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On the Ether Swimmer Analogy

  1. Dec 19, 2009 #1
    On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    I am a high school student working through Lillian Lieber's The Einstein Theory of Relativity. She addresses Michelson's "swimmer analogy" (that light travelling through the ether could be compared to a swimmer travelling in a stream). I am confused as to how, in this theory, light with any component of motion in the "ether wind" direction would be able to move without a "deflection" in path. Help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2009 #2
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    Hi, I am also a high school student but took Relativity last semester. By the way when you refer to ether what do you imply. Do u imply ether as being space or ether as being a stream of possible interference in space like light passing through a huge planet( gravitational field).
  4. Dec 19, 2009 #3
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    I mean "ether" as the medium through which light travels, as envisaged in Michelson's day (i.e. as a fixed frame of reference through which the Earth would move). Perhaps if I were to write "luminiferous aether," my meaning would be more apparent?
  5. Dec 19, 2009 #4
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    I'm not sure if I understand your question, but I think the answer is that the light *would* be deflected under this theory. When Michelson's experiment found that this didn't actually occur, it put a big hole in the whole idea of an "aether".
  6. Dec 19, 2009 #5
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    Ohh now i understand that was in a frame where space was flat so ya but due to presence of planets, radiation anomalies, blackholes and many other things light cannot therefore travel without a deflection.
  7. Dec 19, 2009 #6
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    correct me if am wrong about the ether
  8. Dec 19, 2009 #7
    Re: On the Ether "Swimmer Analogy"

    i mean your reference to medium throws it off balance because light itslef doesnt need a medium.
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