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## Lorentz ether theoryWhat is now called Today LET is often treated as some sort of "Lorentzian" or "neo-Lorentzian" interpretation of special relativity. Introducing the effects of length contraction and time dilation in a "preferred" frame of reference leads to the Lorentz transformation and therefore it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR by experiment. However, in LET the existence of an ## Additional recommended knowledge
## Historical development## Basic concept
- Ether and electrons
This theory, which was developed mainly between 1892 and 1906 by Lorentz and Poincaré, was based on the aether theory of Augustin-Jean Fresnel, Maxwell's equations and the electron theory of Rudolf Clausius. - Corresponding states
A fundamental concept of Lorentz's theory in 1895 ## Length contractionA big challenge for this theory was the Michelson–Morley experiment in 1887. According to the theories of Fresnel and Lorentz a relative motion to an immobile ether had to be determined by this experiment, however, the result was negative. In 1888 Oliver Heaviside derived from the Maxwell equations that the electrostatic field around a moving, spherical body is contracted in the line of motion by the factor . - The body
*contracts*in the line of motion and preserves its dimension perpendicularly to it. - The dimension of the body remains the same in the line of motion, but it
*expands*perpendicularly to it. - The body contracts in the line of motion, and expands at the same time perpendicularly to it.
The so called Length contraction without expansion perpendicularly to the line of motion and by the precise value (where l ## Local timeAn important part of the theorem of corresponding states was the local time In contrast, Poincaré saw more than a mathematical trick in the definition of local time, which he called Lorentz's "most ingenious idea".
In 1900 Poincaré interpreted local time as the result of a synchronisation procedure based on light signals. He assumed that 2 observers However, at the beginning it was unknown that local time includes what is now known as time dilation. This effect was first noticed by Larmor (1897), ^{[21]} also Lorentz noticed for the frequency of oscillating electrons "that in S the time of vibrations be times as great as in S", where S_{0}_{0} is the ether frame, k is , and is an undetermined factor. ^{[20]}
## Lorentz transformation*Further information: History of lorentz transformations*
In 1887 However, on 5 Juni 1905 A substantially extended work (the so called „Palermo paper“) ## Principles and conventions
## Light postulateAlready in his philosophical writing on time measurements (1898) ## Principle of relativityAlready in 1895
Referring to a critique of Poincaré in 1900,
One of the first assessments of Lorentz's paper was by Paul Langevin in May 1905.
In the Palermo paper (1906), Poincaré called this "the postulate of relativity“, and although he stated that it was possible this principle might be disproved at some point (and in fact he mentioned at the paper's end that the discovery of magneto-cathode rays seems to threaten it), he believed it was interesting to consider the consequences if we were to assume the postulate of relativity was valid without restriction. This would imply that all forces of nature (not just electromagnetism) must be invariant under the Lorentz transformation.
## EtherPoincaré wrote in the sense of his conventionalist philosophy in 1889:
He also denied the existence of absolute space and time by saying in 1901:
However, Poincaré himself never abandoned the ether hypothesis and stated in 1900,
Also Lorentz argued during his lifetime that in all frames of reference this one has to be preferred, in which the ether is at rest. Clocks in this frame are showing the "real“ time and simultaneity is not relative. However, if the correctness of the relativity principle is accepted, it is impossible to find this system by experiment. ## Mass, energy and speed## Rest mass and energyIt was recognized by J. J. Thomson in 1881 The idea of an electromagnetic nature of matter had to be given up, however, in the course of the development of relativistic mechanics. It turned out that different results occurred, dependent on whether the em-mass is calculated from the energy or from the momentum, and the 4/3-factor had to be compensated as well. To solve those problems, and also to explain the stability of Lorentz's matter-electron configuration, Poincaré in 1905 ## Mass and speedThomson, Heaviside and Searle also noticed that inertia depends on the speed of the bodies as well. In 1899 Lorentz calculated that the ratio of the electron masses of the moving frame and the ether frame is parallel to the direction of motion and perpendicular to the direction of motion, where and is an undetermined factor. Lorentz wrote in 1899 by using the term „ions“ for the basic constituents of matter:
This theory was further developed by Abraham (1902), who first used the terms longitudinal and transverse mass for Lorentz's two masses. However, Abraham's expressions were more complicated than those of Lorentz. Poincaré wrote in 1904, that because of the variability of mass the conservation of mass isn't valid anymore. In a later edition of his book The mass concept of Lorentz (incl. longitudinal and transverse mass) was incorporated into special relativity by Einstein (1905) ## Inertia of energyJames Clerk Maxwell (1874) In 1900 But Poincaré's resolution led to a paradox when changing frames: if a Hertzian oscillator radiates in a certain direction, it will suffer a recoil from the inertia of the fictitious fluid. In the framework of Lorentz's theory Poincaré performed a Lorentz boost to the frame of the moving source. He noted that energy conservation holds in both frames, but that the law of conservation of momentum is violated. This would allow perpetual motion, a notion which he abhorred. The laws of nature would have to be different in the frames of reference, and the relativity principle would not hold. Poincaré came back to this topic in „Science and Hypothesis“ (1902) and „The Value of Science“ (1905). This time he rejected the possibility that energy carries mass and thereby rejected his own solution, that motions in the ether can compensate the motion of matter:
Besides this radiation paradox (1) he also discussed two other problematic effects: (2) non-conservation of mass implied by Abraham's and Lorentz's theory of variable mass, and Kaufmann's experiments on the mass of fast moving electrons and (3) the non-conservation of energy in the radium experiments - however, for the latter he cited William Ramsay's proposal that radium is Following Poincaré, Abraham introduced the term „electromagnetic momentum“ to maintain the reaction principle, whereby the field density per cm ## Gravitation## Lorentz's theoriesIn 1900 In the same paper, he assumed like Ottaviano Fabrizio Mossotti and Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner that the attraction of opposite charged particles is stronger than the repulsion of equal charged particles. The resulting net force is exactly what is known as universal gravitation, in which the speed of gravity is that of light. This leads to a conflict with the law of gravitation by Isaac Newton, in which it was shown by Pierre Simon Laplace that a finite speed of gravity leads to some sort of aberration and therefore makes the orbits unstable. However, Lorentz showed that the theory is not concerned by Laplace's critique, because due to the structure of the Maxwell equations only effects in the order
In 1908 ## Lorentz-invariant gravitational lawPoincaré argued in 1904 that a propagation speed of gravity which is greater than c is contradicting the concept of local time and the relativity principle. He wrote:
However, in 1905 and 1906 Poincaré pointed out the possibility of a gravitational theory, in which changes propagate with the speed of light and which is Lorentz covariant. He pointed out that in such a theory the gravitational force not only depends on the masses and their mutual distance, but also on their velocities and their position due to the finite propagation time of interaction. On that occasion Poincaré introduced four-vectors. ## The shift to relativity
## Special relativityIn 1905, Albert Einstein published his paper on what is now called special relativity. - that the laws by which physical processes occur are the same with respect to any system of inertial coordinates (the principle of relativity), and
- that light propagates at an absolute speed of c in terms of any system of inertial coordinates ("principle of the constancy of light“)
Taken together (along with a few other tacit assumptions such as isotropy and homogeneity of space), these two postulates lead uniquely to the mathematics of special relativity. Lorentz and Poincare had also adopted these same principles, as necessary to achieve their final results, but didn't recognize that they were also Einstein's 1905 presentation of special relativity was soon supplemented, in 1907, by Hermann Minkowski, who showed that the relations had a very natural interpretation in terms of a unified four-dimensional "spacetime" in which absolute intervals are seen to be given by an extension of the Pythagorean theorem. (Already in 1906 Poincaré anticipated some of Minkowski's ideas, see the section "Lorentz-transformation"). Lorentz argued in 1913, that there is little difference between his ether theory and the negation of a preferred reference frame, as in the theory of Einstein and Minkowski, and therefore according to him it is a matter of taste which theory one prefers. ## Mass–energy equivalenceIt was derived by Einstein (1905) as a consequence of the relativity principle, that inertia of energy is actually represented by Similar to Poincaré, Einstein concluded in 1906 that the inertia of (electromagnetic) energy is a necessary condition for the center of mass theorem to hold in systems, in which electromagnetic fields and matter are acting on each other. Based on the mass–energy equivalence he showed that emission and absorption of em-radiation and therefore the transport of inertia solves the problem. On that occasion, Einstein referred to Poincaré's 1900-paper and wrote:
Also Poincaré's rejection of the reaction principle due to the violation of the mass conservation law can be avoided through Einstein's ## General relativityThe attempts of Lorentz and Poincaré (and other attempts like those of Abraham and Gunnar Nordström) to formulate a theory of gravitation, were superseded by Einstein's theory of general relativity. In 1920 Einstein compared Lorentz's ether with the "gravitational ether" of general relativity. He said that immobility is the only mechanical property of which the ether has not been deprived by Lorentz, but contrary to the luminiferous and Lorentz's ether the ether of general relativity has no mechanical property, not even immobility:
## Priority- Lorentz
In a paper that was written in 1914 and published in 1921,
However, a 1916 reprint of his main work "The theory of electrons"
Regarding the fact, that in this book Lorentz only mentioned Einstein and not Poincaré in connection with a) the synchronisation by light signals, b) the reciprocity of the Lorentz transformation, and c) the relativistic transformation law for charge density, Janssen comments:
And at a conference on the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1927 at which Lorentz and Michelson were present, Michelson suggested that Lorentz was the initiator of the theory of relativity. Lorentz then replied:
- Poincaré
Poincaré attributed the development of the new mechanics almost entirely to Lorentz. He only mentioned Einstein in connection with the photoelectric effect, but not in connection with special relativity. For example, in 1912 Poincaré raises the question whether „the mechanics of Lorentz“ will still exist after the development of the quantum theory. He wrote:
- Einstein
In his well-known „History of the theories of ether and electricity“ from 1953, E. T. Whittaker claimed that relativity is the creation of Lorentz and Poincaré and attributed to Einstein's papers only little importance. Einstein wrote in 1907 - philosophical assessments on the relativity of space, time, and simultaneity
- the opinion that a violation of the relativity principle can never be detected
- the possible non-existence of the ether
- many remarks on the non-Euclidean geometry.
Einstein refers to Poincaré in connection with the inertia of energy in 1906
## Recent activity## Neo-Lorentzian interpretationsToday LET is often treated as some sort of "neo-Lorentzian" interpretation of special relativity. For example, Reza Mansouri and Roman Ulrich Sexl (1977) -
*x*=*b*(*X*−*v**T*)
Where T, X are coordinates measured in the (preferred) ether frame, and t, x are coordinates measured in a moving frame, and therefore 1 / -
*Internal*clock synchronisation including the Poincaré-Einstein synchronisation and synchronisation by slow clock transport. If it is assumed that time dilation has the exact relativistic value, both methods are equivalent in all reference frames, independent of the question if there is an ether or not. -
*External*clock synchronisation by choosing a "preferred" reference frame (like the CMB) and using the clocks of this frame to synchronize the clocks in all other frames. This means that in all frames the clocks are synchronous, nevertheless also in this case the ether theory is equivalent to special relativity, if the effects of time dilation and length contraction have the exact relativistic value.
So Sexl/Mansouri spoke about the "remarkable result that a theory maintaining absolute simultaneity is equivalent to special relativity." However they preferred SRT over an ether theory, because the latter "destroys the internal symmetry of a physical theory". ## Breaking Lorentz symmetry?However, there are some models, which predict a violation of the Lorentz symmetry and which have some similarity to LET, although they are not the same. Modern measurements empirically seems to discredit such theories. A 2007 study sensitive to 10 Affine (Einstein-Cartan theory), teleparallelism (Weitzenböck) and noncommutative (Alain connes) gravitation theories wholly contain General Relativity as a restricted case (isotropic vacuum, Equivalence Principle = true). They also allow a Lorentz-violating chiral vacuum background (anisotropic vacuum) in which the Equivalence Principle has parity violations in the mass sector (e.g., enantiomorphic mass distributions - atom locations - in opposite parity space groups P3 ## Bibliography## Primary sources- Abraham, M. (1902), " ",
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## Endnotes**^**Whittaker (1910), secondary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Born (2003), secondary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}Larmor (1897), primary sources, p. 229 - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}Lorentz (1895), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}^{f}Lorentz (1904b), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}Poincaré (1906), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}Poincaré (1905b), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}Lorentz (1916), primary sources **^**Michelson (1887), primary sources**^**Heaviside (1888), primary sources**^**Fitzgerald (1889), primary sources**^**Lorentz (1892), primary sources**^**Brown (2001), secondary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}Voigt (1887), p. 44, primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}Poincaré (1904); Poincaré (1905a), Ch. 8, primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}Poincaré (1898); Poincaré (1905a), Ch. 2, primary sources **^***Nous n’avons pas l’intuition directe de la simultanéité, pas plus que celle de l’égalité de deux durées. Si nous croyons avoir cette intuition, c’est une illusion. Nous y suppléons à l’aide de certaines règles que nous appliquons presque toujours sans nous en rendre compte. [...] Nous choisissons donc ces règles, non parce qu’elles sont vraies, mais parce qu’elles sont les plus commodes, et nous pourrions les résumer en disant: « La simultanéité de deux événements, ou l’ordre de leur succession, l’égalité de deux durées, doivent être définies de telle sorte que l’énoncé des lois naturelles soit aussi simple que possible. En d’autres termes, toutes ces règles, toutes ces définitions ne sont que le fruit d’un opportunisme inconscient. »*- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Poincaré (1900b), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}Darrigol (2006), secondary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}Jannsen (1995), Ch. 3, secondary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Lorentz (1899), primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Walter (2007), secondary sources **^**Poincaré (1895), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Poincaré (1900a); Poincaré (1902), Ch. 10, primary sources **^**Langevin (1905), primary sources**^***Il semble que cette impossibilité de démontrer le mouvement absolu soit une loi générale de la nature [..] Lorentz a cherché à more compléter et à more modifier son hypothèse de façon à la mettre en concordance avec le postulate de l' impossibilité complète de la détermination du mouvement absolu. C'est ce qu'il a réussi dans son article intitulé [Lorentz, 1904b]***^**Lorentz (1921), pp. 247-261, primary sources**^**je n'ai pas établi le principe de relativité comme rigoureusement et universellement vrai. Poincaré, au contraire, a obtenu une invariance parfaite des équations de l’électrodynamique, et il a formule le « postulat de relativité » , termes qu’il a été le premier a employer.**^**Poincaré (1889); Poincaré (1902), Ch. 12, primary sources**^**Poincaré (1901a); Poincaré (1902), Ch. 6, primary sources**^**Poincaré (1913), Ch. 2, primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}Lorentz (1913), p. 75, primary sources **^**Thomson (1881), primary sources**^**Searle (1896), primary sources**^**Wien (1900), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Abraham (1902,1903), primary sources **^**Kaufmann (1902), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Poincaré (1908a); Poincaré (1908b), 3rd book, primary sources - ^
^{a}^{b}Einstein (1905a), primary sources **^**Planck (1906), primary sources**^**Kaufmann (1905), primary sources**^**Bucherer (1908), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}Pauli (1921), secondary sources **^**Maxwell (1874), primary sources**^**Bartoli (1876), primary sources**^**Hasenöhrl (1904, 1905), primary sources**^**Lorentz (1900), primary sources**^**Lorentz (1914) primary sources**^**The three best known examples are (1) the assumption of Maxwell's equations, and (2) the assumptions about finite structure of the electron, and (3) the assumption that all mass was of electromagnetic origin. Maxwell's equations were subsequently found to be invalid and were replaced with quantum electrodynamics, although one particular feature of Maxwell's equations, the invariance of a characteristic speed, has remained. The electron's mass is now regarded as a pointlike particle, and Poincare already showed in 1905 that it is not possible for all the mass of the electron to be electromagnetic in origin. This is how relativity invalidated the 19th century hopes for basing all of physics on electromagnetism.**^**Minkowski (1909), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}Einstein (1907), primary sources **^**Einstein (1905b), primary sources- ^
^{a}^{b}Einstein (1906), primary sources **^***Trotzdem die einfachen formalen Betrachtungen, die zum Nachweis dieser Behauptung durchgeführt werden müssen, in der Hauptsache bereits in einer Arbeit von H. Poincaré enthalten sind [Lorentz-Festschrift, p. 252, 1900], werde ich mich doch der Übersichtlichkeit halber nicht auf jene Arbeit stützen.*- ^
^{a}^{b}Einstein (1922), primary sources **^**Lorentz (1921), pp. 247-261, primary sources**^**En effet, pour certaines des grandeurs physiques qui entrent dans les formules, je n'ai pas indique la transformation qui convient le mieux. Cela a été fait par Poincaré et ensuite par M. Einstein et Minkowski. [..] C'est que je n'avais pas songé a la voie directe qui y conduit, et cela tient a ce que j'avais l’idée qu'il y a une différence essentielle entre les systèmes x, y, z, t et x', y’, z’, t’. Dans l’un on se sert - telle était ma pensée - d'axes des coordonnées qui ont une position fixe dans l’éther et de ce qu'on peut appeler le « vrai » temps; dans l’autre système, au contraire, on aurait affaire a de simples grandeurs auxiliaires dont l’introduction n'est qu'un artifice mathématique. [..] mais je n'ai pas établi le principe de relativité comme rigoureusement et universellement vrai. Poincaré, au contraire, a obtenu une invariance parfaite des équations de l’électrodynamique, et il a formule le « postulat de relativité » , termes qu’il a été le premier a employer. [..] Ajoutons qu'en corrigeant ainsi les imperfections de mon travail il ne me les a jamais reprochées.**^**Lorentz (1928), p. 10, primary sources**^**Poincaré (1913), Ch. 6, primary sources**^**Whittaker (1953), secondary sources**^**Pais (1982), secondary sources**^**Stachel (2002), secondary sources**^**Einstein (1909), primary sources**^**Einstein (1912), primary sources**^**Darrigol (2004), secondary sources, p. 624**^**Mansouri/Sexl (1977), primary sources**^**Physics Today 57(7) 40 (2004), No electromagnetic aether, Lorentz violation models, Lorentz and CPT violation theory, No electromagnetic Lorentz_violation
- Non-mainstream
- Logunov, A.A. (2004): Henri Poincaré and relativity theory
Categories: Aether theories | Obsolete scientific theories |
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lorentz_ether_theory". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia. |