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In Search of the Aether Lecture 1 Topics In Search of the Aether Lorentz and Fitzgerald Summary In Search of the Aether Michelson’s clever idea: Speed of water relative to bank V m/s Speed of swimmers relative to water C m/s One swimmer is bound to win b l a c l

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Topics l.jpg
Topics

  • In Search of the Aether

  • Lorentz and Fitzgerald

  • Summary


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In Search of the Aether

Michelson’s clever idea:

Speed of water

relativeto bank

V m/s

Speed of swimmers

relativeto water

C m/s

One swimmer is

bound to win

b

l

a

c

l


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Motion Relative to Water

Swimmer 1

Swimmer 2


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Motion Relative to Water

Swimmer 1

l

Swimmer 2

l

l


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Motion Relative to Water

Swimmer 1

total time

Swimmer 2

total time


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Motion Relative to Water

Swimmer 1

total time

Swimmer 2

total time

where


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In Search of the Aether

Michelson Experiment (1881)

Michelson-Morley Experiment (1887)

http://erwin.phys.virginia.edu/classes/109/lectures/michelson.html


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In Search of the Aether

“The interpretation of these results is that there is no displacement of the interference bands. …

The result of the hypothesis of a stationary aether is thus shown to be incorrect.”

A. A. Michelson, Am. J. Sci., 122, 120 (1881)


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“There is nothing new to be discovered in

physics now. All that remains is more and

more precise measurement.”

Lord Kelvin, 1900


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Lorentz and Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald (1851-1901)

Lorentz (1853-1928)

http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians


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Their Solution

The time for light path 1

can be made equal to that for path 2

if the length of path 2, somehow, shrinks by a

factor of γ


Summary l.jpg
Summary

  • Michelson and Morley failed to detect the motion of the Earth through the aether

  • Their conclusion: the aether could not be stationary. This implied that the aether moves along with the Earth

  • Lorentz and later Fitzgerald suggested that objects contract along the direction of motion in such a way as to make the light travel times the same


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