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The New Electrodynamics and its Bearing on Relativity

Parry H. Moon
Domina Eberle Spencer
Year: 1958
Keywords: Electrodynamics, Relativity

Maxwell?s theory was based on the idea of a stationary aether. When the concept of the aether became untenable, two obvious procedures suggested themselves:

  1. Keep Maxwell?s equations but replace the Galilean transformation by the Lorentz transformation,
  2. Keep Galilean relativity but replace Maxwell?s equations by an extension of the Amp?re-Gauss formulation.

The first of these procedures was chosen by Einstein in his celebrated paper of 1905. But there is no necessity for such a deinfication of Maxwell?s equations. The experimental results seem to be satisfied equally well by the second alternative (the ?new electrodynamics?) which eliminates the concept of a magnetic field, replaces the four equations of Maxwell by a singe force equation, and retains Galilean relativity.

The present paper consists of an examination of the experimental results and how they fit into the new electrodynamics. Simultaneity, astronomical aberration, the de Sitter effect, the Sagnac experiment, and the Kaufmann effect are considered. The attempt is made to show that the triumphs of Einstein?s restricted relativity are explicable also on the basis of Galilean relativity.