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Thomas Geoffrey Franzel
local time: 2023-02-03 17:35 (-07:00 DST)
Thomas Geoffrey Franzel (Abstracts)
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  • The Logic of a Newly Designed Optical Experiment May Resolve the One-Way Light Speed Issue (2012) [Updated 6 years ago]
    by Thomas Geoffrey Franzel   read the paper:

    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.

  • The Strange and Checkered Career of Carrington's Law: A Century and a Half of Solar Modeling (1999) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    In the inaugural year of Physics Essays (1988) the present author contributed a two-part paper (1, 184-208, 213-243). The paper concluded with a list of twelve brief discursive statements addressed to foundational issues in physics (pp.238-240). This "research program" or preliminary hypothesis sprang from a mixture of physical, philosophical, and deconstructive historical arguments, all of which had been marshalled in the paper.  In the present follow-up paper, it is argued that evidence from solar physics, then either unknown to the author or not yet firmly established, may provide additional support for the earlier proposed hypothesis.  While reader familiarity with the first paper is desirable, the present paper can be read alone. 

  • Distant Simultaneity and the Bilateral Symmetry of a Rotating Object: An Epistemic Alternative to Newton's Water Bucket Experiment as the Cornerstone in Philosophy of Space and Time, Part 1 (1988) [Updated 6 years ago]

       Part 1 of this essay consists of a largely historical, introductory analysis. Several major issues are surveyed: whether simultaneity is conventional, how concepts of clocks and time can differ, and how use of the the terms "relativist" or "relationalist" can conflict. This enables attention to be focused sharply in Part 2 (to appear in the next issue of Physics Essays) upon rotational symmetry and its connection to distant simultaneity.  There, the essential differences between three distinct positions on distant simultaneity gradually emerge: conventionalism, nonconventional standard signal synchrony, and absolute.

       This holistic, enumerative method--a parallel processing approach to problem solving as opposed to a linear, sequential argument--ultimately converges in a logically necessary result. It illustrates a crucial, common trait possessed by all non absolute approaches: None can assign properties to things in a simple way.  All produce a confusion between kinematics and dynamics, arguably both unnecessary and undesirable.

        This, in turn, suggests a basis for believing that the element of conventionality in distant simultaneity essentially is trivial.

       As entirely methodological and epistemic, the rationale for absolute simultaqneity derived in Part 2 easily is distinguished from its Newtonian predecessor. Within Newtonian physics, absolute simultaneity was a by product of more basic, substantial concepts of space and time.  Now long-abandoned and disparaged as metaphysical, no revival of Newtonian space and time is suggested by this analysis.

       The derived rationale also contrasts sharply with Einstein's depiction of absolute simultaneity as an "axiom" of "arbitrary character" and its formal aspects resemble early arguments by Leibniz. Thus, overall, the position generated lends no support to any view of relativity as a type of Leibnizian relationalism.

        With the establishment of of such a pretheoretic, nonconventional framework, the extreme freedom of concept formation advocated by Einstein is constricted. Also, a platform is afforded from which to examine the affinity between relativity and logical positivism, and a fresh look at the question of just when empirical findings actually bear upon the nature of space and time becomes possible.

        Here, at least partially, Mach's lead is followed; but his ideas on inertia must be reinterpreted.  Hence, in reviewing Newton's arguments on the meaning of his water bucket experiment, one claims--like Mach--that he was lacking a more fundamental nonspatial, nontemporal theory of matter aind inertia, such as the one that Mach sought two hundred years later along with Lorentz and Larmor, and later still by Ives, in the research program that lost out to special relativity.

        But one also claims--like Leibniz--that Newton was lacking the results from a parallel, hypothetical, epistemological research program aimed at discovering and clarifying formal restrictions. Such a program similarly was displaced by a movement that assumed the ultimate failure of all such efforts, thereby holding in essence a view of linguistic freedom similar to Einstein's on physical concepts.

        Extension of this line of inquiry may shed light on the apparent incompatibility of general relativity with quantum mechanics, and on the seeemingly fruitless quest for a unified field theory.    (Physics Essays: 1, no. 3, pp. 184-208). 

  • Distant Simultaneity and the Bilateral Symmetry of a Rotating Object: An Epistemic Alternative to Newton's Water Bucket Experiment as the Cornerstone in Philosophy of Space and Time, Part 2 (1988) [Updated 6 years ago]

    This is the second half of an essay which began in the last issue of Physics Essays.  In the first half, a different topic was surveyed in each of the three sections: the conventionality of simultaneity, two paradigms of clocks and time, and how "relationalism" has been the subject of longstanding philosphical interest and disagreement.

     Now, in the first section of Part 2, the focus shifts to rotational symmetry and its connection to distant simultaneity.  A number of of fundamental results are derived from an argument that is partly physical and partly philosphical.  This deeply rooted critique of current theory leads to a qualitative description of an alternate research program with close ties to historical efforts.  An outline of the program gradually develops in the the final two sections.  Supporting details are mixed with, and arise from, various additional arguments for the original thesis.

      The main theme of the second section is an examination of the philosophical difficulties in the "local-distant" dichotomy.  Other issues are gradually intertwined and developed.

     Section 3 is a concluding survey and summary which brings together historical and contemporary issues and maintains that the difficulties in both may spring from a common cause: the problem in the theoretical foundation disclosed by the rotational symmetry argument.    (Physics Essays: 1, no. 4, pp. 213-243)