Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Challenging Einstein?

  1. Sep 2, 2005 #1
    I came across a rather interesting website:


    Steven Bryant explains how several of Einstein's equations that support the theory of Special Relativity are in error. He goes as far as to correct them and create a revised model he calls, Complete and Incomplete Coordinate Systems. Even E=Mc2 gets a revision.

    "A new model is needed that corrects the problems identifies in Einstein's derivation. However, correcting the problem means correcting the theory as well as the equations. This offers the opportunity to establish a new foundation for understanding space and time."

    Understandably, he has alot of trouble getting his work published in established scientific journals.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    According to this page he thinks the error is in section 3 of Einstein's 1905 paper (which you can read here), where Einstein has the equation [tex]\xi = c \tau[/tex] (he actually uses a capital V instead of c to represent the speed of light in the original paper, although the translated version I link to replaces V with c) which can be rearranged to be [tex]\tau = \xi / c[/tex], and according to the Lorentz transformation we have [tex]\xi = (x - vt) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex], and also [tex]\tau = (t - vx/c^2) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex], which is not equal to [tex][(x - vt) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}] / c[/tex], which is what you get when you divide the formula for [tex]\xi[/tex] by c. The problem is that he isn't understanding the context of these equations. [tex]\xi = c \tau[/tex] is not meant to be a general relation between the two coordinates, it's just an equation for the path of a light beam in the [tex](\xi, \eta, \zeta, \tau)[/tex] coordinate system, whereas the equations [tex]\xi = (x - vt) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex] and [tex]\tau = (t - vx/c^2) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex] are meant to be part of a general rule (the Lorentz transform) for transforming a point in the (x,y,z,t) coordinate system into the same spacetime point described in terms of the [tex](\xi, \eta, \zeta, \tau)[/tex] coordinate system. As a simpler example, let's use Newtonian physics where the coordinate transformation rule (known as the 'Galilei transformation) is:

    x' = x - vt
    y' = y
    z' = z
    t' = t

    Suppose that in the (x',y',z',t') coordinate system we have a car moving along the x'-axis at velocity -v, whose position as a function of time will be given by x'(t) = -vt', which can be rearranged as t' = -x'/v. What he is doing is equivalent to then looking at the coordinate transform t' = t, and noting that this expression for t' is not equal in general to -(x - vt)/v, which is what you get when you plug in the coordinate transform x' = x - vt into the formula for the car's motion t' = -x'/v. Of course it's not true in general that t = -(x - vt)/v, but it is true if x and t represent the position of the car at a given time in the (x,y,z,t) coordinate system (in this coordinate system, the car is at rest, so its position as a function of time is given by x(t)=0...you can see that if you plug 0 in for x in t' = -(x - vt)/v, you do get back t' = t). Similarly, although he's of course correct in saying that [tex](t - vx/c^2) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex] is not in general equal to [tex][(x - vt) / \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}] / c[/tex], they will be equal in the case where x and t represent the coordinates of a light beam whose position as a function of time in the other coordinate system is [tex]\xi (\tau) = c \tau[/tex] (which means its position as a function of time in the (x,y,z,t) coordinate system can be found by solving [tex](x - vt) = c (t - vx/c^2)[/tex] for x, which gives x = ct...if you substitute x=ct into those two formulas that he says aren't equal in general, they become equal, so the equation actually is valid for points along the path of the light beam).
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  4. Sep 2, 2005 #3
    I relent, I do not have your understanding of this subject. Do you believe there is validity to Bryant's model?
  5. Sep 2, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    There are a zillion crank websites out there all screaming "Einstein was wrong". This is just one of them.
  6. Sep 2, 2005 #5
    According to the forum rules, the original post does not belong in this forum. This thread should be closed.
  7. Sep 2, 2005 #6

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I see the author of the thread using this Forum to ask a question, not to use it "as a soapbox for those who wish to argue Relativity's validity, or advertise (his) own personal (theory)," which really is forbidden by the Sticky at the top of this Forum. We don't like to stifle honest questioning, and so using a "?" instead of a "." or a "!" will get you some lattitude around here.
  8. Sep 2, 2005 #7
    So all someone has to do to get their theory discussed here, is have someone else ask a question about it and post a link? That seems like a weakness in the rules.
  9. Sep 2, 2005 #8

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The latitiude only goes so far.
  10. Sep 2, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well, do you understand the concept of different "reference frames" in classical physics? Like how, if I see a car go by me at 70 mph, I can analyze this using a coordinate system where I am at rest and the car is moving with a speed of 70 mph, but I can also use a coordinate system where the car is at rest and I am moving with a speed of 70 mph? If so, try just focusing on my analogy involving Newtonian physics, you might be able to follow it.
    I haven't looked at his model, just at his claims that there is a problem with relativity--I think those claims have no validity. His model might be wrong, or it might just be equivalent to relativity but in a less elegant form (like 'aether' models which make no predictions different than relativity).
  11. Sep 2, 2005 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is a BIG problem. Einstein's work is not accepted because people liked it. They didn't initially. The reason Einstein's work is great is because he made useful predictions. His theories were able to be tested, used, enhanced, etc. And that happens with a good theory.

    If someone comes along and says, "the accepted value of c is wrong" or "E does not equal mc^2" or the equivalent... it is incumbent on that person to explain why it otherwise looks right in all previous experiments. Please recall that the newest tests of SR, GR and QM - all of which Einstein contributed to - continue to support the theory to increasing levels of precision.

    No one is going to waste time with a theory that is obviously contradicted by the facts. Such a theory is brain dead to begin with. Something more than an empty promise of "something better at the end of the road" is required to get folks to take the ideas seriously. People who claim Einstein is wrong are a dime a dozen. Learn more about his work, and you will realize just how far he has brought us over the past 100 years.
  12. Sep 3, 2005 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    Bryant is just a garden variety crackpot.
  13. Sep 3, 2005 #12
    thanks man
  14. Sep 5, 2005 #13
    I apologize. I'm new to the forums here (just realized I'd once registered more than a year ago and hadn't been here since). This isn't the right spot for this post.

    I have a casual interest and simply found that website while googling the subject. I'd never seen anyone challenge Einstein myself and just wondered if the folks here could see through his calculations. He seemed to support his ideas. But, it's all a bit over my head.

    Admin, feel free to move the post :)
  15. Sep 6, 2005 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Einstein's two relativity theories are supported by just tons of experiments, as has been discussed ad nauseum on this subforum, look up the threads. People who want to propose alternative theories on Physics Forums have to present their theories to a committee and show why they are at least well founded. To date the only alternative theory that has passed the test is Self-Creation Cosmology (SCC). This gives the same results to all prior tests as GR, but will be distinguished from it - pro or con - by the geodetic curvature part of the Gravity Probe B experiment, which has just finished data collection and begun the data analysis work.
  16. Sep 6, 2005 #15


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    As Tom was saying, we'll make judgement calls. There's a difference between someone asking an honest question about something he/she has not seen before and someone trying to sneak in their pet crackpot theory. The former case can be educational/informative whereas the latter is not welcome here.

    For those interested, there is already a topic in the GA&C forum started on this.
  17. Apr 30, 2006 #16
    My name is Steven Bryant and I am the author of the www.RelativityChallenge.com site. I came across this posting and thought I would post a brief reply.

    Last year, Jesse M. (at least I think it was this Jesse) and I had a very good conversation about my derivation. (Note: Jesse's position is presented previously in this thread.)

    The basic premise behind my finding is that Einstein created his "fixed-point" equation for xi by starting with the "wave-front" equation xi=c*tau. During the derivation, Einstein simply performs several algebraic substitutions to express tau in terms of x, t, and v. The result is an expression of the general equation xi=c*tau as a specific instance of xi where tau is expressed in terms of x, t, and v. Einstein expresses this specific instance as xi=(x-vt)/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2) and defines this as his fixed-point equation for the x coordinate. Since this is considered his "fixed-point" equation, we should be able to express the specific instance of tau that corresponds to this value in terms of x, t, and v by dividing xi by c. However, xi/c does not always equal the stand-alone value for tau that Einstein presents in his paper. I suggest that this is a mathematical problem (see FAQ A19 on my web site for more information).

    While I have attempted to addressed this point on my web site, I recognized that not everyone agrees with my interpretation due to the accepted "meaning" already associated with each equation or variable. My position was, and still is, that the meaning doesn't trump a math rule violation. What I have found interesting is that when I've decoupled the equations from this "meaning" by changing the variables (for example, replace x with a, t with m, etc...) so that they don't readily look like Einstein's transformation equations and then ask about the validity of my finding, I get universal agreement that this is a math rule violation.

    I believe that a theoretical challenge to SR without experimental support will eventually fail. That said, in my analysis of the Michelson-Morley experiment, I have found that their expected result equation did not compensate for the "superposition of waves" principle. I believe they detected an Earth velocity of 30 km/s. If my reanalysis proves to be correct, then this experiment, which is widely accepted as supporting SR, could end up supporting a contrary conclusion. My paper, which has been accepted for publication, is available on my website.

    I am happy to join the conversation - regardless of whether in the end I am right or wrong.

    Thank you for allowing me to post my reply on your forum.

    Best Regards,
    Steven Bryant
  18. Apr 30, 2006 #17


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In other words, you redefined something according to whatever you wish. And then you found it wrong.

    This is a nasty thing to do.

    Sorry, your website has gotten more advertisement on here than it deserves. Either you clearly cite where your paper has been published (I certainly didn't see something this important in PRL lately) on here, or refrain from refering to it at all.

    This thread is closed. Please submit this "theory" to the IR forum per our guidelines.

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Challenging Einstein?
  1. Theory of einstein (Replies: 16)

  2. Newton Or Einstein (Replies: 22)

  3. Einstein's Twin (Replies: 4)

  4. Einstein Today (Replies: 1)