"The Dilemma of the Michelson Morley Experiment"
by Donald Louis Hamilton
Michelson and Morley had discovered an ultimate concept of cosmology
but had rejected the results as improbable. They just couldn't grasp the ultimate reality -
THAT A BODY DOES NOT MOVE RELATIVE TO ABSOLUTE SPACE.
Back in the 17th century Galileo began offering observations that supported Copernicus's revolutionary new "Heliocentric" theory that the planet Earth was revolving around the Sun rather then the Sun revolving around the Earth. For centuries the ancient astronomers took it for granted that the Earth was stationary with the sun and planets revolving around it.
Then Copernicus came along and published his book that stated - the Earth was revolving around the sun. He was so fearful of the consequenses of his revolutionary theory that he waited until he was on his death bed before he published his book. Copernicus's ideas were too radical to be taken seriously at first - that is until Galileo built his telescope and began discovering moons revolving around Jupiter and the different phases of Venus as it revolved around the sun. The Earth was not stationary after all - the ancient astronomers were wrong. But where they??
The debate is not over yet, there is a very controversial cosmological concept that has to be considered before this debate can be laid to rest for good. I feel that the ancient astronomers and Copernicus were both right to a certain degree. How could that be?? How could they both possibly right?? How could the Earth be both moving and stationary at the same time. We know from obsevation that the Earth is moving - relative to the other solar bodies - so how could it be stationary too.
For that we have to move forward in time a couple of hundred years to when Michelson and Morley carried out their famous experiments to show that the Earth was indeed moving - not only relative to other bodies but also through the aether, through space itself. But when they performed their experiment they could detect no intereference of the converging light beams on their interferometer apparatus. No matter what direction they turned the apparatus no difference in the velocity of the light beams was detected.
They thought that their experiment was a complete "failure", they could find no evidence that the Earth was moving at all. Something was radically wrong. Michelson tried experiment after experiment for the rest of his life and could find no evidence that the Earth was moving relative to an aether or to space.
This sent the physicists into a quandary, Michelson thought his experiments were all failures - what was he doing wrong?? How could he detect the Earth's motion. Michelson thought maybe the Earth dragged the aether along with it but a later experiment proved that this was not the case. Other scientists also tried various experiments and all failed. Or did they??
George Fitzgerald, an Irish physicist, came up with the adhoc explanation that, as the Earth sailed through the heavens it "contracted" in the direction it was going just enough to compensate for its forward motion (how convenient!). Hendrik Lorentz, a dutch physicist, had the same idea but he put it down as mathematical equations that became known as the Lorentz transformations.
Einstein liked these equations so much that he used them in his "Theory of Special Relativity". Nature had played a cruel trick on us, we could never know which direction we were headed. The physicists of the 20th century never accepted the results of the M/M experiment - the idea that indicated the Earth was motionless relative to space, even though no experiment could show otherwise.
Perhaps the Earth is indeed motionless (stationary), relative to absolute space. If this is the case both, Copernicus and the ancient astronomers would be right. The Earth moves relative to other bodies but it is stationary relative to absolute space itself. If the results of Michelson & Morley's experiments were taken at face value - they had discovered that bodies do not move relative to space itself. A revolutionary discovery! Their experiments would be a prodigious step towards a better understanding of how the universe actually works.
When considering space alone (without matter or energy), space is a single indivisible entity from one end of the universe to the other. A body cannot pass from one part of space to another part of space because it is all one, there is nothing to compare with the body's motion. A single body - relative to space itself is motionless. If accepted, this concept would have a profound effect on the concept of the constancy of the speed of light in space.
Relative to space itself - all bodies including the Earth are motionless. Whenever light is emitted from any body whether it is a star or an atom - the only thing taken into consideration is the motionless emitting body and the photons. The photons will always travel away at the speed of light. (I call it inertial infinity).
When the "motionless concept" is used with the constancy of the speed of light, Einstein's thought experiments fall apart. If a beam of light crossed Einstein's accelerating elevator it would not be deflected one bit as it crossed from one side to the other because the elevator is not moving - relative to space. Also in the other thought experiment when light travels from the center of an accelerating room it will strike all the walls at the same time - again because the room is not moving - relative to space.
When it comes to the emission of light - the emitting body must always be considered stationary. A beam of light will always travel away from the emitting body and be reflected back to it at the same speed no matter which direction it is emitted.
All Motion is Relative!
All motion is relative, bodies only move relative to other bodies or some other reference. When there are no bodies or references such as in empty space, the body is motionless (stationary). There is no possible way to detect the motion of a body in absolute space without using some other reference to discern the motion. There is no change in the position of the body relative to absolute space. Nothing moves relative to space itself. The Earth, relative to absolute space, is stationary. (and so is everything else.)
I feel, the Michelson/Morley experiment was the pivotal experiment of the late 19th century. It sent much of the science community down the wrong path to reality when they refused to accept the results of this crucial experiment.
So far as I know - no scientists have accepted the obivious results of the experiment, they all went with the Lorentz, Fitzgerald, adhoc "contraction" concept instead. (Einstein even used Lorentz's equations in his Special Relativity theory.) If however the results of this famous experiment were accepted as they should have been, then both Copernicus and the ancient astronomers were both correct to a limited degree. The Earth is motionless relative to space but certainly does move relative to other bodies. Nothing moves relative to space itself. Michelson and Morley had discovered an ultimate concept of cosmology but had rejected the results as improbable. It didn't make sense. They just couldn't grasp the reality of how the cosmos really works.
Donald Louis Hamilton - author of; The 'MIND' of Mankind: Human Imagination, the source of Mankind's tremendous power!
Ref: The MIND of Mankind, Suna Press 1996 - Chapter 16: The Michelson-Morley Experiment.
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