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A Proposed Sagnac Experiment

Peter Marquardt
Year: 2013 Pages: 8

In 2013, we commemorate the centenary of several marked events in physics among which one is particularly dear to the NPA family: The publication of Sagnac's famous rotating interferometer experiment in the scientific French journal Comptes Rendues. Apart from that widely known experiment conspicuously little is officially communicated about Sagnac's life. Is it because he was a decided opponent (un opposant ardent) to special relativity? Here we have a chance and a duty to bring back the memory of Georges Marc Marie Sagnac (1869 - 1926) who is also credited for pioneering work with X-rays including the discovery of X-ray fluorescence. The Sagnac Award combines the merits of our fellow scientists with those of the still deplorably neglected namesake of the Award. Not only has Sagnac's research brought forth a wealth of technical applications - important lessons due to his work await to be learned. One of them is so elementary it is easily overlooked: We have to say farewell to the dogmatism which arouse from the overestimation of the observers' role. Uniqueness is the solid ground on which we may cautiously proceed in our efforts for more consistency (not "understanding"!) concerning various topics of physics. And -we learn a lot about the hidden psychological effects on our own efforts!