HomeISANProjects/PartnershipsJohn Dobson MonthHistoryJohn DobsonAstronomy NewsNewslettersRecognitionArticlesGalleryTelescope PlansshopLocal ContactsBoard MembersNat'l OrganizersRegional Org.LinksResourcesSchedule/EventsFlyersIYA 2009Dark SkyPlanet EarthKey contacts

Waves and Fields

 
In 1802 Thomas Young did the double-slit experiment, and invented the
wave theory of light to explain his observations. In 1831 Michael Faraday
discovered electromagnetic induction, and invented field theory to explain those
observations. 1n1873 James Clerk Maxwell bought into both theories, and
suggested that light was an electromagnetic wave whose speed could be
measured with respect to what was then called the luminiferous aether. Then, in
1887, Michelson and Morley showed that the speed of light could not be
measured with respect to the aether_ Finally, in 1905, Albert Einstein, through his
rare insight, dropped the luminiferous aether idea but kept Young's wave theory
and Faraday's field theory in his 1915 general relativity theory, even though his
1905 geometry denies them both.
 
In Einstein's 1905 geometry, space and time come in as a pair of
opposites so that if the space and time separations between two events are
equal, their total space-time separation is zero. tf a light beam can get from one
event to the other in vacuuo, then their space and time separations are equal and
their space-time separation is zero. The "speed of light" is therefore not a speed
at all. It is simply the ratio of space to time. One light year is equal to one year.
And, since that puts the total space-time separation between the emission and
absorption events at zero for both gravitational and electromagnetic radiation in
vacuuo, we should, perhaps, dispense with both the wave and field theories in
the explanation of our observations.
 
Einstein took his famous equation, E = mc 2 ("in which energy is set equal
to mass") as he wrote it. However, it is usually taken to mean that mass can be
converted to energy, and that energy can be converted to mass, much, as in a
swinging pendulum, gravitational energy is converted to kinetic energy on the
down-swing and kinetic energy is converted to gravitational energy on the upswing.
But that equation would have been E m = K (The sum of mass and
energy is constant). That's not what he meant, and its not what he wrote. His
equation simply states that what we call mass is just potential energy as Swami
Vivekananda had suggested to Nikola Testa in1896. But if one fails to notice that
Einstein's geometry rules out the existence of photons and gravitons, because
the total space-time separations between their emission and absorption events is
zero, then there appears to be energy in the radiation state without mass, and
then, of course, Einstein's famous equation could not hold.
 
No one sees electromagnetic waves, and no one sees photons. All we
know about electromagnetic radiation is the emission and absorption events.
Let's stick to the observations!
 
As Thomas Huxley remarked when he ran into Darwin's theory of
evolution, "How extremely stupid not to have thought of that."
 
 
John L. Dobson, June 19, 2002
4135 Judah St. San Francisco, CA 94122 (415) 665-4054