Optical Phenomena in the Aether
Year: 2008 Pages: 30
Although the theory of light seems completed and many believe that the behavior of light has been accounted for down to the most insignificant detail, there are certain experimental facts in optics for which explanations are still unsatisfactory. It may seem surprising - but nevertheless true - if we state that in fact the most basic phenomena of reflection and refraction of light are such examples of incompletely explained experimental findings, and that they are topics on which the last word has not been said yet. Further, the relation between the refractive index of a transparent medium and its chemical structure, the cause of diffraction, the mechanism of dispersion and that of double refraction, are subjects in need to be integrated into a comprehensive and unitary theory. The abandonment, during the development of the theory of light, of the aether as a necessary medium for its propagation, led to the anomalies that we encounter today, of which one example is the utterly incomprehensible notion of light as a corpuscle and as a wave at the same time, in which it is purported that one feature gives stronger effects than the other depending on the experimental set up. The initial purpose of the present work was to see on what grounds has the aether been dropped from any theory of light. After finding that the key reason for this was the hypothesis of light as a transversal oscillation of the aether, this work gained a second purpose: to show whether this hypothesis was indeed necessary for the explanation of the optical phenomena it claimed it described, i.e. those involving light modified by reflection or double refraction. We find that the hypothesis of light as a transversal oscillation of the aether is not necessary for explaining the phenomena of double refraction and those related to it and the present study shows how this proves that it is not only possible, but mandatory, to return to a picture in which light is a longitudinal, compression wave in the aether. This later representation is not new, having been long held true by most of the scientists who made significant contributions to the development of the theory of light. The return to the representation of light as a compression wave in the aether will lead to a better understanding of the optical phenomena and, most significantly, it will open the way towards an intelligible and more accurate theory of the aether itself.