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'Light' is the Subject, not the Object!

Cynthia Kolb Whitney
Year: 1997
Keywords: Light
Is propagating light an infinitely extending wave? Or a collection of compact particles? The conventional twentieth-century answer has been "both": a wave -expanding spherical, plane, or converging spherical, as needed -or a photon bullet, as needed. We know that light emission and absorption apparently come in quanta. This behavior seems inconsistent with a continuous oscillating wave, and that is why we have imagined the photon bullets. But we know also that interference effects occur, and they seem inconsistent with independent photon bullets -which is why we still use the wave model.

But the truth about light may really be "neither". This paper explores an obvious variation on the existing models: light not as a "thing" (e.g. amplitude, phase, energy), but rather as a "process? (i.e. the propagation process).

Imagine two steps: a period of expansion/extension, followed by a period of contraction/collapse. Such a model turns out to be extraordinarily rich with implications. All of the familiar features of special relativity theory follow without mystery: apparent clock slowing, length contraction, velocity limitation, etc. In addition, important features of general relativity theory also follow: apparent gravitational effects on clocks, gravitational red shifts, light bending, etc.