Tag Archives: speed of light

Ether to Relativity: The journey from light to darkness

We know that for waves to travel in space they need a medium. As a wave travels in a medium, the particles of the medium oscillate to and fro or up and down depending upon the type of the wave. For example as sound waves travel in air medium, the particles of air move to and fro, and this movement of particles results in alternate compressions and rarefactions in the medium. We know that sound waves also travel in liquid media (e.g. water) and some solid media. The particles of all these media also execute a similar to and fro waving motion when sound waves propagate through them. And we know that as water waves (or ripples) propagate in a pond, the particles of the medium (which is obviously water) oscillate up and down. So we consider water waves as transverse waves in contrast to sound waves which are longitudinal waves.

Then what about light? First of all, to the physicists of the pre-modern era, it was not clear whether light is composed of particles or waves. After centuries of debate on the nature of light, Young’s double slit experiment (1803) had confirmed that light behaves like waves. Half a century later, Maxwell, building upon the equations of electromagnetism, had calculated the speed of light waves as 3×108m/sec (referred to as ‘c’ by the physicists). These two developments posed two very difficult questions to the physicists of those days:

1) If light is a wave, then what is the thing which does the ‘waving’ or oscillation? In other words what is the medium for light waves? As far as scientists knew, there wasn’t any medium in the outer space. But if there isn’t really any medium in the outer space, then how could light, which behaves like waves, reach us from the Sun and other stars?

2) The next question that bothered physicists was that, if light travels at speed ‘c’, it is with reference to whom? Whenever we mention the speed of an object, there is always a reference frame to it whether explicit or implicit. For example when we say that a car moves at 100kmph, we mean that the car moves at 100kmph speed with reference to the road (or to a stationary observer on the road). Obviously the said speed is not with reference to someone who is inside the car or to someone who is following the car on a bike. Similarly the propagation speed of a wave is always mentioned with reference to the medium in which the wave travels. When we say that sound waves travel at speed of 330m/sec, the said speed, though not explicit, is always with reference to the medium in which the waves travel. So, when Maxwell calculated the speed of light as ‘c’, it implied that this speed must be with reference to the medium in which light waves should be travelling. But as just been mentioned, there isn’t any medium in the outer space as far as scientists know. But if there is no medium in the outer space, the speed of light that Maxwell calculated is with reference to whom?

Before the advent of modern physics with all its weird theories, scientists believed in the existence of an ever pervading medium called Ether. Everything in this universe including planets, stars etc were thought to remain suspended and move about in this stationary universal medium. And this putative Ether medium was thought to act as the medium for light waves (hence the name ‘lumiferous Ether’). Though there was no proof of its existence, the Ether hypothesis had enjoyed good support from the physicists of the pre-modern era as that was able to explain how light waves from outer space could reach us on Earth and also was able to provide the answer for the reference frame problem. But over a relatively short span of time, the above Ether hypothesis gave way to the weird theories of the modern physics. And we must talk about three things here which made physics ‘advance’ in the wrong direction.

Michelson- Morley experiment: Michelson presumed that when Earth moved through the stationary Ether medium, it would result in what is called as Ether wind. So he predicted that light beams made to travel to and fro in perpendicular directions i.e. one light beam passed parallel to the Ether wind direction and another beam passed across the wind, would take different times to cover the same distance. But to the astonishment of the scientific community, Michelson’s famous experiment failed to detect any difference in the times taken by the two light beams and thus ruled out any such thing called Ether wind. From this and other observations (aberration of star light), scientists concluded that there isn’t anything like Ether in our universe. (We will discuss later why scientists are wrong to assume so and will expose the misconceptions upon which this famous experiment was devised).

Light and Electromagnetic radiation: From the work of great physicists like Faraday and Maxwell, scientific community had learnt more about electro-magnetism and electromagnetic radiation. It became known that electromagnetic waves get generated from relative motion between electric and magnetic fields. And the scientific community had realised that light is a form of electromagnetic radiation and that visible light comprises only a small part of the total spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. And having discarded the Ether medium, the intelligent physicists had ‘understood’ electromagnetic waves as ‘self propagating’ transverse waves with electric and magnetic fields oscillating at right angles to the direction of propagation. While we the ordinary minds may not correctly grasp the physicists’ imagination of these ‘mythical’ waves of transversely oscillating electric and magnetic fields, the point to note here is that, according to the intelligent physicists, electromagnetic waves (i.e. light waves) do not require any medium to propagate in space unlike mechanical waves (e.g. sound waves).

Emitter theory: But the above ‘understanding’ of the scientific crowd on EM waves had made the second question even tougher to answer i.e. if EM waves are self propagating and if they don’t require any medium , then Maxwell’s calculated speed of electromagnetic waves is with reference to whom?

At this juncture, some scientists believed that the calculated speed of EM waves must be with reference to the source that generated them (Emitter theory). But observations on neutral pion decay didn’t seem to support the ‘emitter theory’. Scientists observed that light photons (EM waves) travelled at the same speed ‘c’ whether they were emitted by fast moving particles (neutral pions) or slow moving particles. In other words, light photons’ velocity didn’t vary with the velocity of the source unlike the case with projectiles in our everyday world!

Another argument against the emitter theory was that Electromagnetic waves get generated when there is relative motion between a magnet and a conductor (e.g. copper wire). In other words, a source of EM waves contains two basic components (a magnet and a conductor) both of which move relative to each other. So if we assume that Maxwell’s calculated speed of EM waves is with reference to the source, which one of the two components of the source shall we consider as representing the source? I.e. shall we swear upon the magnet’s frame or the conductor’s frame as representing the reference frame of the source as a whole?

Imagine that we kept a magnet at rest and moved a copper wire with speed ‘v’ with respect to the magnet and generated EM waves. Here we may assume that the so generated EM waves travel at speed ‘c’ with reference to the magnet because this was the one at rest. In that case obviously the speed of the same EM waves becomes ‘c+v’ in the reference frame of the copper wire. But because motion is relative we can argue that it was actually the copper wire that was at rest and hence the Maxwell’s calculated speed ‘c’ must refer to the copper wire’s reference frame and not to the magnet.

But how can the generated EM waves travel at the same speed with reference to both the magnet and the conductor which are moving relative to each other? In other words, how can a light beam travel with the same speed ‘c’ with reference to two different objects in two different reference frames?

Emitter theory thus failed to solve the reference frame issue and the scientific turmoil continued. Amidst this scientific turmoil came Einstein with his weird and ‘wonderful’ theory of special relativity which mesmerised the confused scientific folk and ‘solved’ the reference frame issue. He said that the speed of light waves (i.e. electromagnetic waves) remains the same to every observer irrespective of one’s state of motion or reference frame. Special theory of relativity woven upon this weird law of constant speed of light then lead to the weird propositions of time dilation, space contraction etc and later paved the way for another weird theory called general relativity.

Now we will analyse each of the above things that mislead the scientific crowd and allowed the weird theories to sprout and flourish in the realm of science masquerading as modern physics.

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An Introduction to the weird theories

Relativity Theory

In our everyday world we know that different observers measure the speed of a moving object differently depending upon their own speed. For example an observer standing on a platform may measure the speed of a motor bike as 100kmph. Another observer travelling in a bus at 40kmph in the same direction will measure the speed of the same motor bike as 60kmph. And the motor cyclist himself will measure the speed of his bike as zero with reference to him. So the speed of any object is relative and depends upon the reference frame of the observer. This is what commonsense tells us. But apparently this commonsense can’t be applied to Light. Relativity preaches us that light always travels with the speed ‘c’ (3×108m/sec) irrespective of the reference frame of the observer.

 If we ask why, some relativists put that down to Maxwell. It is true that Maxwell had deduced the value of ‘c’ (speed of light) mathematically after experimenting on electromagnetism but he didn’t know to which reference frame this speed of light applies. While scientists were pondering on this reference frame issue, Einstein mesmerised the scientific folk with his weird maths and said that the SOL (3x108m/sec) deduced by Maxwell must be applicable to every observer irrespective of their reference frame and made the crowd to believe in the absurd law he proposed i.e. the law of constant speed of light.

Having lost the commonsense, the mesmerized scientific folk then interpreted every experiment as proof of relativity. As discussed elsewhere no experiment straight away supports any notion, rather we the humans apply our commonsense, interpret the data and decide whether the experimental data supports a notion or not. So we need commonsense and reasoning to interpret any experiment. But the mesmerized scientific folk had abandoned them in favour of weird maths. Great physicists like Stephen Hawking believe that our commonsense and logic may get affected by our earthly ‘illusions’ but not our mathematics. Scientists argue that what we see and how we experience the world depends upon how our brain processes and interprets the data it receives from the sense organs. So, what we see and experience i.e. our perceived reality may not be the actual reality, and another creature’s brain may interpret the same in a different way depending upon its neuronal anatomy and physiology. So our ‘picture’ of the universe could just be an illusion created by our brain. Hence the physicists argue that our logic and commonsense can’t be sworn upon to explain Nature and its actual behaviour.

But then, how come mathematics which is also the result of our brain’s activity can be relied upon any better? How come only Logic gets affected by our earthly illusions but not mathematics? I believe that Logic is the basis of all our knowledge and understanding of the Nature. And logic is the basis of mathematics. If some mathematical model predicts something that is against logic, there is no reason to discard our logic and uphold the mathematical prediction. Every mathematical model, however complex it may be, is ultimately built upon bits of simple reasoning and logic. Then how can mathematics contradict logic? How can anything contradict its own basic pillars of foundation and still be valid? 

Most physics students do agree that the theory of relativity is weird, but they put that down to their ignorance and inability to grasp the ‘complex’ mathematics behind the theory (like the crowd in the Emperor story who believe that it must be their ignorance that is stopping them from appreciating the Emperor’s magical costume!). And to progress in their career, students have to believe in the weird theory and live up to the expectations of their professors (who themselves have also gone through the same indoctrination process as students). After years of chanting and studying the same physics, some ‘bright’ students at some point of time in their career get ‘enlightened’ and they ‘realize’ that relativity is not at all weird but actually represents the ultimate reality or truth. Having studied and chanted the weird theory for years, now they don’t see anything weird in relativity. And having suppressed common sense during all these years of study, now it is the commonsense that appears weird to them.  At this stage they get opportunities to join and interact with the top class physicists of the world (who had also gone through the same phases of ‘transformation’) and keep spreading the weird science. This is how science students ascend in their career and become physicists. And the process is no different from someone becoming a priest.

But most science students aren’t ‘bright enough’ to reach to that celebrity stage and hence settle somewhere much down in the social hierarchy of the ‘science religion’. And they continue to believe that it is their ignorance that stops them from fully understanding the weird theory and from experiencing the truth. “Because the theory has been endorsed by all the top class physicists, and accepted and taught all over the world, though the theory sounds weird and its predictions absurd, it must probably be true” an average student is right to think this way. But a logician doesn’t blindly believe in what the majority think or what some celebrity professors and scientists teach. Every scientific theory is amenable to logical deduction unless it is based upon some weird magical assumption. As I said earlier, Logic is the basis of all our knowledge including science and it can’t be defeated by weird theories masquerading as science.  In this work I have argued why the theory of relativity and its predictions are absurd and illogical by all means of reasoning. I have also exposed the distorted interpretation of many experiments which the mesmerized physicists claim as proof of the weird theory.

Overthrowing someone’s theory doesn’t automatically make that someone stupid. For example Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the Universe was thrown away later by better reasoning in the wake of newer information gained as part of the mankind’s ongoing quest to understand Nature. But that shouldn’t make Ptolemy and his followers any stupid, because the model was true and very much logical up to that point of time. But that’s not the case with the theory of relativity. We don’t need any newer information or more sophisticated experiments to disprove the absurd theory which the modern physicists hail as the greatest scientific theory and whose principles they chant every day. Disproving relativity just involves exposing the relativists’ weird thinking and their stupid interpretation of the various experiments. So unlike the case with the Ptolemy’s Geocentric theory, disproving relativity also proves relativists as stupid.

The stupid thinkers claim that their weird theory has been proved beyond doubt by many experiments. Obviously no experiment straight away supports any theory but the data needs logical interpretation to arrive at correct conclusions. If some folk strongly believes that our world is fundamentally weird and hence declares that logic isn’t the best way of understanding nature, how can we expect such weird folk to draw logically valid conclusions out of any experimental data? No doubt that, physicists are the most intelligent crowd amongst the humans and I agree that we all need to respect them for advancing our knowledge and technology. But what if they get affected by a mania and that mania masquerades as science? It will be a big shame not only for them but to all the humans. It will also be a shame to our Planet Earth if some aliens realise how stupid the most intelligent race on earth thinks! So to save science from weird theories and to save ourselves from the embarrassment, our physicists must be rescued from the relativity mania.

Quantum ignorance

Quantum physicists are not as stupid as relativists – While relativity starts with the weird assumption of constant SOL and is supported by false interpretation of experimental observations (which could have been easily explained by classical science unlike what the relativity maniacs claim), quantum physics is ‘woven’ to explain some ‘really’ weird observations to which classical physics couldn’t offer logical explanation. For example the results of double slit experiment suggest that an electron travels via both the slits simultaneously. This observation and others forced the physicists to propose the weird laws of the quantum world.

While I don’t call quantum physicists as stupid, I blame them for one reason- Rather than trying to find out the missing logical ‘link’ connecting the classical and quantum worlds, the ‘tired’ physicists have taken the easy path of ‘blaming’ the Nature for being weird at the quantum scale. They teach that events in the quantum world (e.g. radioactive decay) occur ‘by chance’ or at random and hence what we can expect to know is only the probability of such events. For example we can only know how many atoms in a given radioactive substance may decay in a certain period but can’t exactly predict which individual atom decays and when. Apparently even Nature doesn’t ‘know’ when each individual atom decays. The overconfident physicists claim that they know as much as the Nature knows and the reason why they are unable to accurately predict any individual event at the quantum level is because Nature itself doesn’t know! In other words, we are ignorant because the Nature is ignorant. This is where I feel the quantum physicists are wrong. We can accept that quantum world is weird and hence we are unable to accurately predict individual events in the microcosm but that weirdness and unpredictability of quantum world must be to do with our ignorance and inability. 

Of course, its again the Relativity religion which distorted the face of science altogether and there by necessitated establishment of the quantum religion. If only physicists hadn’t misinterpreted Michelson’s experiment and thus forced the scientific community abandon the Ether theory, quantum physics with all its absurd notions wouldn’t have come into existence. Because, then physicists would have realized that Ether model would provide a very simple and straight forward explanation for the double slit experiment. But unfortunately, as Ether was ‘disproved’, the later physics pastors had no choice but to establish the quantum religion with all its mythical and illogical notions in order to explain the results of double slit experiment.