Consciousness, Physics, and the Holographic Paradigm
Essays by A.T. Williams
Part I: Sneaking Up On Einstein
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain,
Section 6: Faraday and the Ether
Throughout much of the 19th century the movement of physical phenomena in space was generally thought to be facilitated by a poorly defined material ether. As was his custom in matters concerning mathematical and theoretical physics, James Clerk Maxwell consulted with his friend, colleague, and mentor William Thomson – who was later knighted as Baron Kelvin of Largs (Lord Kelvin) – on the issue of the luminiferous ether and later incorporated some of Thomson's ideas in his dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field. Maxwell wrote:
From these considerations Professor W. Thomson has argued*, that the medium must have a density capable of comparison with that of gross matter, and has even assigned an inferior limit to that density.
More than a century after Einstein's 1905 statement declaring that a mechanical ether is superfluous in the special theory of relativity, many individuals seem to believe his statement pertains to any ether, any time, anywhere. That is not the case. Einstein specifically targeted the rigid mechanical (Lorentzian) ether then in vogue. Nor was Einstein the first natural philosopher (physicist) to reject Maxwell's mechanical ether. Indeed, the universal principle of energy points directly to the all-encompassing, pervasive, nonmaterial primordial energy domain.
Some fifty years prior to Albert Einstein's exclusion of the Maxwell-Hertz-Lorentz ether, Michael Faraday had doubts about the necessity of a luminiferous ether. In his paper, The Hypothetical Ether, written in the early 1850's and preserved in the archives of the Royal Institution, London, Faraday wrote:
The ether – its requirements – should not mathematics prove or shew that a fluid might exist in which lateral vibrations are more facil than direct vibrations.
Faraday's paper, The Hypothetical Ether, remained unpublished until L. Pearce Williams included it in his biography of Faraday in 1965. The reason for its obscurity is an enigma. Williams notes that it is an integral part of Faraday's laboratory Diary, "There does exist a manuscript, contained in the eighth folio volume of the manuscript copy of the Diary, entitled 'The Hypothetical Ether'."37
As Faraday's biographer, Williams is at a loss to explain the highly irregular lack of publication imposed upon this single paper in Faraday's laboratory Diary. "This volume," he writes, "is at the Royal Institution. Thomas Martin, in his preface to volume 7 of the published Diary, does not mention this paper or give his reasons for not publishing it."38
Continued in Chapter 5: The Energetic Primordial Medium
Reference Notes (Click on the Note number to return to the text):
35 Maxwell, James Clerk. The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell , vol. 1, p. 528. W. D. Niven, editor. Two volumes bound as one, Dover Publications, New York (no date).
36 Actinism: The intrinsic property in radiation that enables it to produce photochemical activity.
37 Williams, L. Pearce. Michael Faraday, A Biography, p. 455. Da Capo Press, Inc., New York, NY, 1965. ISBN 0-306-80299-6
38 Ref. 37, p. 464, footnote 59.
Back to Chapter 4, Section 4: Faraday Versus Maxwell
Last Edit: September 26, 2010.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
This paper is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2004-2010 by Alan T. Williams. All rights reserved.