- Basics -
This site is not actually meant as a criticism of all of "relativity", it's technically only against one small root of it. You must understand that relativity, like all science, is only an extension of prior art; a theory that is assembled from other theories with a little addition. The only problem that exists in current physics is one single basic assumption. It is an axiom that is only one of the many roots of modern physics but it has entwined and grown into the ever-growing tree of physics theory and now the parasitic branches have become larger than the tree and threaten its life. That parasite is the second postulate of special relativity. It is the "No Aether" assumption; light constancy. From that point it expands, twists and grows into the rest of the theory, but at that point in history it is only one small part of the theory that has many other perfectly accurate components borrowed from discoveries over the previous century. (1800s)
That one single axiom expands into everything from string theory, time travel and multiple dimentions to every other "spooky" (read as illogical) effect in moden physics. Without it, the universe is one great clockwork mechanism that works perfectly with the effect of "chaos" and "randomness" only, in truth, a human perception of the nearly infinite complexity and constant change of the physical world.
- Relativity: Do it yourself! -
To understand the following step-by-step guide to relativity, you must be familiar with the history detailed in the previous page. You will also need to be at least somewhat familiar with the Michelson-Morley Experiment(MMX) which played the most central role in the Special Relativity debacle. With history as your map, I will guide you along the path which will lead you to the same mistaken conclusions made by Lorentz and those who came after which ultimately lead to the error in Relativity.
There are a few primary points you should focus on in the following discussion. By the end of this explanation you should be able to understand how and why lorentz created the transformations which are the central point of SR. If your mind is sharp enough you will understand something Einstein never understood: Einstein created a theory that there is no ether medium based upon and because of calculations which decribe the effects of a moving medium(ether) on light. He did this because the calculations are a mathematical description(model) of an illusion.
- Einstein assumed that there is no need to have an ether if it can't be detected
- Einstein based Special Relativity(SR) upon Lorentz's transformations from Lorentz Ether Theory (LET)
- Lorentz based his transformations upon how light is slowed and sped up in an ether wind
- Lorentz developed his calculations to describe a supposedly null result of the Michelson/Morley Experiment (MMX)
- Einstien's mathematical axioms in SR are based upon the effect of a medium upon light
When you follow through the steps of developing relativity yourself you will realize:
Time-space linkage, contraction, dilation and the specific calculations of SR are the logical consequence
of mathematically reconciling a null result on an interferometer moving through a light-bearing medium. The effects modeled are
of an ether wind which adds-to and subtracts-from the speed of light but simultaneously hides this difference from the observer
and therefore cannot be detected by an interferometer.
These maths are required for a model which mathematically warps reality around one particular experiment. Lorentz et al
only came to these conclusions because ether's effects on light are assumed
to be consistent with classical-wave-motion-through-a-medium but conversely that it is mass and time that
are assumed to change in a way which hides those effects.
It is a mathematical model of an illusion. The most important aspect is that the math is developed based upon the way light is affected by a medium; A universal reference frame. Only someone who didn't understand the theory could believe a theory mathematically based upon ether's effect on light could describe an etherless environment. That is why by the 1930's Einstein knew this error and publicly recanted his "no ether" ideals. Once you finally and fully understand the theory you will understand that light "constancy" makes all the dilation and contraction - not only unnecessary - but impossible.
- From the Beginning -
To arrive at relativity yourself, you must throw away your pre-conceived notions of relativity and begin with the attitudes and assumptions of scientists near the end of the 19th century. You must begin where they did and try to solve the problems that they were trying to solve. You must know that the universe is a great clockwork mechanism with absolutely zero "spooky" effects. You must know that light is a wave and must, therefore, have a medium to travel in. You must know that a wave is simply a stretching and compressing of a a disturbed medium as it attempts to reach equilibrium. Furthermore, to think as Lorentz and his colleagues, you must assume ether to be a universal reference frame which behaves much like an unseen grid upon which the universe plays out because transverse waves are usually only seen in a solid. You must know that light speed, as a mechanical wave, would only be constant in regard to this one frame, and any observer motion with respect to this frame would perceive a difference in the speed of light depending on the observers direction of motion and the direction of the light. With these ideas in mind, you must now first understand the mystery of MMX null and then attempt to solve it.
Surprisingly, the single person most responsible for all of our problems in physics today is George Fitzgerald!
He suggested that any physical object travelling through the ether would be shortened by an amount that is relative to its speed
through the ether. It seems innocent at first examination, but the underlying assumption is very complex.
He is actually proposing that nature partakes in a very intricate illusion. He was implying that light still had to travel
through a medium but any measuring stick travelling through that medium would be shortened by precisely the amount
required to make it seem like it was still travelling the same speed.
IE: He was saying that if the earth was travelling through the ether, and at a speed that would cause light travelling upstream through that same ether to "look like" it had travelled nine inches when it normally would would travel ten, (because we are travelling with it) then one inch is the amount that every ten inch object would be shortened when travelling at that speed! ...If our speed travelling along with light would seem to "slow" light such that it would travel 5 inches instead of ten in the same time then our measuring stick would be 5 inches shorter.
In this way, it didn't matter how fast or slow we were travelling through the ether, any object we attempted to measure that speed with would create an illusion perfectly relative to our speed such we would never be able to detect that we are moving at all. This sounds patently insane at first because it seems we would see things being so horribly distorted but if you consider that light is how we see and every physical object is subject to electromagnetism, you can understand how they migt have thought that we wouldn't be able to see things being all stretched out in one direction or feel it either because the light and our bodies would be subject to the same effects.
This is an ingenious solution to the assumption that the MMX was null, but purely absurd and ad hoc in the extreme. Somehow this idea was so tantalizing to work with mathematically that Lorentz was completely sucked in. This lead to "Lorentz Ether Theory" in which Lorentz constructs a mathematical illusion which has fascinated and enthralled mathematicians for the past 100 years. This is the orgin of the "Lorentz Transformations" which are the basis for special relativity. He built all his math upon the absolute assumption that an ether wind existed but was simply undetectable because of an illusion. It is critical that you understand that all of Lorentz's calculations and his theory as a whole was based upon light having to "swim" upstream or "fly" into a headwind. Now you are challenged to do the same and I will help you...
- Back and Forth -
To shoehorn this into reality, you, like Lorentz, will have to think this out a moment and you're going to run into the understanding that if there is an upstream effect then there has to be a downstream effect as well. IE: If you're travelling .5C then light speed will be cut in half but if travelling downstream, light speed will increase to 1.5! To continue hiding things, this downstream effect would have to make objects lengthen in direction of the aether wind by an amount equal to the extra distance light would travel with the wind.
You must remember that the MMX was an experiment in which light went both upstream and downstream, so any calculations he might make would have to explain that situation. So now we must now absurdly assume that the trick nature is playing is a shortening of objects by an amount that perfectly masks the "average" of a bi-directional co-flow and anti-flow model. If it was a simple shortening like the image above, as Fitzgerald suggested, the experiment would have shown very significant results since we are assuming there is a wind.
It is important to understand this distinction: Because the Michelson-Morley was null, we must assume that shortening wouldn't hide the motion of light if we looked at the upstream component alone and it also would not hide the downstream component alone. Instead, nature just happens to shorten an object the exact amount to hide the average of the two. (Too slow upstream plus too fast downstream) Very important: Note that Lorentz, like Michelson and Morley, is assuming that ether is a perfectly stationary grid that we are travelling through. To add little perspective, below we will very briefly go over a couple small false starts, or missteps that Lorentz had to think through on his way to arriving at the proper calculations:
(B:) In our first attempt to reconcile this back-and-forth effect we'll integrate the logic above that .5 up becomes 1.5 back. This means that if the earth were travelling at half the speed of light through the ether (lightspeed=2 windspeed=1) an object that is 10 long at rest is shortened to 7.5 instead of 5. The upstream path that would normally take 5 time would take 7.5 and going downstream that would normally take 5 time would take 2.5 instead. Both cross-wind and co-wind add up to 10 and our illusion seems complete! ...But wait, it isn't complete yet because that pesky Michelson interferometer also measures the "cross-wind" path length. Because the unit is moving, the actual path traversed crossways is longer than normal as seen in the image below, which is why the formula in C above lengthens the crosswind arm of the interferometer in addition to the co-wind arm. (erroneously)
The idea in attempt C was actually one of the first mistakes made by Lorentz during his development of Lorentz Ether Theory. This initial mistake of lengthening the crosswind was an attempt to reconcile or elimite the overall time difference that is expected in the final theory. The increase from 7.5 above to 8.66 when shortening the co-wind, however, is sufficient representation of the additional crosswind path traversed during the angled cross-wind path seen above.
On the next page we will examine a metaphorical story to explore the problem in more depth and help develop the concepts further.