hope for success in trying to perceive such small quantities except by means of an interference method.”  (Lorentz, 1895 [Dover, 1952, p. 6])

[61] Id., p. 6.  Thus, for Lorentz, this hypothetical contraction solved the paradox of the null results.

[62] Lorentz, 1895 [Dover, 1952, p. 5].

[63] Born, p. 220.  Lorentz never stated a viable theory for what physically caused his hypothetical contraction and as Einstein later pointed out:  “this key hypothesis, …is not justifiable by any electrodynamical facts…”  (Einstein, Relativity, p. 57) 

[64] See Figures 3.2 and 6.1 for these ether calculations mentioned by Einstein.

[65] Einstein, Relativity, pp. 58 – 59.  This paragraph demonstrates that (even in 1917) Einstein was agreeing with some of the same false ether assumptions as the rest of the scientific community.

[66] Lorentz and Fitzgerald were attempting to save the ether theory with their contraction concepts, whereas Einstein was attempting to save ‘Maxwell’s equations for the constant velocity of light at c with his somewhat different ‘coordinate measurement of contraction’ concept. 

[67] Einstein, Relativity, p. 59.

[68] See Einstein, Relativity, pp. 59 – 60.

[69] Einstein, Relativity, p. 60.  This so-called solution is nothing more than Einstein’s ad hoc concepts of the ‘relativity of length’ and ‘length contraction’ which he asserted in his 1905 treatise on Special Relativity and his 1917 book entitled, Relativity.  (see Einstein (1905d), pp. 43 – 45, 49 – 50; Einstein (1917), Relativity, pp. 32 – 33, 40 – 41)

[70] See Resnick (1992), Physics, pp. 480 – 481.

[71] Resnick (1992), p. 472.

[72] See Born, pp. 254 – 255; also see Goldberg, pp. 126 – 130.

[73] R. Kennedy and E. Thorndike, Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time. [Physical Review (1932), Vol. 42, pp. 400 – 418].

[74] See French, p. 73; Resnick (1968), p. 27.

[75] Ibid.

[76] See Resnick (1968), p. 27.

[77] This means that light must propagate at different speeds in each arm.  Scientists arrive at this conclusion by considering the two arms to be like two “reference frames having quite different velocities.”  (see French, p. 73)

[78] For example, see French. p. 73.

[79] Ibid.

[80] See French, p. 57.  In other words, the velocity of the source is added to or subtracted from velocity c.  (also see Miller, pp. 264 – 265)

[81] See French, pp. 57, 58, 74; also see Dingle (1972), p. 206, and Halliday, p. 893. Einstein’s explanation of the photo-electric effect is based on Planck’s quanta theory of light, but Einstein’s Special Theory is based on the wave theory of light, so they are not much help.

[82] See French, p. 73.

[83] See Resnick (1968), p. 36.  Coincidentally, it turns out that both Michelson and Kennedy did empirically find that the velocity of light was c in any direction, and that this was one of the empirical solutions for their experimental paradoxes, but not for the reasons stated by Resnick.  (see Sections 8 and 9)

[84] See Resnick (1968), p. 37.

[85] See Miller, p. 18.

[86] Ibid.

[87] See Section 2.

[88] See Section 3.

[89] See Section 6.

[90] See Section 4.

[91] See Section 5.

[92] See Section 7.

[93] See Section 7.

[94] Gamow (1961), p. 173.

[95] The ‘absolute velocity’ that such scientists were trying to measure was the mythical velocity of the Earth away from stationary ether, which of course cannot be seen or measured because it does not exist.  It can only be theoretically assumed.

[96] Feynman (1963), p. 16-2.

[97] See RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Chapter 10, which describes more theoretical reasons for Michelson’s null results.

[98] Michelson did realize this fact in 1881 when he stated that:  “the hypothesis of a stationary ether…is erroneous…This conclusion directly contradicts [the hypothesis]…that the earth moves through the ether, the latter remaining at rest.”  (Michelson (1881), p. 128)

[99] For example:  If one mis-assumes that relatively stationary mirrors are displacing in-tandem away from an emitted light ray, one will always compute a greater distance/time interval for such propagation.  But if one does not make this false assumption, one will never compute a greater distance/time interval for such propagation.

[100] See Halliday, p. 905.

[101] Even if the two mirrors are assumed to be displacing from an absolutely stationary place in space (i.e. ether), they are not physically displacing from a light ray emitted from a relatively stationary light source that propagates to and from a relatively stationary reflecting mirror.  (see Figure 8.1)  Therefore, the physically finite distance from the light source to the reflecting mirror always remains the same.

[102] Even Einstein postulated this obvious fact.  (see Einstein (1922), pp. 24 – 25)

[103] See Halliday, pp. 892 – 893; see Maxwell (1865), pp. 582 – 583; Maxwell (1873), Vol. 2, p. 437.

[104] See Rohrlich, p. 55.

[105] Feynman (1963), p. 16-2.

[106] See M & M, p. ___.

[107] Even Einstein acknowledged this fact in 1917.  (see Einstein, Relativity, p. 59)

[108] Einstein also postulated this fact in 1922.  (see Einstein (1922), pp. 24 – 25)  But he never was able to explain why.

[109] See Maxwell (1865), p. 582.  This, of course, is a somewhat idealistic concept, because there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum.

[110] See Einstein, Relativity, p. 59; Gamow (1961), p. 173.

[111] Einstein (1905d), Electrodynamics [Dover, 1952, p. 37].

[112] See RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Chapters 9 and 12 for a complete description and explanation of these facts.

[113] See Gamow (1961), pp. 162 – 164.

[114] See Resnick (1968), p. 37.

[115] See RelativityofLight.com/1.0, Chapter 12

[116] See Halliday (1992), p. 892.  These measurements have an uncertainty factor of less than 0.05 km/s, they agree with Michelson’s results, and they have a similar limit of uncertainty.  (Id.)