The Michelson-Morley experiment is often sited as PROOF that the Æther doesn’t exist. Whenever I have a conversation with someone (anyone) about “the Æther”, the first thing they say is: “Don’t you know that the MM-Experiment disproved the Æther?” I have had this conversation MANY times. It always goes that way. That question, of course, is a rhetorical question because science is apparently “settled” on this matter. The MM-Experiment got a NULL result, therefore, the Æther does not exist.
I once tried to have a conversation about my Æther theory to a couple of physicists that I work with. They are both medical physicists, but one is actually an astrophysicist, so I thought this might be an interesting conversation to start over Friday pizza lunch. But as soon as I said the word “Æther”, I was interrupted. “Don’t you know that the MM-Experiment disproved the Æther?”. I was expecting that of course, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a prepared come back at the time. What I should have said was:
FW: No, the MM-Experiment did not disprove the Æther. Just because you DON’T PROVE something, doesn’t mean you DISPROVE it. In the case of the MM-Experiment, there may be another explanation for the NULL result. Maybe, Michelson, Morley et al, got their Æther model wrong. Maybe they were looking for the WRONG Æther?
But I didn’t say that. I did talk about the medium for the propagation of light and how it could be a ponderable “substance” not unlike all other media that are able to propagate waves. “Ridiculous” one of them said. “Where would all the energy come from?” I assume they meant, where did the energy come from to create this medium? What I should have said was:
FW: Where did all the energy come from for the Big Bang?
Unfortunately, I didn’t think of that until after the conversation was over. Truthfully, the big bang sounds kind of ridiculous to me. Where DID all that energy come from? Maybe I could borrow some of that and apply it to my Æther model?
I often say, “The problem isn’t with the physics. The problem is with the language”. In the debate about the existence of the Æther, the problem appears to be with the QUESTION. Maybe we are asking the wrong question. Historically, the question was: “Is there or is there not an Æther?”. This is a binary question. Does the Æther exist, yes or no? The problem with a question like this is that is it does not account for the possibility that the assumed MODEL of the Æther was wrong in the first place. As I said earlier, it is my opinion that the MM-Experiment as looking for the wrong Æther. They were looking for a static Æther that we are moving through. The Æther model that I am proposing is a dynamic Æther that we are moving “with”.
Here is a real life analogy. (I love analogies.)
Let’s say we have a pool full of water and a stick. If you dip the stick into the water, you feel no forces. But if you wave the stick through the water, you feel forces. Now, let’s imagine that we are on a raft floating down a river. When you dip the stick into the water, you are going to feel little or no forces. Why, because the raft and the stick are at rest with respect to the water. In a similar manner, I argue that the Earth and the MM-Experiment are at rest with respect to the Æther and this is why they got a NULL result. In the above analogy, the Æther is the flowing river, the raft is the Earth and the stick is the MM-Experiment.
Long story short, I argue that the STATIC Æther model of that MM-Experiment was looking for…does not exist. The NULL result of the MM-Experiment disproved their static Æther MODEL, not the Æther itself. They just had the wrong model. The Æther model that I am proposing actually PREDICTS a null result in the MM-Experiment. The NULL result of the MM-Experiment merely ruled out a STATIC Æther model but it does not rule out a DYNAMIC Æther model, where the Earth and the MM-Experiment are at rest with respect to the Æther.
We may never be able to prove or disprove the Æther with any certainty whatsoever. Because of this, I think a better question to ask is: “Can there be an Æther?”. Does there exist an Æther MODEL that predicts a NULL result in the MM-Experiment? Does there exist an Æther MODEL that makes a correct prediction for the speed of light? Does there exist an Æther MODEL that explains gravity, charge and magnetism in terms that are easily to understand? If an Æther model exists that can explain all things AND, if this model greatly simplifies the understanding of the universe AND if this Æther model is able to unify all forces and phenomenon in a coherent and logical manner, then the answer to the question “Can there be an Æther?” is…YES.
This, of course, this is the question I am trying to answer.