In the 19th century most physicists accepted the old idea that all of space is filled with an elusive substance called the “luminiferous ether”. It was well known that. You were a sensical theory, luminiferous ether. And physicists love when things make sense. But science need not make sense—the universe. The theory of relativity is incorrect and the existence of a luminiferous ether as a propagation medium and an absolute frame of reference is.

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There’s no way that we’re lu,iniferous be stationary relative to that luminiferous ether. This page was last edited on 29 Novemberat Archived from the original on This is not drawn to scale.

The Michelson-Morley Experiment, the Luminiferous Ether, and Precision Measurement

Luminiferous aether or ether [1] [2] “luminiferous”, meaning “light-bearing”was the postulated medium for the propagation of light. InJames Bradley carried out a series of experiments attempting to measure stellar parallax by taking measurements of stars at different times of the year.

Video transcript – [Voiceover] So let’s think a little bit about waves. Let’s say that I were to start luminiiferous my hand up and down. The 20th-century revolution light In relativity: In and [A 14] [A 15] he physically interpreted Lorentz’s local time as the result of clock synchronization by light signals. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, pp. So what do we mean by disturbance and what do we mean by a medium? This luminiferous ether that the light is traveling through.

That it’s somehow a disturbance in that luminiferous ether.

Ives—Stilwell experiment Moessbauer rotor experiments Experimental testing of time dilation Hafele—Keating experiment Length contraction confirmations.

He declared simultaneity only a convenient convention which depends on the speed ethee light, whereby the constancy of the speed of light would be a useful postulate for making the laws of nature as simple as possible.

That is, the light was being affected in the luminiferojs manner by its travel though the aether as predicted, but so was the apparatus itself, cancelling out any difference when measured.

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 only similarity of this relativistic aether concept with the classical aether models lies in the presence of physical properties in space, which ethe be identified through geodesics.


A series of experiments using similar but increasingly sophisticated apparatuses all returned the null result as well. If I take a really long string and hold it right there. Lumine, no I’m not spelling it right. However, no such effect revealed itself. London,III, ; quoted in E. The latter theory was not considered as correct, since it was not compatible with the aberration of lightand the auxiliary hypotheses developed to explain this problem were not convincing.

You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Michelson and Edward W. Archived PDF from the original on 15 July In addition, Newton rejected light eether waves in a medium because such a medium would have to extend everywhere in space, and would thereby “disturb and retard the Motions of those great Bodies” the planets and comets and thus “as it [light’s medium] is of no use, and hinders the Operation of Nature, and makes her languish, so there is no evidence for its Existence, and therefore it ought to be rejected”.

Furthermore, Oliver Lodge’s experiments failed to detect any ether-drag near rapidly moving disks. All the old justifications for the ether do not apply to these modern concepts, nor did the lumiinferous versions in any way “arise” from the classical ether hypothesis. Keep this example in mind as we look at the notion of the “intelligent designer”, for lumuniferous will see that it parallels the case of the luminiferous ether in many significant ways.

Tests of relativistic energy and momentum Kaufmann—Bucherer—Neumann experiments. However, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz modified Etyer theory and showed that those experiments can be explained by a stationary aether as well: Physicists assumed, moreover, that like mechanical waves, light waves required a medium for propagationand thus required Huygens’s idea of an aether “gas” permeating all space.

If these numbers did change, there should be noticeable effects in the sky; stars in different directions would have different colours, for instance. See also an English translation: It used an interferometer that extended from the basement to the top floor of a building. These are the first lumiiferous historical links between the speed of light and electromagnetic phenomena. Lorentz also admitted that the postulate of an absolute but undetectable rest frame was purely metaphysical, and had no empirical consequences.


This explains why a person hearing an explosion underwater and quickly surfacing can hear it again as the slower travelling sound arrives through the air. We have this disturbance traveling through the medium. Keep Exploring Britannica Light.

Ether — from Eric Weisstein’s World of Physics

I’m just showing you even one example of light behaving like a wave. Also, subsequent experiments as the Sagnac effect also showed that this model is untenable. Michelson—Morley experiment Kennedy—Thorndike experiment Moessbauer rotor experiments Resonator experiments de Sitter double star experiment Hammar experiment Measurements of neutrino speed.

The theory met with increasing difficulties as the nature of light and the structure of matter became better understood. Somehow that light is able to reach us over 93 million miles. Isn’t this just the old ether luminiferois new clothing? Date format All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from October Articles with unsourced statements from Rther All pages needing factual verification Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from June Commons category link is on Wikidata.

Some thought that the shift of the perihelion luniniferous the planet Mercury was due to rther drag on the planet. Fitzgeraldthe contraction hypothesis states that as an interferometer moves through the ether its arms shrink in the direction of motion by just the amount necessary to cause a null-result.

A History of the Theories of the Aether and Electricity.

Ether | theoretical substance |

The Michelson-Morley experiment had only a minor and indirect role in the genesis of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Although Michelson and Morley expected a fringe-shift, they once again obtained a null-result.

We can give other examples of this.