Added 11/28/02, Modified 1/27/04

RELATIVISTIC EFFECTS

In order to try to understand the basis of what is known and what may be unknown about the laws that govern the way the universe works, it is first necessary to examine the current status of the physics of relativity and quantum effects. The conventional approach has been adapted here from a textbook [1] for general education and cultural courses in science called, "Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe". This serves as a basis for comments on possible omissions of fact or conceptual problems that have been missed or ignored.

I have been forced to the conclusion that Einstein "got some of it wrong" conceptually on his two theories of relativity, so that widely held beliefs based upon those theories need to be re-examined! Read on, and see if you agree with this conclusion. My comments appear in italics after various quotations from the references.

ATTEMPTS TO DETECT THE ETHER

"Although the existence of the ether may be inferred from the logical necessity to have a medium to support electromagnetic waves, it is clearly desirable to have some independent evidence or experimental data to verify the properties of the ether. There is a rather long history of attempts to detect the ether."

Ether has been loosely defined as something that is stationary in space, and through which we pass at a certain velocity because of the motion of the Earth, that permits electromagnetic waves and perhaps also gravity to reach out to the far boundaries of the universe.

Ether Drift Experiments

"Starting in 1881, Albert A. Michelson, a young American, began a series of experiments that were intended to apply an extremely sensitive technique for measuring the relative motion of the Earth through the postulated ether. The sensitivity of the 1887 apparatus was so great that it could have detected an effect smaller than expected by a factor of 40; however, the experimental results showed no difference in the round-trip times for two perpendicular wave-trains of light! Since then, the experiment has been repeated by many other investigators, but with the same results."

"One obvious conclusion to be drawn from the results, called a null result because no difference was found between the two wave-trains of light, was that the Earth drags some of the ether along with it. Measurements of star aberration with a water-filled telescope seemed to suggest that the ether was being "dragged" along close to the surface of the Earth."

"Because the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment implied that perhaps the local ether was being dragged along by the moving Earth, it was apparent that a direct test of the ether drag hypothesis was necessary. In 1893, a British scientist, Oliver Lodge, reported the result of an experiment designed to simulate the Earth's drag on the ether. If a very massive concrete disk is set into rotation, it should drag the ether in its immediate vicinity into rotation as well. Another less massive stationary disk placed just below the rotating disc would then have an artificially created circulating ether drift just above its surface. Contrary to what was expected as a result of the Michelson-Morley experiment, a null result was again found! There was no detectible difference between the two oppositely circulating light waves. Neither of these experiments had succeeded in demonstrating the presence of the ether".

Thus came the idea that the velocity of light was constant everywhere, because it apparently did not vary in Earth-bound experiments done in a single reference frame! However, there is a controversy about the speed of light being exactly constant as raised by the Sagnac experiments, which used a rotating light source.

"In 1892, two physicists, G. F. Fitzgerald in Ireland and H. A. Lorentz in the Netherlands, independently suggested a solution to the dilemma posed by the Michelson-Morley experiment. They suggested that the part of the apparatus which carried the upstream-downstream wave-train of light became shorter by just enough to compensate for the extra time required for the light to travel along the paths!"

"Lorentz was later (1899) able to justify this postulated contraction by pointing out that it was a consequence of the relative nature of the force between moving electric charges. He had been looking for some new transformation equations between different inertial frames of reference that would make the formula for the electromagnetic force invariant. One of the consequences of these new transformation equations, known as the Lorentz transformation, was that moving objects would contract by an amount depending upon their relative speed. Lorentz also found that time intervals measured at moving objects would become larger than expected. He called such expanded time intervals local time."

"A French theorist, Henri Poincare, suggested in 1904 that it was impossible to measure velocity in an absolute sense. He went beyond Lorentz and showed that the mass of an object increases as the object's speed increases. He also showed that there is a maximum speed which any object can attain, which is the speed of light. All of these ideas are included in Einstein's special theory of relativity."

Of course, the expressions used are the familiar E = moc2 for the energy equivalent of the rest mass, which is well proven in nuclear systematics studies, and KE = (mc2 - moc2) which is the well proven expression for the kinetic energy of particles in a high-energy accelerator, with the relativistic mass being m = mo (1/square-root {1- [v/c]2}). Hence, this latter expression really only says that the kinetic energy increases as a complicated function of the velocity, and not that the mass actually increases!

SPECIAL PRINCIPLES OF RELATIVITY

"In 1905, Einstein published a very important paper. In this paper he was not so much concerned with relative quantities, whose magnitudes depended on the frame of reference from which they were measured, but rather with invariant quantities, which would be the same in all inertial frames of reference. He enumerated two special principles that should be applicable in all frames of reference:"

"The first principle states simply that a relativity principle does exist. It particularly emphasizes that the principles of physics are the same everywhere. The second principle is the important new physical insight. The constancy of the speed of light is a significant result of all the experiments aimed at detecting the ether. Equally significant, these experiments confirmed that it is not possible to determine absolute motion. The speed of light turns out to be a natural speed limit because it is impossible, according to the Lorentz velocity addition formula, to add some additional increment of speed to an object to get it over the speed of light".

"The phenomenon exemplified by the slow-running clock is called time dilation. The time interval measured by the moving clock is calculated by dividing one second by the square root of [1 - (v/c)2] , where v is the relative velocity of the reference frames and c is the velocity of light. There is another effect observed in moving inertial reference frames, called length contraction, which is similar to the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction".

It should be pointed out that an alternate time correction derived by Hatch [2-5] apparently works better for synchronizing satellite clocks than the Lorentz formula.

If light speed is not isotropic, its implications on other cosmic problems have not yet been elaborated. Nonetheless, it is very comforting to essentially have a single velocity of light, based upon the idea that once emitted the light loses knowledge of its source, and the only major effect of relative motion is a wavelength shift.

"On a local scale, Einstein's general relativity indicates that if there exists a sufficiently concentrated mass, it could curve space back upon itself in the immediate vicinity. Such a situation has become popularly known as a black hole. The mass density required is tremendous. It is greater than that in a normal star, or even in a "neutron" star. Black holes are expected when a massive star eventually burns up its nuclear fuel and collapses. When the collapsing star reaches a size of only about 30 kilometers, it curves space around itself !! enough to become a black hole. Because nothing can escape from such a folded-space object, including light rays that will follow the curved space, the object is called a black hole. Because nothing can escape from the black hole, such an object cannot be seen, but has to be detected by its effects on other nearby objects".

The above definition of a black hole is nonsense. Actually, space is not really bent at all by strong gravity. Rather, light is attracted by gravity and made to accelerate around a curved path. In the case of a black hole, this path becomes a circle, and light acts as if it were totally reflected internally.

At the Milky Way galaxy's crowded core, scientists said on Jan. 6, 2003, there is new evidence that the black hole, which weighs about three million times the mass of the sun, is starved and cantankerous. The team used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with its unprecedented focus, sensitivity and ability to see fine detail to take the longest X-ray observation ever of the monster. The results from the 164 hour exposure showed that the black hole flared up several times at irregular intervals, presumably as it sucked in material such as gas or dust, which got squeezed and heated, twisted and accelerated as it neared the hole's event horizon. "We are getting a look at the everyday life of a super-massive black hole like never before. We see it flaring on an almost daily basis." The rapidity of the X-ray flares indicates they are occurring near the event horizon, but their weak intensity suggests that the black hole is starved for food.

Of course, it needs to be pointed out that gravity itself does escape a black hole, since that is what drags new matter inside the black hole and allows it to be seen in photos from the Chandra X-ray observatory. Van Flandern [10] points out that Einstein's Equivalence Principle , that says that "a uniform acceleration and a gravitational field are indistinguishable to an enclosed observer," is wrong, in the sense that the former provides both kinetic energy and momentum, and the latter does not. For both reasons, the curvature of space is really a false concept. Couple this with the failure of both theories of relativity to correctly predict clock synchronization, and this casts serious doubt on whether any of the Friedmann solutions to general relativity say anything valid about the expansion of the universe!

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References