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The Logic of a Newly Designed Optical Experiment May Resolve the One-Way Light Speed Issue

Thomas Geoffrey Franzel
Year: 2012 Pages: 16
A remarkably ingenious design for measuring the one-way speed of light has appeared in the physics literature. This paper provides a detailed description of each of its two slightly different configurations. Written for the scientifically literate reader, rather than just for the professional physicist, this report attempts to preserve the mathematical and logical integrity of the original account, while at the same time making its understanding accessible to a much wider audience. More advanced readers, those who previously have been following the issue closely, may prefer to skip the first two, introductory and background sections, and start instead with section three, where the details of the new proposal actually begin.

In sections four and five, the logic of the new technique is compared to the logic of special relativity. One of Einstein's own teaching examples, the 'long train thought experiment', becomes the central vehicle for confronting the two different approaches. After introducing minor changes to Einstein's original example -- for clarity, and similar to such changes in other teaching examples published elsewhere -- their incommensurability is demonstrated graphically.

A series of provisional findings appear in the conclusion, under the assumption that the new proposal is both logically consistent and otherwise well-founded. If the new design ultimately can be fashioned into a working instrument, and if it performs according to the expectations of its designers, then it is also argued that its practical use in collecting real physical data eventually should lead to a more rational and realistic picture of nature than the one currently anchored by special relativity.