What is the Aether?

Background

Also known as ether, the definition of the aether from dictionary.com is… “a hypothetical substance supposed to occupy all space, postulated to account for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space”.

The aether was commonly accepted by scientists until the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to detect an aether “wind” in an experiment in 1887. Numerous experiments following Michelson-Morley, with greater precision instruments, have also been unable to detect the aether. Following this experiment, scientists (including Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Neils Bohr and other famous physicists in the 1900s) had to build their theories and equations based on an assumption that there is no medium capable of propagating a wave in space.

The aether is a critical, missing component of physics that must be considered to explain the wave nature of matter. Any theory of waves that relies on the existence of an aether must explain the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment.

aether

 


 

Explanation

The aether exists and it is the medium for propagating light and other longitudinal and transverse (electromagnetic) waves across the universe. It is the fabric of our universe, consisting of tiny granules that transfer energy in the form of waves. In fact, it has a density property in the wave constants that appears in all of the energy wave equations. Without an aether, or without this density property, none of the calculations performed in this theory would be possible. Therefore, there must be an explanation to the null Michelson-Morley experiment if the aether exists.

A few years after the Michelson-Morley experiments were published, Hendrik Lorentz suggested the experiment apparatus failed to consider length contraction in the direction of motion. Lorentz would later have the Lorentz contraction factor named after him, and matter has been proven to contract. However, this explanation was disregarded in the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Now, computer simulations can be written that consider length contraction in the direction of motion and use the Lorentz factor in one arm of the interferometer. Without the Lorentz factor considered, the results are what Michelson and Morley recorded. The aether does not exist. With length contraction considered, there is a phase shift, indicating the possibility of an aether.

 

Without Length Contraction
What Michelson and Morley Witnessed

Michelson Morley experiment failed to detect the aether

Credit: Brilliant.org

 

With Length Contraction
Phase Difference – Expected Results to Prove an Aether Wave

Michelson Morley experiment with length contraction and possible aether

Credit: Brilliant.org

 

A separate simulation provided by Gabriel LaFreniere is available at Rhythmodynamics.

“On the one hand, the apparatus undergoes a contraction which cancels the waves’ speed difference. On the other hand, the beam splitter angle is increased in order to deviate the light beam in the correct direction. Finally, waves arrive in the scope without any phase difference.” — Gabriel LaFreniere

 


 

Video – What is the Aether?

The What is Aether video below provides a history of the substance of the universe and the debate whether it truly exists.