The Michelson-Morley Mistake
At the moment, our physicists seem to know nearly everything about our universe. According to our science programmes, news reports and interviews, they’ve got everything pretty much sorted. They have a few points of contention, which they’re talking energetically about in their conferences and discussion-forums, but these are only minor issues. On all the important, fundamental issues of physics, such as Relativity, the Big Bang Theory, Dark Matter or Black Holes, they are all in confident agreement.
This unanimous confidence isn’t a new situation in physics. Over a century ago, the physics community was also very confident that everything important had been sorted out. In 1894, Albert. A. Michelson said in a speech at the dedication of Ryerson Physics Lab, University of Chicago:
“The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote…. Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.”
Not long after that statement was made, events made clear that he was almost completely wrong. Less than a decade after he made his speech, Max Planck discovered that the only way to understand black-body radiation was to conclude that light could be both a particle and a wave. This understanding began the field of Quantum Physics. As a result, the whole field of physics was turned on its head. History has therefore shown that it’s perfectly possible, at any one time, for nearly everyone in physics to be completely certain of their field, only for the whole subject to be upended within a generation.
The subject of this article is about something else that Albert. A. Michelson was involved in, and the possibility that Michelson was in error about that other thing too. Unwittingly, he may have sent the field of physics entirely down the wrong path, and it’s been on that wrong path ever since.
Seven years before he made his infamously over-confident speech in the University of Chicago, Albert. A. Michelson conducted a now-famous experiment. At that time, physicists believed that there was an ether, a medium in which all matter moved, often called the luminiferous aether. They were sure of this because they knew that light behaved as a wave, that it could refract and reflect, and so they assumed there must be a medium through which light moved, a ‘water’ that light-waves flowed through. Michelson and his fellow scientist Edward Morley wanted to know more about this ether. In particular, they wanted to work out our net movement through the ether. We don’t move much, when we’re standing around on Earth, but our planet does orbit our sun and so we’re therefore all moving through space at high speed. In addition, our entire solar system is orbiting our galaxy, the Milky Way, so we’re moving through space in that way too. What’s more, our entire galaxy is moving. If the two men discovered our net movement, it could help physicists calculate some of these other phenomena and so increase our understanding of the universe.
Mickelson and Morley built a device to measure this effect. It used a clever technique involving light. By bouncing and splitting light off mirrors, then comparing the phase of those returning light beams, it could show if the speed of the beams had changed on the outward and return journeys. If there was an ether, the two men calculated, then there should be a change in the time taken for the light to travel in certain directions because it would have to travel ‘upstream’ through the flowing ether, just like someone rowing against the current. By comparison, a light beam that avoided the ether ‘current’ shouldn’t be slowed down at all. They, most likely, assumed that since our planet is speeding through space as it orbits our sun, and spinning on its axis, then the light beams should be slowed, or speeded up by the ether. If the experimenters were unlucky enough choose a time of day when their kit was at the wrong angle to the static ether, they could perform experiments at various times of the day to counter this effect.
To their surprise, Mickelson and Morley discovered that the speed of the light-beams didn’t change, whichever direction they pointed their device, and whatever time they carried out their experiment. This seemed, to them, to mean only one thing, that there was no ether. They published their results. It was a shock to their entire field. Physicists scratched their heads over the matter. Over a decade later, Einstein came to the rescue. He worked out a way to describe the universe’s movements without the need for an ether, thus supporting the experiment’s result. He called his clever theory Special Relativity and then refined it into General Relativity. Nowadays, all physicists believe that General Relativity is brilliant and absolutely correct, and so it stands to reason that Mickelson and Morley were right and there’s definitely no ether.
Below is a grainy picture of the Mickelson and Morley apparatus. It consisted of a large block of sandstone, about a foot thick and five feet square, floating on a circular trough of mercury. The light interferometry equipment was mounted on top of the sandstone block. It was cutting-edge kit at the time but there’s a massive flaw in the setup.
The flaw is based on a simple possibility: what if the ether that pervades our universe is not static in space, but one that flows along gravitational lines? If this was true, then the ether’s movement would be all about the local gravitational situation. The fact that our planet speeds through space wouldn’t matter to the experiment, because the ether activity would all be about the local gravitational flow. As we all know, gravity on the surface of Earth is focussed downwards; we are all pinned to the ground because we are gravitationally attracted to our planet. It is true that we are gravitationally attracted to each other, and the sun, but these forces are tiny in comparison to our attraction to the Earth. A gravitation-based ether would therefore be constantly flowing vertically downwards. Any experiment to measure ether flow, through light-paths, would therefore need to send its light beams in a vertical direction.
Mickelson and Morley only tested the presence of the ether in a direction orthogonal to gravity. This is perfectly understandable, as their kit weighed a ton, literally. The problem with that setup is that none of the light beams in their interferometer would be travelling ‘upstream’ or ‘downstream’, they would be at right-angles to the flow, and so they would experience minimal change in the time taken for their journeys.
This huge oversight has not been corrected, at least to my knowledge, by other scientific research. For example, a more recent, and more precise experiment, repeating those same tests but to a higher accuracy, conducted by Ch. Eisele, A. Yu. Nevsky, and S. Schiller and entitled Laboratory Test of the Isotropy of Light Propagation at the 10-17 Level, used modern, cutting-edge equipment. Its apparatus incorporated vacuum technology, acoustic and thermal isolation and a granite base but it was fundamentally the same setup. It did not, at least as far as I can tell from the paper, test in the vertical direction at all.
Nowadays, with modern equipment, we can test in three dimensions. One scientist has done just that. Martin Grusenick has repeated the Mickelson Morley experiment in three dimensions using much lighter equipment, including several budget but precise lasers. He has posted a video of his tests on YouTube. Grusenick found that when he rotated his detector in the vertical direction, there was clear evidence that the speed of the light-beams had changed. This result indicates that there is an ether and that it flows downwards, following the direction of gravity. Here’s Grusenick’s video:
Ether-flow along gravity lines makes perfect sense. It would explain what gravity is; the flow of an ether. This behaviour would also explain gravity-lensing, when a light from a distant star is bent by an intervening star’s gravitational field. According to Relativity, the intervening star’s mass had bent space, which then bends the light’s path. This is an elegant explanation, but the ether flow idea works just as well. In that version, the light from that star has been bent by the ether flow, like a boat’s path being pushed off-line by a current. It seems that there is evidence for an ether. It therefore makes sense to investigate it; how would an ether description of reality work?
That is not a particle, it’s a wave
Alfred North Whitehead, the English philosopher and mathematician, who co-authored Bertrand Russell’s Principia Mathematica, believed in an ether. In particular, he believed that our reality is built upon an active, transmuting ether. In other words, the medium in which all physical things exist is not just a passive fluid, line inanimate water, but something that reacts and transforms. This ether doesn’t support physical objects, it is physical objects. What we see as stable particles, from the world of protons and neutrons upwards, are in fact a collection of ether particles in a state of dynamic equilibrium. They are like a wave, rolling across the sea. The wave appears to be an object but fundamentally, it is a collection of smaller particles that constantly being added and removed. If the creation-destruction process of the constituent particles ever stopped, the wave would collapse.
We can see such dynamic equilibrium in chemical setups. For example, the Belousov-Zhabotinski or BZ chemical reaction consists of a set of special reagents, particularly bromine and an acid, that when mixed can create a strange but fascinating effect; the mixture oscillates between two different chemical states. These oscillations can be made visible using special lighting, creating mesmerising patterns. At no point is the mixture statically stable, as it is forever moving from one state to the other.
The creation of shapes through the constant interaction and transformation of constituent parts can also be seen in the Game of Life mathematical simulation, created by the British mathematician John Horton Conway. In it, simple rules are applied to black and white counters in a grid. Although these rules are simple, like the rules in Go, when the simulation is run, stable, moving patterns can appear that seem surprisingly lifelike, including the Gosper Glider Gun, shown below. These shapes are in dynamic equilibrium. In other words, they may appear unchanging but are actually formed from a continual underlying creation-and-destruction process. This is true of real biological systems, including ourselves. We seem to have a stable, unchanging body but in fact, almost everything in our body is continually being replaced and renewed.
Is our reality like a Game of Life, or a BZ reaction? To answer this, we can create a set of rules, use our existing knowledge of the ether, and see what comes out.
To start with, let’s assume that our universe does consist of an active, transmuting ether. We also know from Grusenick’s experiment that this ether, or at least elements of this ether, do flow along gravitational lines. Let’s call these ether particles Gs. We know that they are not detectable by our microscopes or related equipment and so we can assume that they are far smaller than atoms.
According to Grusenick’s results, these G ether-particles flow down a gravity well, towards the centre of mass; the centre of our planet. What happens to them when they get there? We can surmise that if our reality is created by an active, transmuting ether, then those Gs must turn into something. Let’s assume that that something is matter, or at least a fundamental ether-particle building-block of matter, which we can call X. In other words, the Gs flow towards concentrations of matter, Xs. When they get there, they change into Xs. We therefore have a positive-reinforcement cycle. The Gs are drawn to these matter-ether-particle Xs, turn into Xs, which then increases the amount of matter. This in turn attracts more Gs. So far, so good. We have a matter-and-gravity process which feeds on itself, it’ll keep running, but there’s a problem; it’s too simple. Eventually, all the Gs in our universe would turn into Xs and produce a very boring universe consisting of nothing but a vast expanse of Xs, which clearly doesn’t give us any complexity or dynamic stability.
To improve this world, we can add a third ether-particle, a sibling or opposer to the X matter ether-particle. Let’s call this matter ether-particle Y. We can assume that Y ether-particles are present everywhere, like the Gs. We also can assume that the Y ether-particle has a Yin-Yang relationship with the X ether-particle. When two Xs outnumber a Y, that Y is changed into an X but if there are too many Xs in one area, one of them spontaneously turns into a Y. This creates an endless oscillation between Xs and Ys, an endless dance between the dark and the light. This tension creates reality. If there were no Xs, the Ys would never produce any patterns. If there were no Ys, the Xs would dominate and take over everything and all shape would be lost.
We now have the ingredients for complexity to occur, just like in the Game of Life. To complete the setup, we need to add two more processes. Firstly, some Xs would need to die, to balance against their creation from Gs. Also, since Gs are turned into Xs, we would run out of Gs eventually. Gs therefore need to appear spontaneously in places where their concentrations fall too low. This makes our system open, in the sense that stuff appears from out of the scene and leave the scene. This is perfectly fine; as there is no innate reason to believe that our universe is closed. The following diagrams show the process in action:
It’s worth remembering that this ether-particle activity, as already mentioned, is occurring at a scale far below subatomic particles. If we were to watch this activity at the level of subatomic particles, then they’d no longer look like pieces on a Go board, or pixels in a Game of Life. Instead, we would see what is shown in figure 8. At this scale, the ether particles are effectively hidden from us because they are so small. We can only observe their collective behaviour. As a result, we would observe what looks to be a single, stable, point-like particle, in the centre of its own gravity well, emanating an energy wave. It would be understandable, if we concluded that it was a point-like particle, curving space-time and emitting/absorbing electromagnetic energy, if we didn’t know better.
Hopefully, this simple simulations shows how ether-physics processes can be simple, yet produce phenomena that could be mistaken for real-world subatomic activity. Dr Paul LaViolette has taken these kind of process rules, in particular the Brusselator autocatalytic reaction, extended it and developed a comprehensive ether-physics theory. He has described this theory in-depth in his book Sub-Quantum Kinetics. His theory produces a host of interesting results in the fields of quantum physics, astrophysics and cosmology.
A universe with an active ether
Here’s a list of consequences if our universe is made of an active ether that forms the physical world:
Light: As light travels through the ether, it slowly decays, as light itself is a wave, created from the ether medium. This light decay produces red shifts at interstellar distances. There is therefore no expansion of space and the “Big Bang” never happened. Instead, seeds of initial matter, created by a natural fluctuation in G concentrations, started our physical universe. There is no need for any Dark Energy to accelerate expansion. Gravity decays, due to it being caused by G ether-particles, and so there is no need for Dark Matter.
Electric fields: Electric fields can generate gravitational gradients by altering G ether-particle flow. This enables the creation of anti-gravity effects. This phenomenon was demonstrated experimentally by Thomas Townsend-Brown. Gravity waves can be produced by electrical discharges, a phenomena reported by Nikola Tesla. Scalar wave technology, allowing lossless transfer of energy over long distances, is also possible, which Tesla also developed. Tesla was convinced that an ether existed. In July 6, 1930, the New York Times wrote about Tesla:
“Long ago he recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, of a tenuity beyond conception and filling all space — the Akasa or luminiferous ether — which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena.The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls or prodigious velocity become gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.”
Particles at rest: An ether solution (not the one in a flask 😉 solves several problems in quantum physics. For example, Quantum physics cannot handle a particle at rest, because in the official theory, the wavelength goes to infinity and the particle vanishes. This does not happen in ether-physics. The problem of infinities in quantum physics equations also no longer occurs; they do not need to be removed through ‘normalisation’, a fudge used by quantum physicists to make the equations work.
Cold fusion: Cold fusion with catalysts is possible.
Anti-matter: Anti-matter is very rare in ether physics, which matches reality. Standard Physics predicts that anti-matter should be as plentiful as matter, which is clearly not the case.
Stars: Blue giant stars are not fast-burning young stars about to explode but are very old and growing stars. Brown dwarf stars are the youngest stars, created from gas-giants. All planets and stars have their own energy sources due to genic creation; this is the slow emergence of new matter at the centre of a gravity field, predicted in ether physics. The Sun’s energy generation is therefore only 90% thermonuclear.
The fate of the universe: Our universe is not heading towards a cold, heat-death scenario. Instead, it’s forever increasing its matter and energy, creating more suns, clusters and galaxies. This was also reported to be Tesla’s view. In July 11, 1934, p. 19, the New York Herald Tribune reported:
“Dr. Tesla disclosed that he has lately perfected instruments which flatly disprove the present theory of the high physicists that the Sun is destined to burn itself out until it is a cold cinder floating in space. Dr. Tesla stated that he is able to show that all the suns in the universe are constantly growing in mass and heat, so that the ultimate fate of each is explosion.”
Black holes: Our Milky Way’s heart does not contain black holes, which are impossible in ether-physics. Instead, enormous, condensed-matter stars exist. They regularly erupt due to the continue generation of new matter and energy in their centres. They are the source of gamma-ray bursts and other extreme emissions. Their periodic eruptions of matter and energy seed galaxies with new material but these events are also extremely disruptive, flooding solar-systems with interstellar dust, disturbed asteroids, X-rays and gravity waves. According to the research of Dr LaViolette, this occurs every 12,800 years, approximately.
Other dimensions: Our universe is an open system. Ether particles enter it and decay particles leave it. This solves one inherent problem in the Big Bang; where did all the matter come from? In the Big Bang Theory, all the matter simply appeared, at once, out of nothing, even though our universe is supposed to be closed and energy/matter is always conserved; a blatant paradox. In ether physics, it is continually entering our universe, in places with high matter-density, such as the centres of stars.
It’s a long and impressively comprehensive list. It seems almost too good to be true but then again, a correct description of reality should be that good. A correct description of reality should cause physicists to leap forward in their work with heady delight. Engineers would use the scientists’ new models to develop amazing devices. This hasn’t happened in a century, at least in the civilian world; it’s a big clue that we’re on the wrong path.
It would be great if our physicists looked at the Michelson-Morley experiment again, especially in the vertical direction. Perhaps they would if there was a big, blatant example that Standard Physics is wrong, and that an ether-physics approach to understanding reality is needed. Fortunately, there is a candidate for this role; it sits 355 light-years away, in the southern constellation of Centaurus and it is officially, according to standard physics, impossible.
A mad sun
Few people know about Przybylski’s Star, or HD 101065, which is a shame because it’s utterly bizarre. To quote from the Wikipedia page:
In 1961, the Polish-Australian astronomer Antoni Przybylski discovered that this star had a peculiar spectrum that would not fit into the standard framework for stellar classification. Przybylski’s observations indicated unusually low amounts of iron and nickel in the star’s spectrum, but higher amounts of unusual elements like strontium, holmium, niobium, scandium, yttrium, caesium, neodymium, praseodymium, thorium, ytterbium, and uranium. In fact, at first Przybylski doubted that iron was present in the spectrum at all. Modern work shows that the iron-group elements are somewhat below normal in abundance, but it is clear that the lanthanides and other exotic elements are highly overabundant. Przybylski’s Star also contains many different short-lived actinide elements with actinium, protactinium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, and einsteinium being detected. The longest-lived isotope of einsteinium has a half-life of only 472 days. Other radioactive elements discovered in this star include technetium and promethium.
This dry description of the star doesn’t do the star justice. We are told in our text books that a star creates its energy through the fusion of elements within it. The star can do this because of the intense pressure and heat at its heart. It starts its life with a basic store of hydrogen. This hydrogen is then fused, inside the star’s core, into a larger element, helium. This transmutation releases energy in the process. Helium is then fused, in turn, into a larger element, releasing more energy. This process continues, steadily climbing the periodic table, releasing energy all the time, until iron is formed. This is where the energy-releasing fusion process grinds to a halt. Iron is very stable, quantum-wise. Any attempt to fuse it into something larger actually results in a net loss of energy. As a result, iron can’t be transmuted with putting in energy. Because of this, iron ends up sitting in the core of the star, not doing anything.
As a star ages, its inert iron core becomes larger and larger. Eventually the star runs out of fuel. If it is large enough, its huge gravity causes it to collapse in on itself. This crushes its iron core, and the whole caboodle explodes outwards in a supernova. The unbelievable temperatures and pressures created in this event transmute the iron core into larger elements. These are then flung out across the galaxy. This, according to standard physics, is the way we get elements larger than iron in our universe, through supernovae.
The standard theory of stellar burning sounds convincing. It has been officially accepted for generations as the way stars burn fuel and change, during their lives. The only problem is, if it was true, then Przybylski’s Star shouldn’t exist. Przybylski’s Star clearly contains lots of very large elements, elements as large as einsteinium, a transuranic element that is so huge and exotic, it was only discovered because it was found in the debris from the first hydrogen bomb explosion. These elements should not exist in the star. They should only exist, according to Standard Physics, after the star became enormous and exploded.
Ether-physics, by comparison, does predict the existence of stars containing large elements, such as Przybylski’s Star. According to ether-physics, new matter forms continually inside of stars. Since this new matter is appearing within the nuclei of these atoms, there is no need for the atoms to be squashed together, in order to get bigger, which is how thermonuclear fusion works. To be more technical, there is no need for the proton-proton repulsion or the Coulomb Force to be overcome. The new matter, manifesting as sub-quantum particles which form into protons and neutrons, appears amongst the existing nuclei. As a result, the elements in the centre of these stars are free to become as large as they like, or at least until they get so large that they become radioactively unstable, which is exactly what we see in Przybylski’s Star. Przybylski’s Star is therefore ether-physics’ smoking gun.
It’s understandable that most people, particularly those with scientific training, would reject the idea that Michelson and Morley made a key mistake, and that physics had headed off down a wrong path since then. Surely if it was true, scientists would have realised their mistake and corrected it?
There are two valid reasons why no such correction has occurred. Firstly, once a theory becomes established, and a generation of physicists have gained senior positions by supporting that theory, it is very much in their interests to maintain that theory. If they were to accept that it was wrong, then they would look stupid and, more importantly, the very reason for them being in their senior position would be null and void. As a result, many of them would fight tooth-and-nail to quash anything that jeopardised their view on reality. This is why Max Planck, one of the most famous physicists of all time, said:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
The second plausible reason why there has been no correction is more clandestine. There is evidence that classified military physics have gone down a different path, and adopted a different set of theories about the universe. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it is in their interests not to tell the general public, as their theories are classified and silence maintains their technological advantage. To put it simply, civilian physicists refuse to look at new ideas and military physicists refuse to tell anyone about their new ideas.
When will we know the truth? I don’t know but I have the feeling when we do find out, our reaction will be, ‘how dumb were we?’ which pretty much is par for the course. 😉