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Old October 20th 09, 06:52 AM posted to sci.logic,alt.philosophy,sci.astro,sci.math
Pentcho Valev
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Posts: 8,078

All bursts of guilty conscience in Einsteiniana are developments of
the following haunting thought: Some characteristics present light as
a continuous structure or field but, as far as its speed is concerned,
light definitely behaves as discontinuous particles with a mass do.
That is, light accelerates in a gravitational field and incorporates
the speed of the emitter into its own speed just as discontinuous
particles with a mass do.

Bursts of guilty conscience in Einsteiniana:

"The Development of Our Views on the Composition and Essence of
Radiation" by Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein 1909: "A large body of facts shows undeniably that
light has certain fundamental properties that are better explained by
Newton's emission theory of light than by the oscillation theory. For
this reason, I believe that the next phase in the development of
theoretical physics will bring us a theory of light that can be
considered a fusion of the oscillation and emission theories. The
purpose of the following remarks is to justify this belief and to show
that a profound change in our views on the composition and essence of
light is imperative.....Then the electromagnetic fields that make up
light no longer appear as a state of a hypothetical medium, but rather
as independent entities that the light source gives off, just as in
Newton's emission theory of light......Relativity theory has changed
our views on light. Light is conceived not as a manifestation of the
state of some hypothetical medium, but rather as an independent entity
like matter. Moreover, this theory shares with the corpuscular theory
of light the unusual property that light carries inertial mass from
the emitting to the absorbing object."

John Stachel: "Einstein discussed the other side of the particle-field
dualism - get rid of fields and just have particles."
Albert Einstein 1954: "I consider it entirely possible that PHYSICS
STRUCTURES. Then NOTHING will remain of my whole castle in the air,
including the theory of gravitation, but also NOTHING of the rest of
contemporary physics."
John Stachel's comment: "If I go down, everything goes down, ha ha,
hm, ha ha ha."

Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the Problems in the
Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies that Led him to it
John Norton: "Einstein could not see how to formulate a fully
relativistic electrodynamics merely using his new device of field
transformations. So he considered the possibility of modifying
Maxwell's electrodynamics in order to bring it into accord with an
emission theory of light, such as Newton had originally conceived.
There was some inevitability in these attempts, as long as he held to
classical (Galilean) kinematics. Imagine that some emitter sends out a
light beam at c. According to this kinematics, an observer who moves
past at v in the opposite direction, will see the emitter moving at v
and the light emitted at c+v. This last fact is the defining
characteristic of an emission theory of light: the velocity of the
emitter is added vectorially to the velocity of light emitted....If an
emission theory can be formulated as a field theory, it would seem to
be unable to determine the future course of processes from their state
objections would render an EMISSION THEORY OF LIGHT INADMISSIBLE."

John Norton: "Einstein regarded the Michelson-Morley experiment as
evidence for the principle of relativity, whereas later writers almost
universally use it as support for the light postulate of special

"Relativity and Its Roots" By Banesh Hoffmann
p.92: "Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had
suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one,
the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding
train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the
speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object
emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume
that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to
Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null
result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to
contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as
we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null
result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian
ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more
or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether."

John Stachel: "Not only is the theory [of relativity] compatible with
an emission theory of radiation, since it implies that the velocity of
light is always the same relative to its source; the theory also
requires that RADIATION TRANSFER MASS between an emitter and an
absorber, reinforcing Einstein's light quantum hypothesis that
radiation manifests a particulate structure under certain

Jean Eisenstaedt: "At the end of the 18th century, a natural extension
of Newton's dynamics to light was developed but immediately forgotten.
A body of works completed the Principia with a relativistic optics of
moving bodies, the discovery of the Doppler-Fizeau effect some sixty
years before Doppler, and many other effects and ideas which represent
a fascinating preamble to Einstein relativities. It was simply
supposed that 'a body-light', as Newton named it, was subject to the
whole dynamics of the Principia in much the same way as were material
particles; thus it was subject to the Galilean relativity and its
velocity was supposed to be variable. Of course it was subject to the
short range 'refringent' force of the corpuscular theory of light --
which is part of the Principia-- but also to the long range force of
gravitation which induces Newton's theory of gravitation. The fact
that the 'mass' of a corpuscle of light was not known did not
constitute a problem since it does not appear in the Newtonian (or
Einsteinian) equations of motion. It was precisely what John Michell
(1724-1793), Robert Blair (1748-1828), Johann G. von Soldner
(1776-1833) and Fran¸cois Arago (1786-1853) were to do at the end of
the 18th century and the beginning the 19th century in the context of
Newton's dynamics. Actually this 'completed' Newtonian theory of light
and material corpuscle seems to have been implicitly accepted at the
time. In such a Newtonian context, not only Soldner's calculation of
the deviation of light in a gravitational field was understood, but
also dark bodies (cousins of black holes). A natural (Galilean and
thus relativistic) optics of moving bodies was also developed which
easily explained aberration and implied as well the essence of what we
call today the Doppler effect. Moreover, at the same time the
structure of -- but also the questions raised by-- the Michelson
experiment was understood. Most of this corpus has long been
forgotten. The Michell-Blair-Arago effect, prior to Doppler's effect,
is entirely unknown to physicists and historians. As to the influence
of gravitation on light, the story was very superficially known but
had never been studied in any detail. Moreover, the existence of a
theory dealing with light, relativity and gravitation, embedded in
Newton's Principia was completely ignored by physicists and by
historians as well. But it was a simple and natural way to deal with
the question of light, relativity (and gravitation) in a Newtonian

John Norton, 1 Mar 2009: "A common belief among philosophers of
physics is that the passage of time of ordinary experience is merely
an illusion. The idea is seductive since it explains away the awkward
fact that our best physical theories of space and time have yet to
capture this passage. I urge that we should resist the idea. We know
what illusions are like and how to detect them. Passage exhibits no
sign of being an illusion....Following from the work of Einstein,
Minkowski and many more, physics has given a wonderfully powerful
conception of space and time. Relativity theory, in its most
perspicacious form, melds space and time together to form a four-
dimensional spacetime. The study of motion in space and and all other
processes that unfold in them merely reduce to the study of an odd
sort of geometry that prevails in spacetime. In many ways, time turns
out to be just like space. In this spacetime geometry, there are
differences between space and time. But a difference that somehow
captures the passage of time is not to be found. There is no passage
of time. There are temporal orderings. We can identify earlier and
later stages of temporal processes and everything in between. What we
cannot find is a passing of those stages that recapitulates the
presentation of the successive moments to our consciousness, all
centered on the one preferred moment of "now." At first, that seems
like an extraordinary lacuna. It is, it would seem, a failure of our
best physical theories of time to capture one of time's most important
properties. However the longer one works with the physics, the less
worrisome it becomes....I was, I confess, a happy and contented
believer that passage is an illusion. It did bother me a little that
we seemed to have no idea of just how the news of the moments of time
gets to be rationed to consciousness in such rigid doses.....Now
consider the passage of time. Is there a comparable reason in the
known physics of space and time to dismiss it as an illusion? I know
of none. The only stimulus is a negative one. We don't find passage in
our present theories and we would like to preserve the vanity that our
physical theories of time have captured all the important facts of
time. So we protect our vanity by the stratagem of dismissing passage
as an illusion."

Pentcho Valev


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