Post by Siri Cruise
Post by LinuxGal Post by Siri Cruise
Post by LinuxGal Post by Davej Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Quarks cannot be detected in isolation. There is no evidence
for string theory. The Higgs Boson is nonsense.
Relativity seemed like nonsense when it was proposed. It still
seems like nonsense even though it has now been proven.
It only seems like nonsense when you bring along
pre-Galilean, Aristotlean, absolutist baggage.
It also repudiates Galilean baggage in which the measured speed
of light depends on the speed of the light source.
No, no, Galileo was the first crack in the absolutist dam.
Galileo's principle of relativity states "It is impossible
by mechanical means to say whether we are moving or staying
Galilean Relativity is that two inertial frames observing each
other will measure the same durations, lengths, weights in each
frame as the same and measured speed of light will differ by the
speed difference. Special Relativity assumes the measured speed
of light will be constant with conservation of momentum and
energy which requires measurements of durations, lengths, and
weights to differ.
Galileo was a vast improvement on Archimedes because Archimedes
pontificated while Galileo experimented. But Galileo had neither
the math or experience to go further. Newton had better math but
still not good enough.
I don't think the issue was math. Most of special relativity does not require math that was unavailable to Newton. General relativity certainly does, but not special. Newton would have had no reason to doubt that Galilean relativity was correct. Maxwell's electromagnetic theory was unavailable to him. Nobody had the slightest problem with Galilean relativity until it was observed that Maxwell's equations are mathematically incompatible with the Galilei transformations.
This was why they came up with the ether theory. (By the way, we should not look down on 19th century scientists for believing in the ether. Their rationale was sound enough, just wrong.) The ether accomplished two things. First, they had figured out that light is EM waves and they were unhappy thinking of a wave as a mathematical abstraction. They wanted a mechanical conception of waves and they thought a wave should have a material medium through which to propagate. Hence the ether, a mysterious "substance" that fills the universe and transmits EM waves, but interacts with nothing else. They also thought the ether theory would explain why Galilean relativity did not work for electromagnetism. They supposed that the universe has a privileged frame of reference in which the ether is stationary. In that frame the Maxwell equations are exactly valid. The high accuracy of the Maxwell theory we observe in the lab would follow if the speed of the earth through the ether is small compared to the speed of light.
Einstein was not satisfied with the idea that relativity did not apply to EM theory. We observe EM phenomena that are relative all the time. He pointed out that of one moves a magnet past a conductor, the time changing magnetic field causes an electric field, and therefore a current, to pop into existence in the conductor in accordance with Faraday's law. But one gets the identical current in the conductor if one holds the magnet still and moves the conductor. Clearly on the relative motion is relevant here. Einstein concluded that a properly formulated theory of relativity MUST apply to electromagnetism as well as mechanical phenomena. Then he put together special relativity with the help of some math that had been worked out by Lorentz and Fitzgerald and others. Poincare was also on track to develop SR, but Einstein got there first.
Who but Einstein would have had the intellectual courage to explore the possibility that Maxwell's equations were more exactly accurate than Newtonian mechanics?