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Potential to rectify an error in wikipedia

  1. Mar 5, 2009 #1
    I'm not arrogant enough to change wikipedia myself, but I suspect there is an error in a page on the speed of light. Specifically http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_..._and_the_Michelson.E2.80.93Morley_experiment".

    The section states:

    "The null result also led Lorentz to propose that motion through the aether contracts the Michelson interferometer due to Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction,[64] and later to propose his Lorentz transformations which formed the mathematical basis of Einstein's special theory of relativity."

    My recollection is that Lorentz transformations are derived from electromagnetic considerations and are a consequence of the Maxwell equations, and that Lorentz himself did not recognise the potential application of his equations to the Michelson Morley null result until later, after the development of the Lorentz transformations in 1899, ie around 1904. (Even when he did realise the application, it was to explain how luminiferous aether could still exist but not be noticed by Michelson and Morley - a year before Einstein published the theory which effectively demolished the aether altogether.)

    Is this an error? If so, is it worth correcting or is it close enough to the facts to leave in place?


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2009 #2
    Interestingly enough, wikipedia user "Brews_ohare" modified the comment I highlighted about 20-30 minutes after I posted here.

    It seems to be entirely coincidental because he modified a number of other things as well.

    Case closed :smile:
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