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No width contraction in Michelson Morley Experiment, why?

  1. Jun 12, 2007 #1
    Based on the Michelson Morley experiment, Lorentz proposed already length contraction as an explanation of the negative outcome of the experiment.

    a) Did he also propose time dilation?
    b) How is width contraction ruled out: is that a necessary conclusion of the Michelson Morley experiment or was this ruled out by some specific other experiment.

    Citations would be nice.

    Thanks,
    Harald.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2007 #2
    This is how I understood it:

    The length contraction is not ruled out, it is still part of the explanation. If the experiment is observed from space, so that earth does not seem to be at rest, then the relative velocity of earth and light beams is not the c (in this frame), and the length contraction must be taken into account to explain the outcome of the experiment.
     
  4. Jun 16, 2007 #3
    That's what I said. I was asking about width contraction.

    Harald.
     
  5. Jun 16, 2007 #4

    robphy

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    If "motion is along the x-axis", are you referring to the absence of contraction in the "y" and the "z" directions?
     
  6. Jun 16, 2007 #5
    Well, yes:approve:, anything orthogonal to the direction of motion.

    Harald.
     
  7. Jun 16, 2007 #6

    robphy

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    Essentially, one can regard each arm of the Michelson-Morley apparatus as a "light clock". So, your question is the same as asking why there is no contraction for a "transverse light clock".

    Take a look at https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=997598 .
     
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