2005-09-15 18:09:01 UTC
time , but by topolgical properties, a set of ratios determined at the
aether scale; frame independent constants. A very small number of fixed laws
by which all matter and space must abide. Physical (real) but non-material
quantities (topological). Time independent continuity and connectedness. We
can also call it topological space, inertial space, or even momentum space.
Aether is what allows EPR (non-local communication) type phenomena to take
Lorentz invariant values originate at the aether level, they are real but
non-material ratios which often help determine Lorentz invariant geometrical
properties of objects. Take the fine structure constant for example, change
its value and you get a totally different universe.
Quantum phenomena are caused by fractal topological defects embedded in and
forming a growing three-dimensional fractal process-space, which is
essentially a quantum foam.
"Topological space (aether) can be defined as a set with a collection of
subsets satisfying the conditions that both the empty set and the set itself
belong to the collection, the union of any number of the subsets is also an
element of the collection, and the intersection of any finite number of the
subsets is an element of the collection." -- Webster dictionary
Even Einstein's non-material aether of 1920 even comforms to topological
quantum field theory.
" But therewith the conception of the ether has again acquired an
intelligible content, although this content differs widely from that of the
ether of the mechanical ondulatory theory of light. The ether of the general
theory of relativity is a medium which is itself devoid of all mechanical
and kinematical qualities, but helps to determine mechanical (and
electromagnetic) events. "
" Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of
relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense,
therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of
relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not
only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence
for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore
any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be
thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media,
as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion
may not be applied to it. " ------ Albert Einstein
[This are excerpts from a John Baez essay "Higher-dimensional algebra and
Planck scale physics", published in the book "Physics Meets Philosophy at
the Planck Scale"]
***" ...in topological quantum field theory we cannot measure time in
seconds, because there is no background metric available to let us count the
passage of time! We can only keep track of topological change. "***
" The topology of spacetime is arbitrary and there is no background metric.
" Quantum topology is very technical, as anything involving mathematical
physicists inevitably becomes. But if we stand back a moment, it should be
perfectly obvious that differential topology and quantum theory must merge
if we are to understand background-free quantum field theories. In physics
that ignores general relativity, we treat space as a background on which the
process of change occurs. But these are idealizations which we must overcome
in a background-free theory. In fact, the concepts of 'space' and 'state'
are two aspects of a unified whole, and likewise for the concepts of
'spacetime' and 'process'. It is a challenge, not just for mathematical
physicists, but also for philosophers, to understand this more deeply.
" -------- John Baez
"When theorizing about an all-inclusive reality, the first and most
important principle is containment, which simply tells us what we should and
should not be considering. Containment principles, already well known in
cosmology, generally take the form of tautologies; e.g., "The physical
universe contains all and only that which is physical." The predicate
"physical", like all predicates, here corresponds to a structured set, "the
physical universe" (because the universe has structure and contains objects,
it is a structured set). But this usage of tautology is somewhat loose, for
it technically amounts to a predicate-logical equivalent of propositional
tautology called autology, meaning self-description. Specifically, the
predicate physical is being defined on topological containment in the
physical universe, which is tacitly defined on and descriptively contained
in the predicate physical, so that the self-definition of "physical" is a
two-step operation involving both topological and descriptive containment.
While this principle, which we might regard as a statement of "physicalism",
is often confused with materialism on the grounds that "physical" equals
"material", the material may in fact be only a part of what makes up the
physical. Similarly, the physical may only be a part of what makes up the
real. Because the content of reality is a matter of science as opposed to
mere semantics, this issue can be resolved only by rational or empirical
evidence, not by assumption alone." -------- Christopher Michael Langan
There isn't a change in the incoming flux of quantum matter (ZPR, material
space, Guth's 'false vacuum') as much as there is a change in the
information processing, or more simply said, a change in process speed.
Since the speed of light, hence, the propagation speed of fields, must
remain constant for all the other constants to continue to be proportianally
the same, process (mass) has to increase in order to keep up... to a point,
once you go over the speed limit and fields can't keep up, matter
To measure aether drag all you need to do is measure the momentum of a
Some say the aether concept was already discredited, but they are wrong,
please read carefully:
Einstein and the Ether - by Ludwik Kostro
(Apeiron, Montreal, 2000)
"Whether gravitational, electrical, and nuclear interactions can be
encompassed within a unified theoretical structure, and whether such a
structure will be conceived as a plenary space with physical properties,
remains to be seen. But if the history of the successive dynasties of aether
is any guide, we can eventually proclaim:
The luminiferous aether is dead!
Long live the aether!" --- Owen Gingerich
Nowadays, nobody talks any longer about the ether in scientific ortohodox
books, in higher school or university classes, etc., yet this concept has
been one of the corner stones of many rational interpretation of natural
phenomena for a great long time - to such an extent that a good physicist
recently wrote to us that all XIXth century physics tried to "prove the
existence of the ether which was later proved not to exist".
If we ask why the ether has disappeared from the major scenes of our
knowledge of Nature, everybody will answer that Einstein has proved, with
his celebrated theory of relativity, that the ether does not exist. This was
one of those concepts that old physicists were accustomed to use in their
"primitive" speculations, but today, luckily, it has been completely
overthrown, together with other similar relics of "superstition", by XXth
century scientists. It was in that time that mankind has realized the
greatest achievements of ever in science and technology, which can be
interpreted as the goal of a long walk, that began thanks to such men like
Copernic, Galilei, Descartes, Newton,... just sprung out from the darkness
of Middle Ages.
"common people", and even the "common scientist", would be surprised in
reading this book (about 240 pp.), written by the physicist and philosopher
Ludwik Kostro, and intended for physicists as well as for historians of
science, philosophers, or in general for any people interested in the
development of scientific culture. As a matter of fact, it is entirely
dedicated to the troublesome relationships between the greatest scientist of
all times - or at least many people think so! - and the elusive ether.
Let us see the question with the author's own words (Introduction):
"In the eyes of most physicists and philosophers, Albert Einstein has
acquired a reputation for abolishing the concept of the ether as a medium
filling space (or identified with it), which was responsible for carrying
electromagnetic, gravitational and other interactions. Today, this notion is
echoed in textbooks, encyclopaedias, and scientific reviews. However, it
does not fully reflect the historical truth, and in a sense even represents
a distortion [...] Einstein denied the existence of the ether for only 11
years - from 1905 to 1916. Thereafter, he recognized that his attitude was
too radical and even regretted that his works published before 1916 had so
definitely and absolutely rejected the existence of the ether."
The author proves this assertion directly referring to the opinions which
Einstein himself expressed during his life, in a book which is therefore
full of quotations and precise bibliographical references (up to the point
of quoting even the original Deutsch passages in a special appendix). Here
they are some examples of Einstein's thoughts:
"It would have been more correct if I had limited myself, in my earlier
publications, to emphasizing only the nonexistence of an ether velocity,
instead of arguing the total nonexistence of the ether, for I can see that
with the word ether we say nothing else than that space has to be viewed as
a carrier of physical qualities."
" [...] in 1905 I was of the opinion that it was no longer allowed to speak
about the ether in physics. This opinion, however, was too radical, as we
will see later when we discuss the general theory of relativity. It does
remain allowed, as always, to introduce a medium filling all space and to
assume that the electromagnetic fields (and matter as well) are its states.
[...] once again 'empty' space appears as endowed with physical properties,
i.e., no longer as physically empty, as seemed to be the case according to
special relativity [...] ".
"This word ether has changed its meaning many times in the development if
science [...] Its story, by no means finished, is continued by relativity
It seems interesting to quote even the following passages by Einstein, where
he somehow admits the rational necessity of the ether, that is to say, the
necessity of conceiving a space which cannot be thought of but endowed with
"There is an important argument in favour of the hypothesis of the ether. To
deny the existence of the ether means, in the last analysis, denying all
physical properties to empty space."
"The ether hypothesis was bound always to play a part even if it is mostly a
latent one at first in the thinking of physicists."
From - ETHER AND THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY by A.Einstein (1920)
" But on the other hand there is a weighty argument to be adduced in favour
of the ether hypothesis. To deny the ether is ultimately to assume that
empty space has no physical qualities whatever. The fundamental facts of
mechanics do not harmonize with this view. --- *For the mechanical behaviour
of a corporeal system hovering freely in empty space depends not only on
relative positions (distances) and relative velocities, but also on its
state of rotation, which physically may be taken as a characteristic not
appertaining to the system in itself.* --- In order to be able to look upon
the rotation of the system, at least formally, as something real, Newton
objectivises space. --- * Since he classes his absolute space together with
real things, for him rotation relative to an absolute space is also
something real. Newton might no less well have called his absolute space
"Ether"; what is essential is merely that besides observable objects, ---
*another thing, which is not perceptible, must be looked upon as real,* ---
to enable acceleration or rotation to be looked upon as something real.
It is true that Mach tried to avoid having to accept as real something which
is not observable by endeavouring to substitute in mechanics a mean
acceleration with reference to the totality of the masses in the universe in
place of an acceleration with reference to absolute space. But inertial
resistance opposed to relative acceleration of distant masses presupposes
action at a distance; and as the modern physicist does not believe that he
may accept this action at a distance, he comes back once more, if he follows
Mach, to the ether, which has to serve as medium for the effects of inertia.
But this conception of the ether to which we are led by Mach's way of
thinking differs essentially from the ether as conceived by Newton, by
Fresnel, and by Lorentz. Mach's ether not only conditions the behaviour of
inert masses, but is also conditioned in its state by them.
Mach's idea finds its full development in the ether of the general theory of
relativity. According to this theory the metrical qualities of the continuum
of space-time differ in the environment of different points of space-time,
and are partly conditioned by the matter existing outside of the territory
(Which means that all points in space are interconnected) -- Laurent
This spacetime variability of the reciprocal relations of the standards of
space and time, or, perhaps, the recognition of the fact that " empty space
" in its physical relation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic, compelling
us to describe its state by ten functions (the gravitation potentials
g[greek subscript mu, nu]), has, I think, finally disposed of the view that
space is physically empty. But therewith the conception of the ether has
again acquired an intelligible content, although this content differs widely
from that of the ether of the mechanical undulatory theory of light. ---
*The ether of the general theory of relativity is a medium which is itself
devoid of all mechanical and kinematical qualities, but helps to determine
mechanical (and electromagnetic) events.*
What is fundamentally new in the ether of the general theory of relativity
as opposed to the ether of Lorentz consists in this, --- *that the state of
the former is at every place determined by connections with the matter and
the state of the ether in neighbouring places,* --- which are amenable to
law in the form of differential equations; whereas the state of the
Lorentzian ether in the absence of electromagnetic fields is conditioned by
nothing outside itself, and is everywhere the same. The ether of the general
theory of relativity is transmuted conceptually into the ether of Lorentz if
we substitute constants for the functions of space which describe the
former, disregarding the causes which condition its state. Thus we may also
say, I think, that the ether of the general theory of relativity is the
outcome of the Lorentzian ether, through relativation. "
" ...when H. A. Lorentz entered upon the scene. He brought theory into
harmony with experience by means of a wonderful simplification of
theoretical principles. He achieved this, the most important advance in the
theory of electricity since Maxwell, by taking from ether its mechanical,
and from matter its electromagnetic qualities. As in empty space, so too in
the interior of material bodies, the ether, and not matter viewed
atomistically, was exclusively the seat of electromagnetic fields. According
to Lorentz the elementary particles of matter alone are capable of carrying
out movements; their electromagnetic activity is entirely confined to the
carrying of electric charges. Thus Lorentz succeeded in reducing all
electromagnetic happenings to Maxwell's equations for free space.
As to the mechanical nature of the Lorentzian ether, it may be said of it,
in a somewhat playful spirit, that immobility is the only mechanical
property of which it has not been deprived by H, A. Lorentz. It may be added
that the whole change in the conception of the ether which the special
theory of relativity brought about, consisted in taking away from the ether
its last mechanical quality, namely, its immobility. " ---- Albert Einstein
Sir Edmund T. Whittaker in the preface to his scholarly and scientific "A
history of the Theories of Aether and Electricity" published in 1951 said:
"As everyone knows, the aether played a great part in the physics of the
nineteenth century; but in the first decade of the twentieth, chiefly as
result of the failure of attempts to observe the earth's motion relative to
the aether, and the acceptance of the principle that such attempts must
always fail, the word "aether" fell out of favour, and it became customary
to refer to the interplanetary spaces as "vacuous"; the vacuum being
conceived as mere emptiness, having no properties except that of propagating
electromagnetic waves. But with the development of quantum electrodynamics,
the vacuum has come to be regarded as the seat of the "zero-point"
oscillations of the electromagnetic field, of the "zero-point" fluctuations
of electric charge and current, and of a "polarisation" corresponding to a
dielectric constant different from unity. It seems absurd to retain the name
"vacuum" for an entity so rich in physical properties, and the historical
word "aether" may fitly be retained." ----- Sir Edmund T. Whittaker
In 1954 P.A.M. Dirac, a Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1933, said -
"The aetherless basis of physical theory may have reached the end of its
capabilities and we see in the aether a new hope for the future." --- P.
The science popularizer Zukav writes -
"Quantum field theory resurrects a new kind of ether, e.g. particles are
excited states of the featureless ground state of the field (the vacuum
state). The vacuum state is so featureless and has such high symmetry that
we cannot assign a velocity to it experimentally." ---- G. Zukav
The very well known Tao of Physics by Capra states -
"This [quantum field] is indeed an entirely new concept which has been
extended to describe all subatomic particles and their interactions, each
type of particle corresponding to a different field. In these 'quantum field
theories', the classical contrast between the solid particles and the space
surrounding them is completely overcome. The quantum field is seen as the
fundamental physical entity; a continuous medium which is present everywhere
in space. Particles are merely local condensations of the field;
concentrations of energy which come and go, thereby losing their individual
character and dissolving into the underlying field. In the words of Albert
" We may therefore regard matter as being constituted by the regions of
space in which the field is extremely intense ... There is no place in this
new kind of physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only
reality. " (page 210)
And they allowed Apollonius to ask questions; ...and he asked them of what
they thought the cosmos was composed; but they replied:
"Are there then four" he asked.
"Not four," said Iarchas, "but five."
"And how can there be a fifth," said Apollonius, "alongside of water and air
and earth and fire?"
"There is the ether", replied the other, "which we must regard as the stuff
of which gods are made; for just as all mortal creatures inhale the air, so
do immortal and divine natures inhale the ether."
Apollonius again asked which was the first of the elements, and Iarchas
"All are simultaneous, for a living creature is not born bit by bit."
"Am I," said Apollonius, "to regard the universe as a living creature?"
"Yes," said the other, "if you have a sound knowledge of it, for it
engenders all living things."
- The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Philostratus, 220AD.
"Physical knowledge has advanced much since 1905, notably by the arrival of
quantum mechanics, and the situation [about the scientific plausibility of
aether] has again changed. If one examines the question in the light of
present-day knowledge, one finds that the aether is no longer ruled out by
relativity, and good reasons can now be advanced for postulating an aether.
. . .
We can now see that we may very well have an aether, subject to quantum
mechanics and conformable to relativity, provided we are willing to consider
a perfect vacuum as an idealized state, not attainable in practice. From the
experimental point of view there does not seem to be any objection to this.
We must make some profound alterations to the theoretical idea of the
vacuum. . . . Thus, with the new theory of electrodynamics we are rather
forced to have an aether."
---- P. A. M. Dirac,
"Is There an Aether?"
Nature 168 (1951): 906-7.
"...that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum,
without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action
and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an
absurdity, that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters a
competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it. Gravity must be caused
by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws, but whether this
agent be material or immaterial I have left to the consideration of my
readers." --- Isaac Newton