Some long forgotten support for the aether
Today, most students
are taught that aether theory was an archaic theory that was only alive within the fringes of academia. This
is wrong. Many of the physicists who were instrumental in developing special relativity, quantum mechanics
and quantum field theory, (such fields often used to discredit aether theory today), were themselves either
for an aether theory, or at least open to the idea.
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories we have taken the following quotes
about the aether, and will add a few comments to the
quotes.
James Clerk Maxwell said of the aether,
"In several parts of this treatise, an attempt has been made to explain electromagnetic phenomena by means of
mechanical action transmitted from one body to another by means of a medium occupying the space between them.
The undulatory theory of light also assumes the existence of a medium. We have now to show that the
properties of the electromagnetic medium are identical with those of the luminiferous
medium." ^{[4]}
The luminiferous aether as defined at that time, was proven wrong by Michelson and Morley,
so the search for the true properties of the aether must go deeper than that.
Hendrik
Lorentz and George Francis FitzGerald offered within the framework of Lorentz aether theory a more elegant solution to how the motion of an absolute aether could be undetectable
(length contraction), but if their equations were correct, Albert
Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity could generate the same mathematics without referring to an aether at all. This led
most physicists to conclude that this early modern notion of a luminiferous aether was not a useful
concept.
Considering the fact that the Lorentz aether theory gave results compatible with special
relativity, we think it should have been more logical to view this as evidence of the viability of an aether
theory, rather than the contrary. If Einstein had not discarded the aether, he might have been able to
reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics.
Einstein sometimes used the
word aether for the gravitational field within general
relativity, but this
terminology never gained widespread support.^{[5]}
We may say that according to the
general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an
aether. According to the general theory of relativity space without aether is unthinkable; for in such space there
not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time
(measuringrods and clocks), nor therefore any spacetime intervals in the physical sense. But this aether may not be thought of as endowed with
the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea
of motion may not be applied to it.^{[6]}
This is in our opinion when Einstein totally lost the chance to reconcile general
relativity and quantum mechanics. The Kaether has in a special sense the properties he denies it, and it is
easy to track the collective effect of the aether, like with time, quantum mechanical fluctuations, all the
forces of nature etc. As soon as you know what to look for, the hard nature of the aether reveals itself all
the time. It seems like Einstein was blinded by the success of his elegant spacetime formalism, in which the
joining of space and time is a kind of renormalization act, which serves as taking the focus away from the
properties of the actual aether, and instead look at the minute differential pressure that exists within the
aether because of gravity. Hence also the “vacuum catastrophe”.
Quantum
mechanics can be used to describe spacetime as being nonempty
at extremely small scales, fluctuating and generating particle pairs that appear and disappear incredibly quickly. It has been suggested by some such
as Paul Dirac^{[7]} that this
quantum vacuum may be the equivalent in modern physics of a particulate aether. However, Dirac's
aether hypothesis was motivated by his dissatisfaction with quantum electrodynamics, and it never gained support by the mainstream
scientific community.^{[8]}
Robert B.
Laughlin, Nobel
Laureate in Physics, endowed chair in physics, Stanford University, had this to say about ether in
contemporary theoretical physics:
It is ironic that Einstein's most
creative work, the general theory of relativity, should boil down to conceptualizing space as a medium when his
original premise [in special relativity] was that no such medium existed [..] The word 'ether' has extremely
negative connotations in theoretical physics because of its past association with opposition to relativity. This is
unfortunate because, stripped of these connotations, it rather nicely captures the way most physicists actually
think about the vacuum. . . . Relativity actually says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of matter
pervading the universe, only that any such matter must have relativistic symmetry. [..] It turns out that such
matter exists. About the time relativity was becoming accepted, studies of radioactivity began showing that the
empty vacuum of space had spectroscopic structure similar to that of ordinary quantum solids and fluids. Subsequent
studies with large particle accelerators have now led us to understand that space is more like a piece of window
glass than ideal Newtonian emptiness. It is filled with 'stuff' that is normally transparent but can be made
visible by hitting it sufficiently hard to knock out a part. The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed
every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is
taboo.^{[9]}
One of the tests a modern aether must pass, is compatibility with relativity and quantum
mechanics. The dynamics of the interaction between elementary particles and the aether particles is adapted
in order to comply 100% with confirmed theories. But the notion of the aether as something you can see big
pieces of, seems totally wrong. It is the smallness and the pervasiveness of the aether “vessels” together
with its ability to transfer momentum, energy and spin, which are the main characteristics of the
aether.
Pilot waves
The pilot wave theory
is a nonmainstream attempt to interpret quantum mechanics as a deterministic theory (wikipedia). The first
example of this theory was presented in 1927 by Louis de Broglie. Main
articles: Pilot
wave and more modern
version of the theory: De Broglie–Bohm theory
Louis de Broglie stated, "Any particle, even isolated, has to be
imagined as in continuous “energetic contact” with a hidden medium."^{[10]}^{[11]}
Paul Dirac wrote in 1951:^{[7]}
"Physical knowledge has advanced much since 1905, notably
by the arrival of quantum mechanics, and the situation [about the scientific plausibility of Aether] has
again changed. If one examines the question in the light of presentday knowledge, one finds that the Aether
is no longer ruled out by relativity, and good reasons can now be advanced for postulating an Aether…… We
have now the velocity at all points of spacetime, playing a fundamental part in electrodynamics. It is
natural to regard it as the velocity of some real physical thing. Thus with the new theory of electrodynamics
[vacuum filled with virtual particles] we are rather forced to have an Aether".^{[7]}
That was close to really grasping what the aether is. But this view did not prevail.
Probably the renormalization done with spacetime is what make the quest hopeless for those starting from a
mathematical standpoint. Until you realize this, you run into contradictions everywhere. Contradictions that
can be of the order of 10^{100}.
John Bell in 1986, interviewed by Paul
Davies in "The Ghost in the Atom". He suggests
Lorentz
contraction is perfectly coherent, not inconsistent with relativity,
and could produce an aether theory perfectly consistent with the MichelsonMorley
experiment. Bell suggests the aether was wrongly rejected on purely
philosophical grounds: "what is unobservable does not exist" [p. 49]. Einstein found the nonaether
theory simpler and more elegant, but Bell suggests that doesn't rule it out. Besides the arguments based on
his interpretation of quantum mechanics, Bell also suggests resurrecting the aether because it is a useful
pedagogical device. That is, many problems are solved more easily by imagining the existence of an
aether.
The aether may solve most paradoxes in physics, for sure. Our the main point is that an
immensely energetic aether is easily detectable as soon as you know what to look for. Its manifestations are
everywhere, when you know the rules by which it works.
According to Albert
Einstein, “God does not play dice with the Universe”. And those
agreeing with him are looking for a classical, deterministic aether theory that would imply
quantummechanical predictions as a statistical approximation, a hidden variable
theory. In particular, Gerard 't
Hooft^{[14]} conjectured that: “We should not forget that quantum
mechanics does not really describe what kind of dynamical phenomena are actually going on, but rather gives
us probabilistic results. To me, it seems extremely plausible that any reasonable theory for the dynamics at
the Planck scale would lead to processes that are so complicated to describe, that one should expect
apparently stochastic fluctuations in any approximation theory describing the effects of all of this at much
larger scales. It seems quite
reasonable first to try a classical, deterministic theory for the Planck domain. One might speculate then
that what we call quantum mechanics today, may be nothing else than an ingenious technique to handle this
dynamics statistically.”
In their paper Blasone, Jizba and
Kleinert:^{[15]} “have attempted to substantiate the recent proposal of G.
’t Hooft in which quantum theory is viewed as not a complete field theory, but is in fact an emergent
phenomenon arising from a deeper level of dynamics. The underlying dynamics are taken to be classical
mechanics with singular Lagrangians supplied with an appropriate information loss condition. With plausible
assumptions about the actual nature of the constraint dynamics, quantum theory is shown to emerge when the
classical DiracBergmann algorithm for constrained dynamics is applied to the classical path integral . . .
”.^{[14]}^{[15]}
The approach described here seems quite interesting. But by starting out from the
mathematical side, they will easily miss the simplicity of the working mechanism of the aether. The Kaether
aims to be the most precise formulation of a Theory of Everything today. Forces by Proxy starts with gravity
and ends up explaining why quantum mechanics is the underlying mechanism also for relativity, with its very
distinct explanation of the exact nature of time and the processes underlying the uncertainty
principle.
Louis de Broglie, "If a hidden subquantum medium is assumed, knowledge of
its nature would seem desirable. It certainly is of quite complex character. It could not serve as a
universal reference medium, as this would be contrary to relativity theory."^{[10]}
Rather to the contrary, we would say that the Kaether has a quite simple character. The
according necessary properties of elementary particles are somewhat more complicated, but not really
difficult to grasp. However, it is true that we cannot fix any general reference frame, so nature must still
be seen as relativistic in this sense. But seeing the Kaether as a fundamental part of nature offers a huge
leap forwards in our understanding of the universe.
List of references for the selected quotes from
Wikipedia
1.
"Aether
"
, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
2. Born, Max
(1964),
Einstein's Theory of Relativity
, Dover Publications, ISBN0486607690
3. Isaac Newton The Third Book of Opticks
(1718)http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/view/texts/normalized/NATP00051
4. James Clerk Maxwell: "A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism/Part
IV/Chapter XX
"
5. Kostro, L. (1992), "An outline of the history of Einstein's relativistic ether concept", in
Jean
Eisenstaedt & Anne J. Kox,
Studies in the history of general relativity
3
, BostonBasel
Berlin: Birkhäuser,
pp. 260–280,ISBN0817634797
6. Einstein, Albert: "Ether and the Theory of
Relativity
" (1920), republished in
Sidelights on
Relativity
(Methuen, London, 1922)
7. Dirac, Paul: "Is there an Aether?", Nature 168 (1951), p. 906.
8. Kragh, Helge (2005).
Dirac. A Scientific Biography
. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. pp. 200–203. ISBN0521017564
.
9. Laughlin, Robert B.
(2005).
A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom
Down. NY, NY: Basic Books. pp. 120–121. ISBN9780465038282
.
10. Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie, Volume 12,
no.4, 1987
11.
Foundations of Physics, Volume 13, Issue 2
. Springer. 1983. pp. 253–286. doi
:10.1007/BF01889484
.
It is shown that one can deduce the de Broglie waves as real
collective Markov processes on the top of Dirac's aether
12.
Albert Einstein's 'First' Paper (1894 or
1895),http://www.straco.ch/papers/Einstein%20First%20Paper.pdf
13. Einstein,
Albert:
"Ether and the Theory of
Relativity
"
(1920), republished in
Sidelights on
Relativity
(Methuen, London, 1922)
14. R. Brunetti and A.
Zeilinger (Eds.), Quantum (Un)speakables, Springer, Berlin (2002),
Ch. 22
15. M.
Blasone, P. Jizba and H. Kleinert,.“Path Integral Approach to 't Hooft's Derivation of Quantum from Classical
Physics”,arXiv:quantph/0409021
Time and
relativity
As Lorentz later noted (1921, 1928), he
considered the time indicated by clocks resting in the aether as "true" time, while local time was seen by
him as a heuristic working hypothesis and a mathematical artifice. Therefore, Lorentz's theorem is seen by
modern authors as being a mathematical transformation from a "real" system resting in the aether into a
"fictitious" system in our observable reality
This is an interesting and partly correct view in the sense that the aether frame in which
light travels, is a preferred local reference frame. The aether frame of reference can only provide us with a
true time for a given location at a given time, but it can be seen as more fundamental than the relative time
in billions of different arbitrary objects of proper mass all having their own relative time
scale. The problem is that this local frame changes with the
surroundings. And it is perceived differently by different spectators, depending on their relative speed and
location. As will be demonstrated, time is truly dilated in all other frames of reference moving relative to
the local aether, and the speed of light is truly observed as a constant in all frames of reference. Therefore, it is difficult, if not
impossible, to determine the local reference frame in which light moves. Einstein’s spacetime is based on
how light moves, but since it is relativistic, spacetime changes according to the observers’ location and
speed.
We’re tempted to twist Orwell’s words and
say that “all frames of reference are
equal, but some are more equal than others”. When you calculate relativistic time dilation, this
is exactly what you look for. You try to find the most aetherlike reference frame available, and then
calculate relative time dilation. Kinematic time dilation has little to do with the relative speed of the
objects – then there would never be any time dilation to measure, since it is arbitrary which object is
considered at rest and which is moving. HafeleKeating omitted that problem when they calculated the
kinematic part of time dilation, by defining the local center of mass (the earth) as the reference point.
That was not the local aether frame, but when the test clocks should orbit earth then other variations in the
aether would cancel out. We take the following directly from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether
1. The
work of Lorentz was mathematically perfected
by
Henri Poincaréwho formulated on
many occasions the
Principle of Relativityand tried to
harmonize it with electrodynamics. He declared simultaneity only a convenient convention which depends on the
speed of light, whereby the constancy of the speed of light would be a useful
postulatefor making the laws
of nature as simple as possible. In 1900 and 1904 he physically interpreted Lorentz's local time as the
result of clock synchronization by light signals. And finally in June and July 1905 he declared the
relativity principle a general law of nature, including gravitation. He corrected some mistakes of Lorentz
and proved the Lorentz covariance of the electromagnetic
equations. However, he used the notion of an aether as a perfectly undetectable medium and distinguished
between apparent and real time, so most historians of science argue that he failed to invent special
relativity.
Poincaré, Henri (1900),
"
La théorie de Lorentz et le principe de réaction", Archives néerlandaises des sciences exactes
et naturelles, 5: 252–278.
Poincaré, Henri (1904/1906),
"The Principles of Mathematical Physics", in Rogers, Howard
J.,Congress of arts and science, universal
exposition, St. Louis, 1904,1, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin
and Company, pp. 604–622
Poincaré, Henri (1905b),
"Sur la dynamique de
l'électron"
[On the Dynamics of the
Electron],Comptes
Rendus, 140:
1504–1508
, and Poincaré, Henri (1906),
"Sur la dynamique de
l'électron"
[On the Dynamics of the
Electron],
Rendiconti del Circolo
matematico di Palermo, 21: 129–176,
doi:10.1007/BF03013466
Poincaré’s notion of an aether as a perfectly undetectable medium was 100% correct
regarding the theory of relativity. However, he is proven wrong on other points by quantum mechanics (but
less wrong than Einstein). It is easy to understand that nobody could grasp the true nature of the aether,
when even the aether’s most ardent supporters viewed it as undetectable. With today’s knowledge of the vacuum
energy in quantum mechanics, it seems a bit strange that most physicists don’t see the vacuum energy as the
hard footprint of an aether of some kind, and that the aether reveals itself most obviously through the
working of the uncertainty principle.
Poincaré distinguished between apparent and real time, which is correct in the way that the
time in the local frame of the light is more real than time in any arbitrary reference frame of matter
residing at the same location. The question is how real is the frame that we cannot detect? We would say the
reference frame of light itself is essential for the thought process necessary to ferret out the true nature
of the laws of physics. But a true time and a true reference frame is nonexisting. You can be happy with
your local curved space in which light travel, and call that your frame of reference, or the intersolar
space would be better, the space between galaxies would seem even more suitable, etc. You can always improve
on your reference frame by moving further away to more remote areas with less matter in its
vicinity.
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