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The Case Against The Word Aether

  1. Jun 4, 2013 #1


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    The Case Against The Word "Aether"

    Many BSM theories involve a space-time that has properties rather than being "nothing" or omnipresent field or substance, but the word "aether" as a description for that "non-nothing" vacuum between Standard Model particles is long past its due date as a matter of written style.

    I elaborate further and more emphatically on this notion at the following blog post: http://dispatchesfromturtleisland.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-style-note-for-would-be-einsteins.html

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
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  3. Jun 5, 2013 #2


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  4. Jul 25, 2013 #3
    I agree that the 19th century idea of a 'luminiferous aether' has no foundation in observation or experiment, but I'm not so sure that 'legitimate physicists' shouldn't now and then remember how this concept was used to enable the propagation of electromagnetic waves through the Vacuum. It did so by inventing a continuum that sustained action-at-a-distance, even if this were infinitesimal distances. Indeed this concept (perhaps like quantum entanglement?) still seems to me essential for propagating any disturbances over spacetime intervals, no matter how tiny they are.

    A possible example of a modern toy 'ether' might be imagined inside a large dollop of liquid metal, say lithium at 200 C. Here the valence electrons of its constituent atoms (1 per atom for simple Li) are delocalised into a uniform continuum of mass and charge over the entire liquid volume. Such a continuum could, I guess, sustain various wave-like disturbances carrying charge, energy and momentum, while any motion the continuum had relative to an 'inside observer' (if any such existed) could be difficult to define and detect. Michelson and Morley should rest easily?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
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