1 - Aether 

 

We will re-examine here the case for the existence of an all pervading aether that sustains, and is responsible for, all physical phenomena that we see around us.
  Re-emergence of the Aether
  The Michelson-Morley Experiment
  Other Difficulties with the Aether Model
  A Working Model of the Aether
Re-emergence of the Aether 
The aether concept has been around for some time, the modern version of it was first put forward in the 18th century in order to explain the wave nature of light.
This was later abandoned because certain experiments seemed to contradict this idea. The chief of these being the ‘null’ result of the Michelson-Morley experiment.
To this day scientists unquestioningly accept the idea that light exists independently of any medium.

The notion that one can have a wave without anything doing the ‘waving’ seems to this author to be an absurdity, and is in itself a good reason to re-examine the whole issue of the aether.
But in fact there a number of other advantages to the aether model, many of which we will consider in these pages.

When one looks into the matter one discovers that there many problems with Einstein's theory of relativity.
Milan Pavlovic has carefully examined Einstein's original special relativity papers and found them to contain many inconsistencies and questionable assumptions [1].
Further he looked at the experimental evidence used to justify the special theory of relativity, such as the Michelson-Morley experiment, the Doppler effect for light, Fizeau's light through water test, aberration of starlight. He showed that most of these could be understood in non-relativistic terms or with the assumption that the earth entrains the aether.
Also the unresolved contradictions relating to the twin paradox and time dilation (see our Relativity page for a discussion of these) add further doubt as to the validity of the special theory of relativity.
Note that we are not questioning the correctness of the relativistic formula, just the special theory of relativity and its postulates. Lorentz derived the relativistic formula prior to Einstein based on the aether model and the results of experiments in electrodynamics. 
See also Burniston Brown's classic article [2] that takes a critical look at the special and general theories of relativity, as well as the Marcus Coleman article [3] that catalogs objections by well known physicists and mathematicians to Einstein's relativity theory.
Further experimental support for the existence of the aether is provided by Webster Kehr [4].

Another important finding comes out of Harold Aspden's energy of rotation experiment [5].
He spun a permanent-magnet rotor up to its rated speed. He found that if the rotor is brought to rest and spun up again within a minute after stopping, it required only 30 Joules to bring it to the same speed as compared to 300 Joules for the first attempt!
The importance of this experiment is that it strongly points to a medium that is affected by the first spin and which in turn affects the second spin.
The most plausible explanation lies with a medium like the aether in which one can imagine the first spin creating something like an aether vortex (see Inertia section) which persists for a time after the object stops spinning.
Standard theory is unable to explain such an effect - this includes the zero point field theory.
Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) has led to the concept of electromagnetic fluctuations spontaneously arising out of the 'vacuum' [6].
This represents a kind of medium that can interact with the charge components inside matter.
Such interactions with matter have been proposed as an explanation for inertia, among other things [7].
This theory, while plausible in the case of inertia, would have a lot of difficulty explaining the delayed effect of Harold Aspden's rotation experiment.

It seems now that even orthodox science is starting to re-think the possibility of an aether like structure pervading space.
Recently an article was published in Scientific American by Theodore A. Jacobson and Renaud Parentani that points out the similarity between the behavior of sound waves in a fluid and light waves in curved spacetime, such as around black holes [8].
The approach of assigning spacetime the qualities of a fluid solves some fundamental flaws in the theory of photon radiation from black holes as developed by Stephen Hawking. This theory leads to difficulties such as infinite redshifts for the virtual photons escaping a black hole, with implied zero length wavelengths and infinite energies, etc.
Attributing granularity to spacetime, in the way that a fluid has granularity at small sizes, provides a low wavelength cutoff that solves many of these difficulties.
However, one of the consequences of their model is that light could have different velocities depending on how the 'molecules' of spacetime move relative to one another. This includes photon velocities greater than c under certain conditions.
Clearly this contradicts relativity theory! We include here a quote from the article that summarizes this dilemma:
           "This fix to Hawking's analysis has a price - relativity theory must be modified.
            Contrary to Einstein's assumptions, spacetime must act like a fluid consisting
            of some unknown kind of 'molecules'."


This is further suported by the work of T. Padmanabhan [20] who showed that Einstein's field equations for general relativity have the same form as the Navier-Stokes equations of hydrodynamics. The conclusion of his paper was that "gravity is hydrodynamics". Furthermore Franck Delplace has shown that if a fluid like aether is assumed fluid dynamic interpretations of general relativity and quantum mechanics shows a consistent dynamic viscosity at all scales [21]. For example the shear pressure due to the aether is the same for a neutron as it is for a netron star. He also gives other fundamental arguments in support of a universal fluid like aether as the substrate.

The Jacobson and Parentani article also has an interesting quote from a letter that Einstein sent to his friend Michele Besso about a year before his death where he expresses reservations about the very edifice he helped to create.
We include here the quote for our readers to ponder on:
           "I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept,
            that is, on continuous structures. Then nothing remains of my entire castle in
            the air, including the theory of gravitation, but also nothing of the rest of
            modern physics."


The aether model allows us to describe the universe in a more intuitive way that eliminates many of the paradoxes and contradictions of standard theory.
For example, the particle/wave duality of light and matter, the origin of inertia and gravity and the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass, the conceptual contradictions with the collapse of the quantum wave function, the conflict between quantum electrodynamics and general relativity, the twin paradox of relativity, among others.
 
The Michelson-Morley Experiment
Before we can talk about the aether model we have to address the apparent ‘null’ result of the Michelson-Morley experiment (1880's).

The experiment was designed to detect the presence of the aether by measuring the time of travel of light when the aether, or carrier of light, was moving towards or away from the observer. The time should be different in the two cases, in a similar way that waves on the surface of water would be affected by the movement of water that carries the waves.
The outcome of this experiment was an apparent ‘null’ result. That is, the times of travel were the same, suggesting there was no aether carrying the light waves.

We say apparent because there were additional, more extensive and more accurate, experiments done in the early 1900’s by Dayton Miller which produced a definite difference. See James DeMeo’s article [9] for an interesting account of those experiments.
In fact, even Michelson himself who repeated the experiment in 1928 found a small positive effect.
But because the effects observed were much smaller than what one would expect from the then assumption that the earth was travelling at a rapid rate through a stationary aether background, the small effects were attributed to experimental error.
Ever since the concept of the aether has been relegated to fantasy land by the scientific community.

However we believe there is another, rather simple, explanation for this ‘null’ result which was put forward back in the 1800's and by Dayton Miller himself, and others since.
That is, that the earth entrains the aether, causing it to rotate with the earth. This would seem quite plausible on the assumption that the aether is of a gaseous or liquid consistency, for if we spin an object in air or water the air or water will soon begin to spin with it.
This implies that the aether would spin at the same rate as the earth on the surface of the earth and at an increasingly lower speed as one moves away from the earth.

Thus the model would explain why any experiments done on the surface of the earth would produce a null, or very small, result for the speed of the aether relative to the earth.
It is interesting to note that Dayton Miller who did most of his experiments on top of Mt Wilson (1800m) observed a higher result on average than Michelson-Morley who did their experiments in a basement close to sea level.

This would be consistent with the aether entrainment model which predicts that as one moves further up from sea level there would be a greater relative movement of the aether compared to the surface of the earth.
If this model is correct one would expect that if the Michelson-Morley experiment was done in space it would produce a much greater effect, bearing in mind that the sun will itself entrain the aether around it.

There is some support for this with the findings of Bryan Wallace [10] who in 1961 did radar distance measurements of the surface of Venus.
An analysis of the data did not confirm a constancy for the speed of light but rather appeared to show a component that followed the classical c+v format.
Also interestingly the data contained diurnal, lunar and synodic variations.

The above model is also supported by experiments carried out by Yuri Galaev [11].
He did a variety of tests designed to detect the aether, using radio waves as well as light.
His results were in general agreement with Dayton Miller's and interestingly showed an increased effect with height from the surface of the earth, consistent with the aether entrainment theory.
He has even had a go at measuring the viscosity of the aether.

 
Other Difficulties with the Aether Model
One of the other main objections people have to the aether model relates to the transmission of transverse waves, a characteristic of light vibration.

If the aether were to be a solid it has been estimated that it would need to have the hardness of steel in order to support transverse waves at the speed of light.
On the other hand gases and liquids don’t normally support transverse waves.

However on closer examination we find that liquids can in fact carry transverse waves.
There has been recent experimental evidence in support of this, where it was found that supercooled helium, which becomes superfluid at very low temperatures, transmits transverse sound waves [12].

Other difficulties, such as the photon or particle properties of light can also be accounted for within an aether model (see our Light section).  

For some other interesting ideas and perspectives on the aether concept see the following references  [13], [14], [15], [16], [17] , [18] , [19].
 
A Working Model of the Aether
As a starting point we will assume the aether to be of a consistency close to a liquid, and occasionally solid such as within nuclear particles.
It would have the ability to flow like a liquid and to carry longitudinal and transverse vibrations.
The aether particles would be a lot smaller than subatomic particles, and possibly consist of different types.

Also it will be assumed that the aether extends into the 4th dimension. This is required in order to give a satisfactory explanation for charge and matter formation.
It also allows one to naturally incorporate gravity and quantum mechanical effects into the picture. See the other sections for details.

It is important to note that the aether is not to be considered as separate from other matter but as the substrate within which all particles are formed and through which physical forces are mediated.

References
[1] Milan R. Pavlovic, “Einstein's Theory of Relativity - Scientific Theory or Illusion?",  Milan Pavlovic
[2] G. Burniston Brown, “What is wrong with relativity?",  homepage.ntlworld.com/academ/whatswrongwithrelativity.html
[3] Marcus Coleman, "The Trouble with Relativity",  www.wbabin.net/physics/marcus.htm
[4] Webster Kehr, "The Detection of Ether",  www.teslaphysics.com
[5] Harold Aspden, "Discovery of Virtual Inertia," New Energy News, vol 2, no 10, Feb 1995, pp 1-2. See also Hal Fox, "The Aspden Effect,"
      pp 2-3. see www.scribd.com/doc/76567187/1995-Harold-Aspden-Discovery-of-Virtual-Inertia
[6] Thomas Valone, “Understanding Zero Point Energy", users.erols.com/iri/ZPEpaper.html
[7] Haisch B., Rueda A., Puthoff H.E., “Physics of the zero-point field: implications for inertia, gravitation and mass", Speculations in Science
     and Technology, 20, 99-114 (1997), copy available at   www.earthtech.org/publications/spec_sci_tech.pdf

[8] Jacobson T. A. & Parentani R., "An Echo of Black Holes", Scientific American, p48, Dec 2005
[9] James DeMeo, "Dayton Miller's Ether-Drift Experiments",  www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm
[10] Bryan G. Wallace, “Radar Testing of the Relative Velocity of Light in Space”, Spectroscopic Letters 2:361 1969
[11] Yu. M. Galaev, “The Measuring of Ether-Drift Velocity and Kinematic Ether Viscosity within Optical Wave Bands", Spacetime & Substance,
      Vol 3 (2002), No 5 (15), pp. 207-224 www.mountainman.com.au/aether_6.htm
[12] Lee Y., Haard T.M., Halperin W.P., Souls J.A., “Discovery of the Acoustic Faraday effect in Superfluid 3He-B”, Nature 400, 431-433 (July 1999)
[13] Robert Neil Boyd, "Physics" www.gewo.info/ve/links.htm
[14] Paul A. LaViolette, "Subquantum Kinetics" www.etheric.com
[15] R.F. Norgan, "Aether Theory" www.amazon.com/Aether-Theory-R-F-Norgan/dp/0956602304
[16] Franck Delplace, “Open Door on 21st Century Physics", Book: ISBN 978-2-9535249-0-1  www.priceminister.com 
[17] Steven Rado, “Aethro Kinematics”, Aethron Publishing Company, Los Angeles 1994, see also www.aethro-kinematics.com
[18] Caroline H.Thompson, Website freespace.virgin.net/ch.thompson1
[19] Gabriel LaFraniere, "Matter is Made of Waves" www.rhythmodynamics.com/Gabriel_LaFreniere
[20] Padmanabhan T., "The Hydrodynamics of Atoms of Spacetime", International Journal of Modern Physics D, Vol. 20, No. 14 (2011) 2817–2822
[21] Franck Delplace, “Liquid Spacetime (Aether) Viscosity, a Way to Unify Physics", www.gsjournal.net

 

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