Consciousness, Physics, and the Holographic Paradigm
Essays by A.T. Williams
Part I: Sneaking Up On Einstein
Energy has an objective, independent physical existence and exists in the absence of matter,
Section 3: Footprints
An uncountable number of human beings have walked the path toward a future we now experience as the all-inclusive present moment. The scientific hypotheses, postulations and conclusions of today represent a new, currently unknown future still other human beings will experience as their own all-inclusive present moment. Many scientifically trained individuals familiar with the issues in these essays will recognize the clues leading to the new changes, the new provisional understanding of scientific concepts. The casual reader may find some insight into the work of Faraday, Maxwell, Einstein, and Bohr helpful.4
In the last decade of the 18th century, intrigued by the electrostatic experiments of Joseph Priestly (1733-1804), Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736-1806) formulated the mathematics of the Coulomb force and the inverse square law as it applies to electrostatics and magnetostatics. Working together in the early 19th century, optical innovator Augustin-Jean Fresnel (pronounced fray-NEL) (1788-1827) and François Arago (1786-1853) firmly establishing Young's transverse undulatory (wave) theory of light and postulated an ethereal ether as the propagation medium.
After hearing of Ørsted's fortuitous discovery in 1820 that galvanic (i.e., unidirectional) electric current in a wire produces magnetic effects, Fresnel's friend André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836) quickly set the tone for the rest of 19th century physics by laying the foundation for the science of electrodynamics (electromagnetism) while formulating a circuit force law for electricity. While electricity and magnetism were being investigated in the laboratory by experimenters like Faraday and Ampère in the 1830s, terrestrial magnetism and magnetic force were being systematically investigated by Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) and Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891) in Göttingen, Germany.
Thirty years later, after formalizing Faraday's experimental results, Maxwell's essay, A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, was presented to the Royal Society (London) in 1864 and published in 1865.5 In Part I, Maxwell wrote:
The electromagnetic field is that part of space which contains and surrounds bodies in electric or magnetic conditions.
This classic essay, Maxwell's second on electromagnetism, was based on the latest contemporary scientific knowledge available at that time and served as the foundation for early studies of the electromagnetic field. Educated as a mathematician, Maxwell diligently researched, conversed with and corresponded with the experts in other scientific fields of interest. The work of Wilhelm Weber; Weber and C. Neumann; and Weber and Kohlrausch made significant contributions to Maxwell's electromagnetic field theory.
Indeed, Weber's determination of the ratio between electrodynamic and electrostatic units of charge in 1855 approximated the speed of light and effectively bolstered Maxwell's electrodynamic field theory.7 Faraday's fundamental contributions can be found in his Experimental Researches in Electricity Series and Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics. Maxwell also notes that the electromagnetic theory of light developed in his Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field essay "is the same in substance" as that which Faraday presented in his 1846 essay, Thoughts on Ray Vibrations.8
For authoritative advice concerning the physics of the ethereal medium Maxwell turned to his mentor, William Thomson (1824-1907) (later Lord Kelvin), author of the essay, On the Possible Density of the Luminiferous Medium, and on the Mechanical Value of a Cubic Mile of Sunlight, published in 1854.9 It is clear that Maxwell is following conventional 19th century wisdom and classical (Newtonian) physics when he writes:
All energy is the same as mechanical energy, whether it exists in the form of motion or in that of elasticity, or in any other form. The energy in electromagnetic phenomena is mechanical energy. The only question is, Where does it reside?10
Putting aside the fact that all energy is not the same as mechanical energy, the search was on in the last half of the 19th century for the material, elastic, luminiferous ether within which electromagnetic waves were thought to propagate. The search was helped to a large extent by the 1873 publication of Maxwell's comprehensive two volume work, A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.11
Unfortunately, the search for the transparent material medium within which electromagnetic waves could propagate was based on faulty assumptions. The search was ultimately abandoned in the early 20th century following Einstein's conclusion that an ad hoc hypothesis which required a material medium for the propagation of light was unnecessary. He summarily eliminated the mechanical luminiferous ether from further consideration in the 1905 paper that presented his original theory of special relativity, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.12 Einstein wrote:
It is well known that Maxwell's electrodynamics – as usually understood at present – when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries that do not seem to attach to the phenomena. ...
Einstein's authoritative eminence gradually grew in the physics community during the early 20th century and led to the tacit acceptance that electromagnetic fields and waves require no propagation medium. The view became received wisdom and the search for the transparent cosmological medium within which electromagnetic waves propagate prematurely ended. Inexplicably, the research which led Einstein to correctly conclude that a mechanical medium was unnecessary for the propagation of light did not include an investigation into the alternative possibility of an intangible, non-mechanical, transparent energetic medium.
Furthermore, the view that electromagnetic fields and waves do not require an underlying medium within which they propagate contradicts the apparently seamless regularity and symmetry of nature. Since all other waves do require a propagation medium, this conspicuous anomaly attributed to electromagnetic fields and waves is the only known exception. Indeed, this singular fact, by itself, implies that our current understanding of electromagnetic wave propagation, field action, and nonmaterial energy per se is less than complete.
It is noted in passing that Einstein used classical three-dimensional (3-D) mechanics and kinematics to describe the theory of special relativity in 1905. He also considered space per se to be empty (German: leer Raum). By 1907 Einstein's former mathematics professor in Zurich at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Federal Polytechnic Institute, or University), Hermann Minkowski (1864-1909), developed a four-dimensional (4-D) coordinate system for non-Euclidean space which he called the "space-time continuum." Einstein readily accepted Minkowski's advanced mathematics and later used 4-D space-time in his general relativity theory.
Continued in Chapter 2, Section 4: Einstein Insights
Reference Notes (Click on the Note number to return to the text):
4 Recommended reading:
5 Torrance, Thomas, editor. A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, by James Clerk Maxwell (1865), p. ix; Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene OR, 1982. ISBN 1-57910-015-5
6 Ref. 5, p. 34.
7 Ref. 5, pp. 33-34, 41, 85.
8 Ref. 5, p. 42.
9 Ref. 5, Footnote, p. 35.
10 Ref. 5, p. 70.
11 Maxwell, James Clerk. A Treatise on Electricity & Magnetism, 3rd Edition (1891), 2 vol., Dover Publications, Inc., New York NY, 1954. volume I: ISBN 0-486-60636-8; volume II: ISBN 0-486-60637-6
12 Einstein, Albert. "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper", Annalen der Physik, 17 (1905): 891-921. Anna Beck, translator; The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: English Edition, vol. 2, Doc. 23, pp. 140-172, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1989. ISBN 0-691-08549-8.
13 Ref. 12, p.140-141.
Back to Chapter 2, Section 2: Science is Provisional
Last Edit: October 24, 2004.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
This paper is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2004-2006 by Alan T. Williams. All rights reserved.