Consciousness, Physics, and the Holographic Paradigm
Essays and Shadowless Poetry by Alan T. Williams
Part I: Sneaking Up On Einstein
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain,
Section 4: Faraday Versus Maxwell
Twenty year old Michael Faraday had an organized, agile, inquiring mind. On Saturday, 29 February 1812, he attended the first of a series of four lectures on the science of chemistry by Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution, London, England. The subject of Davy's lecture was radiant matter (19th century imponderable, weightless matter) and Faraday came prepared to learn. He brought pencils and paper and took detailed notes.
Now, just 4 years later, after being hired as Sir Humphry Davy's laboratory assistant on 1 March 1813, at the Royal Institution, then acting as Davy's secretary while visiting the leading French and Italian chemists on the Continent with Sir Humphry and Lady Davy from October 1813 to April 1815, Faraday's chemical lectures to the members of the City Philosophical Society in 1816 reflect his growing understanding of the new science of chemistry.
In the meticulous outline of his fourth chemical lecture, "On Radiant Matter," Faraday wrote out beforehand:
In his 1819 lecture to the City Philosophical Society, "On the Forms of Matter," Faraday offered his own opinion on imponderable matter and nature:
There are so many theoretical points connected with the states of matter that I might involve you in the discussions of philosophers through many lectures without doing justice to them. In the search after the cause of the changes of state of bodies, some have found it in one place, some in another; and nothing can be more opposite than the conclusions they come to. The old philosophers, and with them many of the highest of the modern, thought it to be occasioned by a change either in the motion of the particles or in their attractive power; whilst others account for it by the introduction of another kind of matter, called heat, or caloric, which dissolves all that we see changed. The one set assume a change in the state of the matter already existing, the other create a new kind for the same end.
Four decades later a falling out between Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell over a single word that produced the essentially opposite concept in the mind of each participant opened a chasm of misunderstanding that changed the course of electromagnetism for at least a century and a half.
The discovery of the universal principle of energy (TUPE) – the first principle of fundamental, irreducible nonmaterial primordial energy (NPE) – at the beginning of the 21st century unequivocally supports Faraday's intuitive understanding of the issue.
Following his mentor, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Maxwell was intent upon formalizing Faraday's experimental results using the classical Newtonian mathematics of his British and Continental colleagues. Faraday's experimental results, however, described the novel non-Newtonian, nonmechanical electric and magnetic fields as physically real imponderable radiant energy that occupied space but could not be weighed.
Putting aside the innovative mathematical formalism developed by Maxwell to describe his own dynamical theory of electromagnetic fields, the critical difference between Maxwell's classical Newtonian mechanics concept of magnetic lines of force as opposed to the intuitive understanding of the energetic, nonmaterial fundamental forces contained in Faraday's laboratory notes and verified by experiment erupted without warning. The issue is clearly articulated in Maxwell's letter of 9 November 1857 in which he reprimands Faraday for his unscientific (i.e., nonmechanical, non-Newtonian) use of the word "force":
Thus, Maxwell unilaterally and unconscionably reinterpreted Faraday's intuitive interpretation of electrical and magnetic lines of force (energy, flux) based on decades of experimental results and replaced it with the traditional concept of Newtonian mechanical force. Faraday replied to Maxwell's unexpected letter with typical directness. On 13 November 1857 he wrote:
Faraday was unable to influence Maxwell's unilateral decision to ignore the unequivocal laboratory test results on this crucial point.
One of Faraday's efforts to clarify his own position is the June 1858 addendum to his original article, On the Conservation of Force, which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Institution on 27 February 1857.
Maxwell versus Faraday:
Maxwell's unfortunate unilateral decision is even more puzzling in view of the fact that on numerous occasions Faraday's writings contain the word "force" used in an unmistakably non-Newtonian sense. For example, Maxwell not only read Faraday's June 1852 paper, On the Physical Character of the Lines of Magnetic Force,30 he also cited it as a reference in his own work two years prior to writing the November 1857 letter quoted above . A number of years later Maxwell reluctantly admitted that the word "force" may, indeed, indicate energy as well as classical (Newtonian) force. In his essay, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand Helmholtz, he wrote:
It is unnecessary here to refer to the labours of the different men of science who, each in his own way, have contributed by experiment, calculation, or speculation, to the establishment of the principle of the conservation of energy; but there can be no doubt that a very great impulse was communicated to this research by the publication in 1847, of Helmholtz's essay Ueber die Erhaltung der Kraft, which we must now (and correctly, as a matter of science) translate Conservation of Energy, though in the translation which appeared in Taylor's Scientific Memoirs, the word Kraft was translated Force in accordance with the ordinary literary usage of that time.31
Maxwell's paragraph quoted above is rich in significance. Faraday's reading the translation of Helmholtz's 1847 essay was the event that sparked his paper of the same title, On the Conservation of Force. Furthermore, one of Maxwell's anonymous "different men of science" whose labors significantly contributed "to the establishment of the principle of the conservation of energy" – particularly in chemistry – was, of course, Michael Faraday.
Faraday's paper – cited by Maxwell in the first sentence of his November 1857 letter above and specifically acknowledged as duly read in the second sentence – was published 27 February 1857 in the Proceedings of the Royal Institution.32 It should be noted that Faraday's paper includes a formal footnote that properly cites the translated Helmholtz paper in Taylor's Scientific Memoirs.33
Thus, as clearly expressed in his November letter to Faraday nine months after reading the February 1857 Faraday paper that confounded him, Maxwell shook the dust of Faraday's novel non-Newtonian experimental results from his professional theoretical garments and clothed himself in the dynamical concept of mechanical force described by Newton nearly two centuries earlier.
It seems to be a particularly incongruous and unsatisfactory twist of fate that at the beginning of his professional career as a "nature philosopher" (physicist) Michael Faraday went from an apprentice bookbinder to being hired as Sir Humphrey Davy's laboratory assistant in the eleven month period from April 1812 to March 1813.
Then, at the end of his professional career after more than forty unparalleled years as an internationally renowned experimentalist in chemistry, electricity, and magnetism, that Faraday's novel concept of force – i.e., the novel concept of nonmechanical, nonmaterial primordial energy – should be rejected and dismissed out of hand by Maxwell in the short nine month period from February to November 1857, and that Maxwell presented Faraday's work to the larger scientific community as traditional Newtonian mechanical force.
Less than fifty years later Albert Einstein and the learned classmate who became his first wife, Mileva Marić (English: pronounced Marich; German: Maritsch), extended the conflation of Maxwell's electrodynamics and classical mechanical force by developing a new kinematics as part of their 1905 theory of special relativity.
Interestingly, in his recent paper, The Theory Of Relativity - Galileo’s Child, Mitchell Feigenbaum mathematically demonstrates that conflating the constant speed of light with either Galilean or Einsteinian relativity is an unnecessary ad hoc concept. He writes:
In this paper, not only do I show that the constant speed of light is unnecessary for the construction of the theories of relativity, but overwhelmingly more, there is no room for it in the theory. (Feigenbaum's emphasis.)
Continued in Section 6: Faraday and the Ether
Reference Notes (Click on the Note number to return to the text):
23 Ref. 22, vol. 1, p. 195.
24 Ref. 22, vol. 1, pp. 271-272.
26 Ref. 25, pp. 443-463.
27 Maxwell's letter and diagram were published in Lewis Campbell and William Garnett's The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, second edition (abridged, 1884). A CD version of the book is available from www.sonnetusa.com. (cf. Footnote 28 below)
28 Williams, L. Pearce, ed. The Selected Correspondence of Michael Faraday, vol. 2, Letter 670, pp. 881-883. Cambridge University Press, London, 1971. ISBN 0521079136
29 Ref. 22, vol. 2, pp. 385-386.
30 Faraday, Michael. Experimental Researches in Electricity (ERE) , vol. 3, pp. 407-437. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY, 1965. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 63-19490. Reprinted by Green Lion Press, Santa Fe, NM, 2000. 3 volume Set, ISBN 1-888009-15-2
31 Maxwell, James Clerk. The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell , vol. 2, pp. 592-598. W. D. Niven, editor. Two volumes bound as one, Dover Publications, New York (no date).
32 Faraday, Michael. Proceedings of the Royal Institution, February 27, 1857, vol.ii, p. 352 ff.
33 Ref. 25, p. 453. The citation reads:
"* Helmholtz, "On the Conservation of Force." Taylor's 'Scientific Memoirs,' 2nd series, 1853, p. 114."
Back to Chapter 4, Section 3: Faraday, Maxwell, and Einstein
Last Edit: August 28, 2010.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
This paper is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2004-2010 by Alan T. Williams. All rights reserved.