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Commentary on Ritz's Electrodynamics

Robert S. Fritzius
Year: 1998
Keywords: Electrodynamics, Ritz

In 1908 Walter Ritz identified seven areas of difficulty with regard to the Maxwell-Lorentz electromagnetic field equations, which are based on the concept of a solid deformable ether.

  1. Electric and magnetic forces really express relations about space and time and should be replaced with non-instantaneous elementary actions (his emission theory).
  2. Advanced potentials don't exist (and their erroneous use led to the Rayleigh-Jeans ultraviolet catastrophe).
  3. Localization of energy in the ether is vague.
  4. It is impossible to reduce gravity to the same notions.
  5. The unacceptable inequality of action and reaction is brought about by the concept of absolute motion with respect to the ether.
  6. Apparent relativistic mass increase is amenable to a different interpretation.
  7. The use of absolute coordinates, independent of all motions of matter, requires throwing away the time honored use of Galilean relativity and our notions of rigid ponderable bodies.