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Does ether exists?

  1. Mar 1, 2010 #1
    During the 19th century, it was proposed that light travels through vacuum in the presence of a pseudo medium known as ether. But does it really exist? Is there any evidence whether it exists or not?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 1, 2010 #2

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    No. There is no evidence that it exists.
     
  4. Mar 1, 2010 #3
    I've often wondered if String Theorists consider spacetime as an ether of sorts. I guess it's a pretty irrelevant point regardless.
     
  5. Mar 1, 2010 #4
    Is there any experimental proof that it doesn't exist?
     
  6. Mar 1, 2010 #5

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    How would you conduct such an experiment? If you can describe the experiment you are looking for then someone on this site can probably tell you if it has been done.
     
  7. Mar 1, 2010 #6

    DaveC426913

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    The experimental evidence that it doesn't exist is that there is no evidence that it exists. That and the fact that the physics of EM radiation works perfectly fine without it.
     
  8. Mar 1, 2010 #7

    fluidistic

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  9. Mar 1, 2010 #8

    mgb_phys

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    Ether certainly exists
    Aether on the other hand doesn't
     
  10. Mar 1, 2010 #9

    fluidistic

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    According to wikipedia, Luminiferous aether is also called "ether". Now if you ask me a scientific reference, I run away!
     
  11. Mar 1, 2010 #10
    The ether doesn't exist but you could be forgiven if you called it dark energy, or the quantum state or perhaps quintessence, not exactly the same but certainly sharing some of the same properties as the 19th century aether.
     
  12. Mar 2, 2010 #11
    If an aether existed the planets would not keep orbiting they would slow down.
     
  13. Mar 2, 2010 #12

    jtbell

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    Which to my mind is like calling a horse a hippopotamus because they share some of the same features. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Mar 2, 2010 #13
    I just wonder why you think so? If there existed an aether, then one of its most significant features was that it was considered massless so no transfer of momentum could contribute to a slow down.
     
  15. Mar 2, 2010 #14
    'Hippo' means 'river horse' in Greek so not too different really.
     
  16. Mar 2, 2010 #15
    A photon has no mass but it has momentum and it can transfer momentum , like in laser cooling .
     
  17. Mar 2, 2010 #16
    The photon has a frequency which is the bit that relates to its momentum (I think that's right). The 19th century aether was considered as not having a frequency . Perhaps Tesla thought it did but in general I think he was an exception.
     
  18. Mar 2, 2010 #17
    well doesn't everything have a frequency , and we are talking about something that doesn't even exist.
     
  19. Mar 3, 2010 #18
    No not everything. The field round a magnet for instance. Einstein's 'spacetime continuum' :smile: the non existent aether to name but a few.
     
  20. Mar 3, 2010 #19
    so your implying that gravity is continuous and magnetic fields are continuous and not quantized.
     
  21. Mar 4, 2010 #20
    Yes - but to be honest, I'm not really 100% sure about magnetic fields.
     
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