A Dissident View of Relativity Theory
William H. Cantrell, Ph.D.
IE Editorial, Issue 59
Welcome dear colleagues to another special issue of
IE Magazine. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Albert
Einsteins famous paper1 on special relativity;
consequently, we dedicate this issue to an inspection of his work.
There is a cornucopia of written material celebrating Einsteins
genius, his achievements, his thoughts, and his politics. There
is also a wealth of controversial material to draw upon, so much
in fact that this is the third issue on this theme (after IE
#38 and 39). Although the majority of the literature makes the case
for Einsteins theory of relativity, youthe astute readerwill
soon discover that this is not one of them.
There is a considerable amount of folklore and confusion
concerning Einstein and the importance of his theory of relativity.
For example, when he wrote his famous paper in 1905, contrary to
popular belief, he was not attempting to address the 1887 Michelson-Morley
null-result. He claimed2 to be unaware of it at the time!
It is almost inconceivable that a young physicist in 1905 would
not know about the Michelson-Morley experimentthis would be
analogous to an electrician not knowing about Ohms Law.
No doubt the average citizen assumes that relativity
theory is vital to our modern society. In truth it has almost no
role to play, except in a few narrow branches of science. For example,
the Apollo program to land a man on the moon was a complete success
as a result of the physics of Sir Isaac Newtonrelativity theory
did not play a role. Einsteins work on Brownian motion and
the photoelectric effect was far more important than relativity.
This may come as a shock, but Einsteins theory
of relativity is not part of the design of nuclear weapons! As proof,
here is an excerpt from The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures
on How To Build an Atomic Bomb, "Section 2. Energy of Fission
Process," page 7:
Somehow the popular notion took hold long ago
that Einsteins theory of relativity, in particular his
famous equation E = mc2, plays some essential role
in the theory of fission. Albert Einstein had a part in alerting
the United States government to the possibility of building
an atomic bomb, but his theory of relativity is not required
in discussing fission. The theory of fission is what physicists
call a nonrelativistic theory, meaning that relativistic effects
are too small to affect the dynamics of the fission process
This primer3 is a collection of lecture
notes taught by Berkeley theoretician Dr. Robert Serber to the young
physicists arriving at Los Alamos beginning in 1943. The purpose
of Serbers lectures was to bring the new arrivals up to speed
quickly, so that the Manhattan Project could produce a "practical
military weapon" in the shortest possible time. It contains a considerable
amount of information on weapon design and the differential equations
to be solved to calculate neutron flux. Serber explains that the
energy released from the nucleus during fission is simply that of
electrostatic repulsion between protons. A considerable amount of
potential energy is stored by cramming the positively charged protons
together in a nucleus and this is what gets released when it splits.
Einsteins famous equation is not involved.
By the time the Manhattan Project started, Einstein
was in his sixties. His contribution consisted of signing a letter
composed by physicist Leo Szilard and addressed to FDR. His role
as scientific icon was needed to ensure that the scientists could
capture the attention of the President and the War Department. Needless
to say, it worked.
Einsteins role as scientific icon was also called
upon to spur the U.S. Navy into action. The Naval Ordinance Department
had designed a faulty torpedo contact detonator, and then failed
to test it adequately. In utter exasperation over the Ordinance
Departments refusal to take corrective action, the submariners
sought out Einstein to decree the detonator mechanism faultysomething
that any bicycle mechanic could have seen first hand. But it took
Einsteins clout to finally shake the bureaucracy into action.
On the magazine cover we see Einstein enjoying one
of his hobbies, something that biographer Albrecht Fölsing
noted rather dryly in 1993:
Even devoted admirers of Einstein would not dispute
that the progress of physics would not have suffered if the indisputably
greatest scientist among them had spent the final three decades
of his liferoughly from 1926 onsailing.
Ironically, after causing a revolution in physics,
Einstein rejected the next revolution that was quantum physics.
This worked against him later in life, as all of his attempts failed
to discover a unified field theory, not that anyone else has had
any success either!
In this issue we highlight some
of the experimental facts that do not fit with relativity theory.
We discuss some of its logical inconsistencies and offer alternatives
for your consideration. We also look at the controversies associated
with some of Einsteins ideas and how they first originated.
As always, our goal is to bring you viable, plausible alternatives
to the cherished and protected dogma of mainstream physicsareas
where theory does not agree with experimental facts.
It is undoubtedly a fact that relativity theory had
a profound impact on physics during the twentieth century. Einsteins
theory is celebrated the world over for having produced a series
of brilliant successes. Nevertheless, there is a sizeable community
of dissident scientists who reject it outright, and a far larger
group, unaware of an alternative, who harbor a pronounced distaste
for it. This dislike stems from the fact that Einstein borrows from
the mathematics of Lorentz and Poincaré, and this allows
him to modify length and time measurement to force the speed
of light to be constant for all observers. Given a clear alternative
to tampering with the fundamentals, most rational thinkers would
jump at the chance for a substitute. But why challenge such a supposedly
successful theory? Well, for two very good reasonsfirst, to
truly understand and describe how nature works, and second, to achieve
new breakthroughs, once an unintentional roadblock to progress has
As an undergraduate student nearly 30 years ago, I
recall vividly the day we got to the subject of relativity theory.
A stranger casually strolled into class during the middle of the
lecture and took a seat in the back. I guessed that he might be
a graduate student, but he looked like he was right out of the Sixties,
complete with sandals, beads, and wild frizzy hair. As the professor
continued with his lecture, the hippie decided to protest by eating
from a brown paper bag. I recall the sounds of the bag being opened,
a sandwich being unwrapped, and the hippie munching away. All the
while, he peered at the professor scribbling on the chalk board,
as if at a drive-in. Toward the end of class, Mr. Hippie stood up
and began to pepper Dr. Establishment with several questions and
challenges, all in rapid-fire succession. A heated technical discussion
ensued concerning topics such as Lorentz "Boosts," violations of
Newtons Third Law, and refusals to teach alternative theories.
As I sat there in stunned silence, it seemed as if Mr. Hippie got
the upper hand before storming out. After reading this issue, I
think you might agree with his sentiments.
A Properly Defined
Before we explore alternatives
to relativity theory, lets agree on exactly what is a proper
scientific theory. Surprisingly, the answer to this question is
not as settled as it once was. We believe that a theory should describe
nature as it really works. It should be testable and make accurate
predictions of experimental outcomes not yet put to the test. A
proper theory must not be continually patched and modified with
ad hoc "band aids" to explain new observations. It must be
refutable, that is, it must not be protected from refutation
by way of its own construction.
This is by no means a universally held view. Caltech
Professor David L. Goodstein makes a jaw-dropping statement4 in
his otherwise magnificent video lecture series:
. . .As a matter of fact theres a point of
view that says, that the only way that science can make progress
is by showing that theories are wrong. The argument goes like
this: Its impossible to prove that a theory is right, no
matter how many experiments agree with it. But if one single experiment
disagrees with it, then the theory must be wrong.
Correct. So far so good, but then he goes on to say:
Well, that itself is a theory of knowledge, which
is wrong, because there are theories in science, which are
so well verified by experience that they become promoted to the
status of fact. One example is the Special Theory of Relativity.
Its still called a theory for historical reasons, but it
is in reality a simple, engineering fact, routinely used
in the design of giant machines like nuclear particle accelerators,
which always work perfectly. . .
So here we have a fundamental metaphysical disagreement
concerning the rules of the gamean enormous philosophical
disconnect. The mainstream elevates some theories to a higher plane,
to the status of unquestionable religion.
To illustrate the importance of being able to refute
a theory, consider the following hypothetical: The Earth has a twin
moon made of a special green cheese that is perfectly transparent
to illumination. Obviously this is nonsense, but by its own design,
the statement cannot be refuted by experiment. We find ourselves
in a similar predicament when it comes to Einsteins relativity.
Numerous dissidents have made the argument that the theory is logically
inconsistent because it assumes a constant speed of light, and then
sets out to prove what it assumes. Relativity theory cannot be proven
false on strictly theoretical grounds because it is inadvertently
protected from refutation by its own circular logic.
Special relativity theory (SRT)
contains two postulates. The first postulate is a restatement of
Galileos relativity principle which says that the laws of
physics apply equally well for all inertial frames, whether at rest
or in uniform rectilinear motion (no acceleration). The second postulate
says that the velocity of light is independent of the speed of its
source. This postulate by itself is not strange or unexpected. When
a train whistle blows, the speed of sound is independent of the
speed of the train, but not of the velocity of the wind carrying
the sound to the observer. Here, the air molecules are the medium
and they play the equivalent role of an aether-wind for electromagnetism.
But with relativity theory, we have no aether.
Over time the second postulate has been reinterpreted
to mean that all observers, regardless of their own velocity, see
light propagating always at the same speed (in vacuum). Lengths
shorten and time slows so that the computed velocity (i.e.,
length divided by time) is always constant. The paradoxes and problems
created by this clever little trick are endless. Take the case of
relativistic interstellar travel. If lengths really contract as
viewed by the observer, then when you blast off from Earth, the
closer you approach the speed of light, the closer the receding
Earth gets to you.
The origins of length contraction started with G.F.
FitzGerald. He was the first to suggest that Lorentzs deformation
model5 for a moving electron also applied to the "macro-world" in
order to explain the Michelson-Morley null-result. It was this purely
ad hoc idea that started the whole problem. During the first
half of the twentieth century, physicists were eager to put length
contraction to the test and see if the phenomenon really existed.
Several experiments were performed,6-8 but no variation
in length was observed. A modern space-based test has been proposed
by Renshaw,9 but to date, no direct experimental
verification of relativistic length contraction has ever been measured.
There is absolutely no argument that time-keeping
mechanisms do slow down when moving at high speed, and that
in most instances, they obey the time dilation formula of Lorentz
and Poincaré. (There are violations, as Jefimenko10
has pointed out.) The dissident argument here is really more of
a metaphysical one. A distinction should be made between Universal
absolute invariant time and gravitational effects acting on time-keeping
mechanisms such as water clocks, grandfather clocks, digital watches,
radioactive decay rates, and cesium clocks (cesium atoms), to name
just a few.
All sources of oscillation in nature are influenced
by a change in gravitational potential. To build a clock, we have
no choice but to exploit oscillator sources. Unfortunately we cannot
construct an ideal clock even if we use cesium atoms by definition.
This was aptly demonstrated by the famous Häfele-Keating experiment11,12
in which cesium clocks were flown around the world. The atomic clock
transported eastward lost 59 ns, while the atomic clock transported
westward gained 273 ns, compared to the stationary laboratory standard.
All physical devices used for
time keeping are subject to error when accelerated, decelerated,
or constrained to move linearly through a variation in gravitational
potential. The Häfele-Keating experiment is not a failure for
relativity theory, but the question should be asked: Is time
itself dilated, or are internal processes merely altered by
moving through a gravitational field? Metaphysically speaking, we
do not consider this to be a distinction without a difference.
Another problem with relativity theory concerns the
timeline of events and simultaneity. Given two equidistant lightning
flashes A and B as viewed by a stationary observer, an unintended
consequence of Einsteins theory demands that flash A must
occur before flash B for some moving observers and flash B prior
to flash A for other moving observers. But both scenarios
simply can not be true. This is not just a visual perception issue
because time itself is alleged to change differently for different
observers. According to a Minkowski diagram, this is a true timeline
of events! This is a logical inconsistency.
There are other unintended consequences lurking inside
Einsteins theory. It is accepted that Newtons Third
Law is violated, although this has never been proven in the laboratory.
According to modern physics, for every action, there is no longer
an equal and opposite reaction! This has the somewhat embarrassing
consequence that, under certain situations, normally aligned forces
that are equal and opposite become offset slightly from one another.
When the forces are no longer joined along a common line of action,
a torque is created. In relativity theory inertial frames can mysteriously
begin to rotate. This effect has been given a name, Thomas Rotation,
to impart a degree of respectability. Staunch relativists take note:
An experiment was performed to determine whether Thomas Rotation
really exists on macro-sized objects. It produced a null result.13,14
There is also a theoretical basis for refutation of Thomas Rotation.15
(The question of Newtons Third Law is vital to the realm of
electrodynamics, so much so that we are dedicating a future issue
of IE to longitudinal Ampère forces and Webers
electrodynamics.) The mainstream is quick to say that "Newtons
Third Law does not extend into the relativistic regime. So what
if relativity theory is messy? The truth behind Nature may not be
pretty. It may not even be comprehensible." Possibly. . .
But what about alternative theories? Are they better?
And what of aether-based theories? High school science students
are conditioned to ridicule the concept of a nineteenth-century
luminiferous aether with eye-rolling and giggling. But is this really
a contemptible idea when compared with the "new and improved" terminology
of gravitational masses "warping" the fabric of "space-time"? Sounds
a little like an über-aether in another guise. Given
that the nothingness of a perfect absolute vacuum is bestowed with
the physical properties of a permittivity, eo8.854
pF/m, a permeability, mo4p
x 10-7 H/m, and a characteristic impedance of 377 ohms,
is the concept of an aether really that outlandish?
We will banish the term "aether" in due course, but
lets take a closer look at this much maligned substance, given
its historical importance to the whole question of the speed of
light. To be certain, the 1887 Michelson-Morley (M-M) null-result
disproved the concept of an unentrained aether. An unentrained
aether would be totally unaffected by a gravitational field. The
Earth would glide effortlessly through it without dragging any of
it along, by virtue of the Earths gravitational pull. From
a scientists perspective, an unentrained aether would come
blowing through the laboratory like a hurricane with a velocity
of the Earths speed of revolution around the Sun (30 km/sec).
And like the passing eye of a hurricane, the aether-wind would reverse
direction twice each day as the Earth rotated on its axis. At 0.01%
of c the M-M experiment was certainly sensitive enough to detect
such an aether-wind, and a small non-null result was found,
but not to the level expected for an unentrained aether.
You wont find them mentioned in a mainstream
physics text, but there are aether theories that are perfectly
compatible with the M-M (almost) null-result. Suppose for a moment
that the aether is partially entrained. Such a substance
would be attracted by the Earths gravitational pull, and therefore
would be denser at the Earths surface than at higher altitudes.
This aether would have a density distribution with altitude that
is not unlike that of the Earths atmospheric density. Under
these circumstances, the partially entrained aether would be traveling
almost as fast, almost keeping pace with the Earths tangential
speed of revolution around the Sun. So from the perspective of the
Earth-bound laboratory, the relative velocity between the
Earth and the aether would be arbitrarily small, certainly well
below 30 km/sec. And if the speed of light is constant with respect
to a medium such as the aether, then in this instance a null-result
would be expected, given the limited sensitivity of the M-M experiment.
This partially entrained aether would be dragged along
with the Earth like an invisible atmospheric coating, but it would
not rotate along with the Earth about its axis (the Earths
rotational velocity being ~0.35 km/sec at mid-latitudes). Put another
way, the Earth would revolve within this aether shell. But why would
there be no rotation of the aether along with the Earth? It is true
that the Earth revolves within its own gravitational and magnetic
fields, but these fields do not rotate with the Earth. They are
generated and released to propagate outward as a symmetrical Earth
rotates away from underneath. If the fields did rotate, imagine
the spiraling entanglement that would be encountered at some distance
out. (Likewise, the magnetic field of a cylindrical bar magnet does
not rotate when the bar magnet is rotated about its (long) z-axis.
This is the source of much consternation and amusement to students
when demonstrating a Faraday unipolar generator.) The M-M experiment
was not sensitive enough to prove or disprove the concept of a partially
entrained aether, although it did detect a small fraction of a fringe
shift contrary to the history books.
To reveal the Earths rotation at work, a more
sensitive version of the experiment was needed. This quest resulted
in the Michelson-Gale (and Pearson) experiment of 1925, a massive
interferometer experiment spread over fifty acres outside of Chicago.16
The experiment detected a fringe shift of 0.236 of one fringe due
to the Earths rotation, in agreement with aether theory and
within the limits of observational error. This was a successful
outcome for an aether-based theory, but it was not considered a
failure of Einsteins relativity, because the rotating Earth
is not considered to be an inertial frame of reference. Special
relativity doesnt apply here. General relativity must come
to the rescue, and the analysis is not without controversy. Relativists
consider this a Sagnac-type of experiment17 in a rotating (non-inertial)
frame of reference. (Also see IE #39, p. 24.)
So far, we have at least two competing theories: a
partially entrained aether and Einsteins relativity. Both
can explain the results of the Michelson-Morley and Michelson-Gale
experiments, the Sagnac effect, (and the Häfele-Keating experiment).
But we need a tie-breaking experiment for it is not good enough
to merely come up with an alternative theory. We need a decisive
In addition to the Earths revolution about the
Sun, our entire solar system has a galactic velocity component.
A very sensitive and precise aether drift experiment might be able
to detect this component if conducted at higher altitudes to lessen
the slowing effects to a partially entrained aether. Although it
is not reported in the textbooks, such an experiment was performed
by Dayton Miller18 during the mid-1920s on a mountain top near the
Mt. Wilson observatory. The experiment was an utter marvel of science,
performed with exquisite care and precision over a period of several
years. (See the excellent article by James DeMeo in IE #38
describing the Miller interferometry experiment.)
Miller concluded that the Earth was drifting towards
an apex in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere, towards Dorado, the
swordfish, right ascension 4 hrs. 54 min., declination of 70°
33, in the middle of the Great Magellanic Cloud and 7°
from the southern pole of the ecliptic. He measured an aether-drift
of about 10 km/sec at the location of his interferometer. From this
he assumed the Earth was moving through a partially entrained aether
which reduced its velocity from 200 km/sec in space, to about 10
km/sec nearer to the surface. This experimental result agrees with
the concept of a partially entrained aether. More importantly, this
is the tie-breaking experiment that relativity theory cannot explain.
It is believed that Millers careful work over
a period of some twenty years cast a shadow of doubt over Einsteins
relativity theory and prevented Einstein from receiving a Nobel
Prize for his work on relativity. (Einstein did receive a Nobel
Prize, but it was for his work on the photoelectric effect.)
But is the Miller experiment correct? Have his results
been duplicated in recent times? The answer is both yes and no.
Experiments were performed by Silvertooth19-21 starting
in 1985. He pointed out that interferometer experiments average
the round-trip speed of lightthey do not measure the one-way
speed of light. If there is a change in the forward and backward
velocities of light such that it is exactly (c + v) in one
direction and (c v) in the other, then the values
will simply average out to c. This will occur regardless
of interferometer orientation, and after all, it is the one-way
speed of light that we really want to know. (Also see IE
#40, p. 64.)
Silvertooth measured the standing waves formed by
light beamed in opposite directions using two lasers. One of the
lasers was phase modulated with respect to the other, creating certain
phase effects that could be measured with a special photomultiplier
tube. Silvertooth found a consistently privileged direction pointing
to the constellation Leo, traveling at a velocity of 378 km/sec
regardless of the time of day or year. Manning22 independently
analyzed Silvertooths approach and pronounced it sound, though
not without possible minor flaws. Manning recommended accepting
"something that is very difficult to explain." Later, Silvertooth
and Whitney23 confirmed the results with another experiment
This is not a confirmation of the Miller experiment
because Silvertooths velocity vector points in a different
direction than did Millers. Silvertooth also calculated a
velocity of 378 km/sec, versus Millers estimate of 200 km/sec.
If there is an error hidden in Silvertooths work (or in Millers),
it would be very peculiar that he would always find his apparatus
divining the same direction in the sky, independent of the time
of day and season of the year. This is a remarkable and interesting
experiment, whatever the cause.
It should be noted that Silvertooth published his
results prior to the launch of NASAs COBE satellite, whose
purpose was to accurately measure the cosmic microwave background.
Due to the motion of our solar system, a Doppler shift was discovered
which imparts a slight anisotropy to the spectrum of the cosmic
microwave background. Precise measurement of this anisotropy indicates
that the heliocentric (Sun centered) frame moves toward the constellation
Leo with a velocity of 390 km/sec, in excellent agreement with Silvertooths
findings. (We hope to have a Silvertooth article in an upcoming
In 1991 another experiment appeared to confirm a galactic
velocity component of the aether. Roland DeWitte carried out an
experiment in Belgium involving two cesium clocks separated by 1.5
kilometers along a common meridian. A 5 MHz RF signal was generated
from each cesium time-base. This produced two independent, but identical
signals to within the limits of cesium clock drift. A long length
of buried coaxial cable was used to send one of the RF signals down
to the other end for comparison using a phase detector. DeWitte
ran the experiment over a considerable time span of 178 days.
The results indicated that an anomalous phase shift
was present in the data, correlated to sidereal, not civil,
time. With a period of 23 hours 56 minutes ± 25seconds (one sidereal
day), this proved that the effect responsible for the phase shift
was of galactic, not man-made, origin. It would be very interesting
to repeat this experiment and also include a round-trip measurement
to see if a null-result would be obtained due to round-trip averaging.
Less precise measurements were made using a 500 meter
cable and rubidium clocks by Torr and Kolen at NIST.24
They observed an unexplained one-way phase shift which disappeared
from the complete round-trip measurement. These one-way results
are not predicted by Einsteins theory, and it is hard to think
of another mechanism or artifact correlated to sidereal time that
would cause the results seen by DeWittecertainly not thermal
heating or human activity, which would be correlated to a mean solar
day (24 hours).
A Gravity-based Theory
Do the aether theories sound artificial and contrived?
Yes, as a matter of fact they do, almost as much as FitzGeralds
length contraction, which was incorporated directly into Einsteins
relativity. There is, however, another theory that does not rely
on the concept of an aether, but is very closely aligned with the
aether theories discussed thus far. The late Emeritus Professor
of Electrical Engineering Petr Beckmann proposed25 that
the outdated term "aether" could be replaced with the more modern
term "gravity." Clearly, a gravitational field would have
characteristics very similar to a partially entrained aether. Both
would cause the bending of light rays. Gravity would be strongest
near the surface of the planet where the partially entrained aether
was most dense. Light would still behave in the same manner, if
the speed of light is constant with respect to the source
of the dominant gravitational field. This would square with all
of the known experimental data because in nearly every case, the
observer has always been tied to the Earth-bound frame of referenceso
we substitute the word "gravity" for the word "aether." Obviously
gravity exists and we know that, although gravity is "emitted" by
the Earth, it does not rotate with it. So this is a very plausible
replacement for a partially entrained aether. It also stands to
reason if we speculate that light is actually a disturbance in the
To be fair, we must play devils advocate with
Beckmanns theory. The double-star evidence is often used to
discount alternative theories such as this one. Consider a binary
star system revolving around its common center of mass, located
a considerable distance from Earth. According to Beckmanns
theory, each star emits light at a velocity of c with respect
to the source of its own gravitational field. Given the proper orientation
in the ecliptic with respect to the center of mass, the velocity
of light initially emitted is c + v from one star and c
v from the other (assuming a tangential velocity of revolution,
v, for both stars). As each star revolves about the other,
their roles will reverse as will the sinusoidal ± v light
speed component from each. Although small at first, if any
difference in velocity were to remain in effect over the years or
centuries it would take for the two sources of starlight to reach
the Earth, the slower light from one star (at a given point in their
revolution) would never catch up with faster light from the other
star, even if given a slight head start due to fortuitous positioning.
This would cause peculiar visual effects on Earth that astronomers
simply do not observeunusual Doppler shifts and other anomalies.
But there is more to Beckmanns theory. The gravitational
fields of the two stars will, of course, merge into one combined
field at a suitable distance from their common center of mass, and
the light from the two stars will transition to a common value of
c. This, however, is not the end of the story. As the starlight
traverses the heavens, it will speed up and slow down so as to always
propagate at the speed of light with respect to whatever source
of gravitational field it encounters. Upon entering our solar system,
the starlight will transition to a heliocentric frame of reference,
and upon encountering the Earths gravitational field, it will
adjust once again to speed c with respect to our own reference
frame. This is definitely heresythe two sources of starlight
will indeed travel with two different speeds initially, before stabilizing
at a common velocity. And this velocity will change as the starlight
enters our own solar system, and change yet again as it enters the
gravitational pull of the Earth. The speed of transition will, of
course, be gradual as one gravitational field yields to another
more dominant field in its local neighborhood. This is an intriguing
"make-sense" theory, not only because it replaces the partially
entrained aether theory described earlier, but because it also squares
with the Pioneer 10 and 11 deep-space radio data (and probably with
the Venus radar data from the 1960s). (Also see IE #52, pp.
Speed of Light in Deep
Evidence has surfaced that the speed of light is not
c in deep space, based on satellite data from Pioneer 10 and 11.
Launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively, radio signals received from
these satellites contain an "anomalous" Doppler shift. Renshaw26
showed that this can be explained by assuming classical Newtonian
mechanics for the Doppler-shifted radio signal in a heliocentric
frame of reference. Staunch relativists take note: Here is a clear
case, for both satellites, where classical theory gives the
correct answer, but relativistic corrections lead to the wrong results.
Einsteins relativity cannot explain this result, and indeed,
it is the cause of the problem in the first place! After some
head-scratching by mainstream scientists, the mystery was attributed
to a possible "anomalous" acceleration (new physics!) of 8.0 x 10-8
cm/sec2, directed toward the Sunfor both spacecraft.
That the speed of light is not constant in interplanetary
space was first suspected by the late Bryan G. Wallace. Throughout
the 1960s and into the 1970s, MIT Lincoln Laboratory operated a
series of high-power radio transmitters spread across the United
States. Technically, these sites held a SECRET classification during
the height of the Cold War and the Space-Race, even though the researchers
were doing pure science. (Perhaps they also played a role in the
study of ionospheric disruption effects caused by thermonuclear
test shots in the Pacific, and the magnetic-conjugate excitation
studies using high-altitude nuclear detonations in the Southern
Atlantic.) At one site near El Campo, Texas, the transmitter was
extremely high power, 500 kilowatts, operating in the low VHF range
(38.25 MHz). Enormous water-cooled vacuum tubes were used to generate
the RF energy. An 8 by 128 array of 1,024 dipole antennas boosted
the gain so that the effective radiated power, focused into the
main lobe, was in excess of 1,300 megawatts (yes, 1.3 gigawatts).
Personnel at the site activated warning sirens and
red flashing lights prior to "keying" the transmitter. This was
done to make certain that no one was caught by surprise out in the
antenna array, which covered over nine acres. Sometimes the "cooked"
remains of rabbits and possums were found by maintenance personnel
after a data gathering session, and this served as a somber demonstration
of what could happen. It was possible to place a fluorescent bulb
anywhere in the transmitter building where illumination was neededit
would glow by itself while the transmitter was "on." Site personnel
quickly learned not to prop their feet up on the control console,
as this would cause their shoes to heat-up. These powerful beacons
made it possible to conduct radar studies of Venus, Mars, and also
the Suns corona.
During this time Wallace discovered that radar data
for the planet Venus did not confirm the constancy of the speed
of light. Alarmed and intrigued by these results, he noticed systematic
variations in the data with diurnal and lunar-synodic components.
He attempted to publish the results in Physical Review Letters,
but he encountered considerable resistance. His analysis indicated
a heretical "c + v" Galilean fit to the data, so as a result,
he had no alternative but to publish elsewhere.27
To say that Wallace was less than tactful would be
something of an understatement. He made heated claims28
that NASA had noticed the very same results and was using non-relativistic
correction factors to calculate signal transit times. He also claimed
that, despite his repeated requests, MIT Lincoln Lab refused to
share the raw data from the Venus radar studies with himthat
they were part of a government conspiracy to keep the Soviets in
the dark about the true nature of the speed of light! He said that,
what little data he did get, had been deliberately chosen
to make it impossible for him to do the necessary computations.
He also published a book describing his experiences, available on
the web29 at no charge. Wallace was a colorful figure
and a champion of a noble cause. It is well worth the time invested
to read about his incredible story.
Acausal Absorber Theory
As a young physicist, Dr. Tom Phipps exchanged correspondence
with Albert Einstein related to ways of improving quantum mechanics.
In his article for this issue (p. 14, IE #59), he describes
a hypothetical conversation between a critic of Relativity theory
and Einstein himself, looking back on his legacy.
Phipps acausal absorber theory holds promise
for bridging the gap between the quantum world and light speed behavior.
In his theory, the speed of light is constant with respect to the
absorber (the detector). In his outstanding text30 Phipps
starts with some of the original ideas of Heinrich Hertz and proposes
a modification to Maxwells Equations to make them invariant
to the Galilean transformation. Starting with Maxwells Equations
in free-space (and MKSA units) we have:
A simple modification is made involving a straightforward
change from partial derivatives, ,
to total-time derivatives, d/dt, to account for a moving
frame of reference. This is then expanded using the chain-rule in
Faradays and Ampères Laws, and also for the charge
conservation equation. This has the excellent effect of adding a
velocity parameter, v, into the equations for use with moving
Phipps has also proposed a tie-breaking experiment
which can decide between SRT and his theory. This sheds some light
on why experiment has not yet determined a winner among the various
theories mentioned. Using the more traditional technologies, experiments
at first-order are often difficult to do, and experiments at second-order
are impossible. However, recent advances in interferometry, specifically
Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), permit angular resolutions
of better than 10-9 radian. This could make it possible
to either verify or refute Einsteins prediction of
a second-order departure from the classical Bradley aberration of
starlight. Unfortunately, astronomers seem unaware of this possibility
and physicists take the result for granted. Phipps theory
predicts only a third-order (as yet unobservable) departure from
Bradley aberration, and therefore allows for the possibility of
refutation by a tie-breaking experiment.
Modified Lorentz Ether
The mainstream authorities are fond of saying that
GPS would not work if it werent for Einsteins relativity.
Clifford Will of Washington University has been quoted31
SR has been confirmed by experiment so many times
that it borders on crackpot to say there is something wrong with
it. Experiments have been done to test SR explicitly. The worlds
particle accelerators would not work if SR wasnt in effect.
The global positioning system would not work if special relativity
didnt work the way we thought it did.
Oh really? What does one of the worlds
foremost experts on GPS have to say about relativity theory and
the Global Positioning System? Ronald R. Hatch is the Director of
Navigation Systems at NavCom Technology and a former president of
the Institute of Navigation. As he describes in his article for
this issue (p. 25, IE #59), GPS simply contradicts Einsteins
theory of relativity. His Modified Lorentz Ether Gauge Theory (MLET)
has been proposed32 as an alternative to Einsteins
relativity. It agrees at first order with relativity but corrects
for certain astronomical anomalies not explained by relativity theory.
(Also see IE #39, p. 14.)
No Relativity Principle?
Although Newton was not comfortable
with the term "absolute space," his First Law (inertial reaction)
is relative to absolute space or another reference frame moving
at a constant velocity with respect to absolute space. Ernst Mach
proposed that absolute space was in reality the "distant fixed-stars."
In a similar vein to some of the ideas proposed by Mach, Lévy
postulates33 that the relativity principle is
wrongthat there may be some ultimate preferred frame of reference
in the Universe for which the speed of light is constant. If true,
then all inertial frames are not created equal. Lévy
proposes the idea of a preferred universal inertial frame of reference
in which the aether is truly at rest. This is, in effect, the antithesis
of Einsteins first postulate. Lévys textbook
is reviewed on p. 42 in this issue.
For good reason, no mention has been made of the ballistic
theory by Walter Ritz, in which the speed of light is constant with
respect to the speed of the emitting source, as in (vs
+ c). In a poll, this would most likely be the theory of choice
by the "man in the street," where the speed of light is expected
to behave like a baseball hit off a swinging bat or projectiles
fired from a moving tank. It is also the antithesis of Einsteins
Although the ballistic theory is compatible with the
M-M null result and the double-star evidence, it was disproved
by additional experimentation, e.g., References 34 and 35.
These carefully planned experiments were performed in vacuum with
surface reflecting mirrors only, and no lenses of any sort. This
was done to prevent photon absorption and regeneration from "resetting"
any additional imparted speed to that of the last mediums
A few overzealous proponents of Einsteins theory
have gone so far as to suggest the possibility of time-travel by
exceeding the speed of light. If only this were true. . .
Id go back in time and pin a medal on Mr. Hippies
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