New Experimental Test of Lorentz's Theory of Relativity
A new experimental test of H. A. Lorentz's [Theory of Electrons (Columbia University Press, New York, 1909)] theory of relativity exploits a neglected concept of Lorentz, that the physical contraction of macroscopic matter moving with a velocity v, with respect to a postulated preferred inertial frame S (the ether), is caused by the relativistic shortening of the equilibrium lengths of the low-mass electronic bonds in a direction parallel to v. Following a change in the orientation of the bond with respect to v, this contraction generates what we call a transient Lorentzian stress. In all prior experiments in which a macroscopic structure is rotated with respect to a hypothesized v, this stress is so rapidly relieved that the macroscopic length adiabatically follows the length demanded by the bonds and no experimental consequences are observable, even with v as great as 10-3c. In the new experiment, a structure of length L is rotated at an angular frequency WR about one end in a horizontal plane containing the postulated velocity v. At low rotation rates, when 2WR (the frequency of the transient Lorentzian stress) is small compared to Wv (the radial resonant vibration frequency of the rotating structure) both Einstein and Lorentz predict that its outer end should enscribe an exact circle, but, when 2wR approaches Wv (a requirement which causes very large stretching of the structure over its normal length) the Lorentz theory uniquely predicts that the transient stress does not have time to be fully relieved, and the outer end should enscribe an elliptical path which deviates from an exact circle by an amount ~ Lv2/c2, since the length of each atomic bond parallel to v changes by the factor (1- v2/c2)1/2. A null result was observed for the case where the postulated velocity v is that of the frame in which the cosmic background radiation is isotropic.