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The 'Ponderable' Aether

Raymond H. Gallucci
Year: 2017

Despite the long-accepted claims by mainstream physicists that the 1887 Michelson-Morley interferometer experiment 'proved' that an aether did not exist, based on its alleged 'null result,' 'dissident' physicists have long contended that it proved the opposite, some citing the 'null result' as evidence of its existence due to 'aether drag,' others lending credence to the relevance of the alleged 'noise' that was dismissed when arriving at the 'null' conclusion. The latter group attest that the alleged null result was anything but, with an 'aether wind' on the order of 10 km/s detected but dismissed as 'noise,' thereby opening the door to Einstein's special relativity. Repeated interferometer experiments even more sensitive were performed by Dayton Miller, including several with Edward Morley, in the first part of the 20th century, allegedly confirming an 'aether wind,' again summarily dismissed as anomalous 'noise' to preserve Einstein's relativity. Now there may be as many aether theories as there are dissident physicists who postulate an aether, some believing it to be fixed against absolute space, others that it can be 'dragged' by massive bodies such as Earth (and hence the alleged 'null result'), and some that believe it flows between 'sources' and 'sinks' throughout the universe. Some believe it comprises all matter and energy, with light just being one of its various manifestations. I know not whether there is an aether. All evidence appears to be circumstantial, as nothing material has ever been detected (if that is even possible), and I do not begin to claim to even know how such would be possible. My goal here is to examine some phenomena for which an aether, if it exists, could offer an alternate explanation, neither confirming nor denying its existence.