Ein Harvard Physiker plädierte 1999 für den Äther

Ein Professor am Institut for Advanced Study in Princeton, Frank Wilczek, hat 1999 in “Physics today” einen Beitrag veröffentlicht mit dem Titel: The persistence of ether


The persistence of ether
Frank Wilczek

Quite undeservedly, the ether has acquired a bad name. There is a myth, repeated in many popular presentations and textbooks, that Albert Einstein swept it into the dustbin of history. The real story is more complicated and interesting. I argue here that the truth is more nearly the opposite: Einstein first purified, and then enthroned, the ether concept. As the 20th Century has progressed, its role in fundamental physics has only expanded. At present, renamed and thinly disguised, it dominates the accepted laws of physics. And yet, there is serious reason to suspect it may not be the last word. 

As with most general ideas, the germs of the ether philosophy, and its main competitor, can be discerned in debates among the ancient Greeks. Aristotle taught that „Nature abhors a vacuum,“ while Democritus postulated „Atoms and the void.“

The modern history begins with the contest between the world system of René Descartes, who proposed to explain the motion of planets as caused by vortices that sweep them through in a universal medium, and the austere theory of Isaac Newton, who specified precise mathematical equations for the forces and motions, but „framed no hypotheses.“ Newton himself believed in a continuous medium filling all space and, in Query 21 of his Optics, speculated on how it could be responsible for a tremendous variety of physical phenomena. But his equations did not require any such medium, and his successors rapidly became more Newtonian than Newton. By the early 19th Century the generally accepted ideal for fundamental physical theory was to discover mathematical equations for forces between indestructible atoms moving through empty space. In particular, it was in this form that leading mathematical physicists, including such giants as André Marie Ampère, Karl Friedrich Gauss, and Bernhard Riemann, tried to formulate the emerging laws of electrodynamics.

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Beste Grüße Ekkehard Friebe


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