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What do pervading and aether mean?

  1. Dec 21, 2011 #1


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    What do "pervading" and "aether" mean?

    What do "pervading" and "aether" mean in: "Isaac Newton considered light to be a beam of particles that set the pervading aether vibrating." ?

    I'm not taking a Quantum Mechanics course but I might in the future but either way, I'm interested in learning about it so I bought this book and that's the very first sentence and I already don't get it lol. Could someone please break this down so I can understand it?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2011 #2


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    Re: What do "pervading" and "aether" mean?

    The "aether" was simply the substance that Newton believed filled the universe. "Pervading" simply means "filling" or "is everywhere".
  4. Dec 21, 2011 #3


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    Re: What do "pervading" and "aether" mean?

  5. Dec 21, 2011 #4
    Re: What do "pervading" and "aether" mean?

    I don't think Newton believed in aether though. Particles do not need a medium to propagate. Waves do. The hypothesis that light was some kind of wave propagating through the "luminiferous aether" (from lumen = light in latin) was put forward by Christian Huygens.
  6. Dec 22, 2011 #5
    Re: What do "pervading" and "aether" mean?

    So I guess you consider the vacuum a medium.
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