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5.1 Einstein’s Simultaneity thought experiment
Regarding my critique on the contemporary "Relativity of Simultaneity" paradigm as introduced in science by Einstein through his thought experiment involving an "observer travelling in a train carriage" : you can download by clicking here my critique as a mp4 video file based "relativity of simultaneity" exposition. Please allow your computer some time to download this mp4 file of about 25 Mbyte. Please activate also the speakers of your computer when playing the video in order to listen to the verbal parts of my exposition. You can also look at and listen to the same video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex0bATIFg3M.
Simultaneity of events : by definition "simultaneous" means that events happen at the very same time instant.
Simultaneity of events in real space of course exists. In fact simply everything that is happening at this very time instant (moment) in whatever part of real space (universe) is happening simultaneously. Therefore, "simultaneity" itself is not an issue but it becomes an issue when an observer, present in a specific location in real space, needs to decide on the simultaneity of two events (which occurred in two other locations in real space) on the basis of the information that is arriving at the location of the observer and on the basis of the time of arrival of that information. The information carriers could moreover be of different types : light (photons), sound waves, electrons ... The observer uses that information to make his decision about simultaneity but the observer knows that all information arriving at her/his location in real space is information from the past. Indeed, no information carrier has an infinitely high velocity.
The crucial information that the observer needs to decide on the yes-or-no simultaneity of two events are :
a) the location of the observer in real space
b) either the locations in real space where the two events occurred or either the time that the events happened
c) the velocity of the information carriers
d) the real velocity vector of the observer (the real velocity of the observer's reference frame)
According to Einstein there is a problem regarding the decision on simultaneity when considering two different observers at different velocities and when having photons as information carriers. Einstein however was not aware of the possibility to measure the real (absolute) velocity of a reference frame in real (absolute) space as explained in 4.1 at this website. The observers are thus able to produce the information "d)" by using a real (absolute) velocity measuring device. It is thus also possible to decide on simultaneity by both observers. This is further looked into in detail in this section.
Einstein’s important thought experiment on the relativity of Simultaneity as presented in “Relativity: The Special and General Theory” can be found e.g. at :
To discuss the problem of two observers in two different inertial systems (one observer at rest and one observer who is
moving) to decide on the simultaneity of two events which happen at the same time instant, Einstein used a thought experiment in which he introduces a moving train compartment and an observer Obs1 “at rest” along a railway track. In the train compartment there is an observer Obs2, thus not “at rest” relative to the track, since Obs2 travels along with the train compartment.
Obs1 is positioned in point M which is precisely at the middle of two locations A and B along the train track. So the distance AM is exactly the same as the distance MB. The moving train compartment is also exactly at location M at the specific time that the events happen in locations A and B. Einstein reflected on the effect of two lightning events, taking place at the same time in A and B. According to Einstein's reasoning, only observer Obs1 at rest in M would be able to conclude on the simultaneity of both lightning events since the light flash from the lightning in point A would need exactly the same time to travel the distance AM as the light flash from the lightning in point B to travel the distance BM. So Obs1 would be able to conclude that both events happened simultaneously. Einstein reasoned however that Obs2 would not be able to make such a statement since Obs2 is not at rest and is travelling with the velocity of the train compartment towards the lightning signal coming from B while the lightning signal coming from B needs to catch up with the train compartment. Einstein indeed reasons :
“Observers who take the railway train as their reference-body must therefore come to the conclusion that the lightning flash B took place earlier than the lightning flash A. We thus arrive at the important result. Events which are simultaneous with reference to the embankment are not simultaneous with respect to the train, and vice versa (relativity of simultaneity). Every reference-body (co-ordinate system) has its own particular time; unless we are told the reference-body to which the statement of time refers, there is no meaning in a statement of the time of an event. Now before the advent of the theory of relativity it had always tacitly been assumed in physics that the statement of time had an absolute significance, i.e. that it is independent of the state of motion of the body of reference. But we have just seen that this assumption is incompatible with the most natural definition of simultaneity”.
For most people, the thought experiment is indeed mind boggling since they might be puzzled with e.g. a perception of having Obs2 in the train compartment to be in location M, in "contradiction" with Obs2 observing the lightning coming from B earlier than the lightning coming from A. An extremely important aspect however which is not mentioned by Einstein in that thought experiment is that the train compartment (thus Obs2) would simply NOT be present in location M at the two different time instants of the arrival at the eyes of Obs2 of the lightning flashes from A and B since the train compartment (thus Obs2) is indeed ALSO travelling during the travelling time of both flashes from A and B in the direction of M and that therefore :
- Obs2 would definitely observe the flash from B (thus earlier than Obs1 would observe that flash) but Obs2 has nevertheless also simply travelled to a location to the right of M during the travelling time of the lightning flash from B in the direction of M. Obs2 is thus clearly NOT at the location M when observing the lightning flash coming from B !!!
- Obs2 will observe the flash from A later than Obs1 but has nevertheless travelled even more to the right of M when compared to the location where Obs2 observes the flash from B. Obs2 is thus also NOT at the location M when observing the lightning flash coming from A and even is in another location than the location where the lightning flash coming from B was observed by Obs2 !!!
Einstein strangely seems to have missed these obvious facts and from these considerations, Einstein’s thought experiment can therefore to be analyzed in some more detail. In that analysis the real (absolute) velocity measuring device can be used since the location of the train compartment at the time instants of the arrival of the flashes from the locations A and B, at the train compartment in which Obs2 resides, need to be calculated from the train velocity and travelling times.
An accurate time measurement system is also needed: a light clock is thus introduced here. An alternative set-up which allows for a light clock function while holding in a rigid frame a laser, a mirror and a sensor, is (extremely schematically) illustrated in Figure 18.
- the laser is being pulsed at an accurate and high frequency and is sending the very small laser pulses in a perfect vertical y-direction towards the mirror.
- the mirror’s reflecting plane is perfectly perpendicular to y.
- the distance between the Laser and the Mirror is dLM.
- the semi-transparent sensor is receiving the mirror reflected laser pulses and is accurately counting those.
Such set-up can function as an accurate light clock. An observer who is moving at a constant speed horizontally in the x-direction along with the real (absolute) velocity measuring device can read this clock. It should be clear to you in the mean time that this light clock is totally different from the light clock as described in the literature by contemporary physics : see again Figure 5 at this website with respect to the totally wrong graphical representation as claimed by contemporary physics with respect to the light pulses moving exactly between the midpoints of both mirrors. Please totally forget about the totally wrong representations by contemporary physics of light as "rays of light" in the artificial reference frames since, with respect to that approach, it should be very clear to you in the mean time that the real phenomena of the photons travelling in real space are not saved at all by that type of graphical represenation !
- one could try to criticize such clock, when questioning the effect of an additional constant velocity component in the y-direction AND eventually also additionally in the z-direction (z being perpendicular to the x-y plane). However, one will quickly understand that, when e.g. having an additional velocity component vy upward in the y-direction, the laser pulse travels towards the mirror from the source and thus needs a somewhat increased travelling time to arrive at the mirror as a result of the value of vy, but that this is completely compensated for by the equally decreased travelling time for the laser pulse to return to the sensor after reflection. One will also quickly understand that an additional velocity component vz in the z-direction does not change anything with respect to the trajectory of the laser pulse in real (absolute) space. This is clear from the laser pulse’s trajectory in real (absolute) space. The photon/laser pulse trajectory is locked in real (absolute) space by the original absolute launching position in real space and, from that moment on, is travelling perfectly in the y-direction. As a result: after being launched perfectly perpendicular to the mirror from the laser, the distance that the laser pulse needs to travel from the laser to the laser pulse counting detector, is thus exactly twice dLM, for whatever velocity vector of the set-up.
It is then obvious that the velocity vx has no effect at all on the measurement of time by the laser clock. Whatever value of vx, the laser pulse in reality always travels in real (absolute) space exactly the same trajectory (thus forth and back distance) and since the speed of light is constant this takes exactly the same time for the laser pulse to travel that distance. If a person would argue that in the discussion one has only a laser pulse that travels in the y-direction perpendicular to the x-direction, that argument can be easily countered by introducing similar clocks for each direction. These three clocks (respectively linked to vx, vy and vz) evidently show an independent time measurement but they will all keep running perfectly synchronized for whatever (value and direction of the) velocity vector v. [Even if that same person then also would point to the effects of rotation regarding the light clock then such argument also could be countered by introducing an (although expensive) gyroscope controlled system to circumvent rotation effects].
When thus having two space ships at different velocities in space and both equipped with the same build of clock, it is then obvious that time measurement will be identical in both ships. When both clocks would be compared after having travelled in space at different velocities, the clocks would still run perfectly synchronized. Of course this statement will be fiercely attacked by relativity paradigm supporters from the “existing literature” and from the “experimental results”. In section 5.2 however an indication is suggested with respect to an aspect that was not looked into up to now, concerning the Michelson and Morley experiment. The null result during that Michelson and Morley experiment could indeed be well influenced by the effect as presented in Figures 3, 4, 10 and 11. More details on that aspect will be given in section 5.2. If that aspect indeed has been overlooked in the Michelson and Morley experiment and if the experiment would be checked and eventually redesigned in order to counter that aspect, thereby eventually leading to a NON null, the supporters of the relativity paradigm will surely need to reconsider their belief in their paradigms.
Moreover, these supporters already need to explain the result of the straightforward laser experiment as shown in Figure 2 on this website. Other experimental data in the literature, e.g. the Eddington photographs with respect to the deflection of light by the sun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity) could eventually also be looked into, from the additional effect of our planet’s velocity in space. Reference in that respect is made here to the discussion in section 4.2 on the observation of Obs2 when photons as information carriers and the significant difference in perceived and actual positions, thus also the angular differences in the observation direction, depending on the time instant of the day (morning, midday, evening, night) which well could/can influence additionally the recording of the position of stars from the observation of their “rays of light”.
Let’s now reconsider Einstein’s theoretical thought experiment with a train carriage and an observer Obs1 who is “at rest” along the train track. This is a typical “classic relativity” point of view: the “non moving” train track and thus the “non moving” observer along the train track are considered to be “at rest” in the human mind but in the mean time one must realize that the “non-moving observer at rest” and the train track in reality will be positioned on earth and thus travel through space at a very high speed. The human mind is of course able “to make abstractions” and think virtually of Obs1 to be “at rest” but one must then also admit that in reality there would be an important flaw in Einstein’s thought experiment if it would be claimed that Obs1 is “really at rest” and “thus will see in reality the light flashes at the same time as a result of Obs1’s location M, exactly in the middle of A and B”. If one in such case would insist on the possibility that Obs1 could see both light flashes at exactly the same time then there would also be the very strict demand that Obs1 is really “at rest” and this would in fact invoke the need of the existence of “absolute rest”. This is of course in deep conflict with the notion of “relativity” altogether. In Einstein’s thought experiment and from an “absolute” point of view, the definition of the observer Obs1 to be “at rest” would only be true if Obs1 would actually read her/his absolute velocity to be zero from the absolute velocity measuring device at her/his disposal ! Consequently it is necessary to introduce the real (absolute) velocity measuring device in the thought experiment of Einstein.
Consider therefore both observers Obs1 (Obs1 in Einstein’s thought experiment is the observer in location M along the train track) and Obs2 (Obs2 is the observer in the train compartment) to each have a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device at their disposal. Obs1 will then measure her/his velocity in reality NOT to be zero, certainly also from the fact of the earth’s very high velocity in space and therefore Obs1 admits that the statement “I am at rest” is only true in the virtual construction of the mathematical Obs1 reference frame. Obs1 then also admits that in reality in real space (s)he is moving at an astounding velocity, from the presence on our planet. It then becomes clear to Obs1 that in reality (s)he would experience the very same simultaneity problem which was imposed by Einstein on Obs2 : both observers are in fact not at rest at all in reality. If the human mind is persistent in stating that a train track and an observer Obs1 along a train track can be considered to be “at rest” it is then again obvious that the human mind is imposing on reality a “virtual reality”. When thus performing Einstein’s thought experiment in reality, the observer Obs1 along the train track on earth is thus simply not at absolute rest and thus also would NOT observe both lightening flashes at the same time, in the very same way as Einstein explains this for the observer Obs2 present in the train compartment.
However, let’s now make sure to have a "thought" experiment in which Obs1 is indeed NOT in some virtual/artificial mathematical “space” “at rest” but in absolute rest in real (absolute) space by using a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device, in order to assure that the Obs1 reference frame is not moving at all in real (absolute) space. Einstein’s thought experiment then indeed can in fact be fully calculated in order to prove that both observers Obs1 and Obs2 are perfectly able to make a statement on simultaneity. In order to do such, let’s slightly change the set-up of Einstein’s theoretical thought experiment of a train track on earth and an observer along the track by introducing a perfectly linear track AB being at absolute rest in real (absolute) space (absolute rest now being checked by a three axis’s based real (absolute) velocity measuring system set-up in positions A and B as illustrated in Figure 13) and a space ship travelling along that track (illustrated very schematically in Figure 19).
Figure 19 : "Thought" experiment on simultaneity
It would even be perfectly possible to calculate in the very same way the events for a train experiment but then the time interval values which need to be considered are THAT small (but not zero) that one, as a reader, would find things rather unclear. So let’s do the calculation for the much easier apprehendable situation of a fast space ship while having real (absolute) velocity measuring devices and laser pulse based clocks.
An observer Obs2 is on board of the space ship and has a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device. Obs2 is thus able to measure exactly the real (absolute) velocity of the space ship. An observer Obs1 is located in M (AM=MB) along the track also has a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device, indicating a zero real(absolute) velocity. Obs1 is now REALLY at rest in space as in contrast with Einstein’s observer along the train track being VIRTUALLY “at rest”. For the simplicity of calculations and ease-of-demonstration reasons, the distance dAM from point A to M (dBM between B and M) is arbitrarily chosen to be 3 light seconds (about 900 000 000 m) and the constant real (absolute) velocity of the ship to be 700 000 m/sec. In both points A and B there is a laser (also at perfect rest, as controlled by the presence of a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device at these locations). Both lasers fire at exactly the same moment a laser pulse towards M (LPA from A and LPB from B).
The space ship arrives exactly at t=0 at position M at the moment (t=0) that the laser pulses are fired but evidently has the speed of 700 000 m/sec. Since Obs1 now is really at absolute rest, both laser pulses will effectively arrive at exactly the same time (after three seconds) at M in a way that Obs1 can conclude for sure that they were fired at the same time (Obs1 knows the exact distances AM and BM, thus that AM=BM).
With respect to Obs2 it was shown during the discussion on the light clock set-up that time is not influenced by the ship’s velocity. The laser pulse clock of Obs2 therefore runs perfectly synchronized with the laser pulse clock of Obs1 since the laser pulses simply have to travel the very same distance for whatever speed of the space ship. The observer Obs2 thus is able to accurately measure the time difference between the arrival of both laser pulses (LPB arrives earlier than LPA). The ship has indeed travelled further from position M in the direction towards location B during the travelling time of both laser pulses. So it is obvious that Obs1 then will observe both laser pulses after exactly 3 seconds but also very normal, from the finite speed of light as an information carrier, that Obs2 in the space ship will observe the arrival of the event witness photons within :
- LPB somewhat earlier than Obs1
- LPA somewhat later than Obs1
But is such then “in conflict” with the concept of simultaneity ? The answer is no since, if Obs2 is indeed able to recalculate
- from the measurement of the space ship’s velocity by using the real (absolute) velocity measuring device
- from the measurement of time by using the accurate light clock inside the space ship (which runs fully synchronous with the light clock of the same build and which is also available to Obs1 in the location M)
- from the knowledge of Obs2 that the space ship was at the location M at t=0 (at which the laser pulses departed in locations A and B)
the precise time instants that the laser pulses were fired from A and B, then Obs2 is evidently perfectly capable to decide on the pulses being fired simultaneous or not, which is the issue here. It is indeed not necessary for Obs2 to observe both pulses, which were fired in the past, simultaneous at the time instant t = 3 seconds, as in the case of Obs1 who indeed observes the two pulses simultaneously (since Obs1 is simply in the middle of AB and at perfect/aboslute rest). The train compartment or the space ship however will both NOT be at location M when the lightning or the laser pulses arrive but even in two different locations to the right of M since the train compartment or the space ship simply has travelled further during the travelling time of both lightning signals or the laser pulses from the locations A and B in the direction of M.
So, let’s calculate the time and the meeting locations WHEN and WHERE the space ship is meeting the laser pulses LPA and LPB , respectively coming from the locations of A and B.
- introducing an absolute x-axis with its origin x=0 in M and directed towards B
- defining the position of the space ship as xShip
- defining the positions of the laser pulses as xLPA and xLPB
- ΔtShip = travelling time of the space ship from position M (x = 0)
- ΔtLPB = travelling time of the laser pulse from laser LB
- ΔtLPA = travelling time of the laser pulse from laser LA
- assuming the speed of light to be 300 000 000 meter per second
Meeting of space ship and laser pulse launched from location B
Since a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device is available, the observer Obs2 is able to measure the ship’s real (absolute) velocity vShip and it is thus possible from that information to write the equation (5.1) :
xShip = vShip . ΔtShip (5.1)
One also knows that the position of LPB after a travelling time ΔtLPB corresponds to :
xLPB = dMB - c . ΔtLPB (5.2)
The space ship and LPB obviously meet when xLPB = xShip :
xLPB = dMB - c . ΔtLPB = xShip = vShip . ΔtShip (5.3)
But it is also true of course that at the moment that they meet that ΔtLPB= ΔtShip. As a result ΔtLPB can be substituted through ΔtShip :
vShip . ΔtShip = dMB - c . ΔtShip (5.4)
Thus from equation (5.4) also :
ΔtShip = dMB / (vShip + c ) = 900000000 / (700000 + 300000000) = 2.9930162953109 sec (5.5)
So one notices that Obs2 already will register LPB after 2.9930162953109 sec at location xShip= 2095111.407 m, thus about 0.00698 sec earlier than Obs1. As a check: the laser pulse has travelled during that time a distance
300000000 m/sec x 2.9930162953109 sec = 897904888.59327 m from location B and thus arrives at xLPB =900000000 m - 897904888.59327 m = 2095111.407 m which of course corresponds to the very same location of the space ship at that moment when meeting LPB. The space ship thus advanced, to the right of M, the “small” distance of 2095111.407 m which is merely 0.2328 % of the distance between M and B but nevertheless clearly does not coincide with the location of M as the thought experiment in a vague way could suggest to some people, as they are staring to the thought experiment and are trying to grasp the meaning of it. It is very clear now to those people that the situation can indeed be precisely calculated for, with respect to Obs2 observing “when and where” the laser pulse. Let’s then continue to perform such calculations.
Meeting of space ship and laser pulse launched from location A
At the moment that LPB meets the ship, LPA of course still needs to catch up with the space ship. LPA even did not arrive at M yet. Indeed, LBP requires an additional 0.0069837046891 sec to continue its travel to location M in order to be observed by Obs1 (at t=3 sec LPA and LPB arrive at M). Therefore LPA obviously needs over 3 sec to catch the travelling space ship. The time and location of the meeting of LPA and the space ship can be obtained from analogous equations :
xLPA = c . ΔtLPA - dAM (5.6)
The space ship and LPA meet when xLPA=xShip :
xShip = vShip . ΔtShip = xLPA = c . ΔtLPA - dAM (5.7)
It is also true that they meet at a same moment ΔtLPA= ΔtShip. As a result :
vShip . ΔtShip = c . ΔtShip - dAM (5.8)
Thus from equation (5.8) :
ΔtShip = dAM / ( c - vShip ) = 900000000 / (300000000 - 700000) = 3.0070163715336 sec (5.9)
So one notices that Obs2 will only register LPA after 3.0070163715336 sec of travelling at location xShip= 2104911.460 m, thus about 0.007016 sec later than Obs1. As a check : the laser pulse travelled during that time a distance of
300000000 m/sec x 3.0070163715336 sec = 902104911.46008 m from location A and thus arrives at xLPB =900000000 m - 902104911.46008 m = 2104911.460 m which of course corresponds to the very same location of the space ship, being caught at that moment by LPA. The space ship thus advanced, to the right of M, the “small” distance of 2104911.460 m which is merely 0.2339 % of the distance between M and B, so a little bit further to the right of M when compared with the situation corresponding to the observation of LPB by Obs2.
Since Obs2 has all the following information :
- the precise speed of the space ship, from the absolute velocity measuring device
- the precise time, from the light clock on board
- the location of the space ship at t=0 being M
- the arrival time instants of both pulses LPB and LPA (respectively 2.9930162953109 sec and 3.0070163715336 sec) which Obs2 registered at the arrival of the pulses
it is also possible for Obs2 to calculate the time of departure of the pulses LPA and LPB respectively at the locations A and B. The result of that calculation is obvious : Obs2 will calculate that both laser pulses have departed at the locations A and B at precisely the same time instant t=0 ! So Obs2 is perfectly capable to conclude on the simultaneity of the events of the launching of the laser pulses from the measurement...
It should now be clear from the example that the simultaneity problem in the original thought experiment (with the train) is not a problem at all… In the thought experiment involving a train compartment, the aspect of position, time and speed is masked to many people, when glancing at the graphical representation of the thought experiment, as a result of their perception of the (extremely high) speed of light and the relative “negligible” small velocity of the train (while they even are forgetting the fact that the train system moves through space together with our planet at a very high speed). Nevertheless the same effect as discussed in the example of the space ship is valid. The observer in the train compartment will also register the lightning flash produced in location A somewhat later than the lightning flash produced in location B. The train compartment is also not present in location M at the moment of the encounter with the lightning flashes but has moved (in an analogous way as the space ship) from M. The positions and time of occurrence can be calculated in the very same way as in the preceding example of the space ship; although it is expected that a very high number crunching precision is required during such calculations in order to get to their correct values for such extremely small distances and time intervals in the case of a train experiment (surely don’t forget however the effect of the high velocity of the earth in its orbit around the sun; however a speed of 30 000 meter per second is much smaller than the arbitrary chosen speed of 700 000 meter per second for the space ship for calculation demonstration reasons in the example ; also here the real (absolute) velocity measuring device is needed to perform the calculations).
What is of the utmost importance however in all this is that the moving observer Obs2 is capable of registering his location and both the according times of arrival of both laser pulses (or lightning flashes), while using a clock that is perfectly synchronous with the clock at the disposal of Obs1. Therefore Obs2 is perfectly able to easily back-calculate from these data that LPA and LPB must have been launched from respectively location A and B at the very same moment (t=0). Of course Obs1 has no calculation worries since Obs1 knows that (s)he is at absolute rest and thus easily concludes without any number crunching from the fact that both pulses arrive at the same moment that they must have being launched at the same time from A and B (since Obs1 of course knows that AM=BM and that the pulses were launched from these locations). So, Obs1 and Obs2 can make the very same statement on the simultaneity of the laser pulses or lightning flashes.
The fact that Obs2 is able to calculate all events simply results from the fact that Obs2 has a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device at her/his disposal and also a clock which runs perfectly synchronous with the clock of Obs1. It is thus possible to perceive this opportunity from the mathematical perspective of a “missing equation” within an infinite multitude of relative inertial frames and relative values for vShip to choose from, without the knowledge of a real (an absolute) velocity measuring device. Having an infinite multitude of relative inertial frames could be compared with an “underdetermined” (thus unsolvable) mathematical problem as a result of some missing crucial equations. But with the possibility to ultimately determine the unique value of real (absolute) velocity and time, the “underdetermined” situation vanishes and as a result, the simultaneity relativity concept becomes obsolete.
[It is interesting to consider a variant of the thought experiment with the space ship, namely that the space ship is not considered to be at the location M when the lightning flashes depart from the locations of A and B but that the space ship ARRIVES precisely AT the location M when the laser pulses also ARRIVE at M. In order to avoid quibbling, consider that the location of Obs1 is at a very small distant below M (M is on the AB track) and that the location of Obs2 is at the very same small distant, but then above M. A prism reflection based system splits the lightning flashes in order to send the signals to both the location of Obs1 and the location of Obs2. In such case it is obvious that Obs1 and Obs2 simply are observing the arrival of both lightning flashes simultaneously].
The next 3 paragraphs were added on 25 September 2011 in order to counter those paradigm defenders who introduced a variant of Einstein's train thought experiment where the light pulses are generated from the back and the front of the train.
In that case both sources of the light pulses are thus attached to the train and thus move along at the same speed as the train. These paradigm defenders then get caught in their own qualitative thinking without any serious attempt to calculate the phenomena and merely use paradigm statements in trying to save the paradigm. Those paradigm defenders however will find it very hard to disproof the next approach. Imagine thus the space ship in Figure 19 to have a rod R1 of length AM being mounted at the back of the space ship and also another rod R2 having a length of MB, mounted at the front of the space ship (so both rods R2 and R2 in fact have the same length). Assume also a laser LaserR1 to be mounted at the end R1End of R1. The laser LaserR1 is thus at a distance AM from the back of the space ship. Assume also a laser LaserR2 to be mounted at the end R2End of R2. The laser LaserR2 is thus at a distance MB from the front of the space ship. Both LaserR1 and LaserR2 thus travel at the same speed as the space ship since they are rigidly attached to the space ship, through the rods R1 and R2. Then assume that those moving lasers LaserR1and LaserR2 are also fired at the time instance that Obs2 is precisely at location M. In fact LaserR1 and LaserR2 are thus fired at exactly the same moment that the lasers at rest in A and B are fired.
The question then is : what will happen to these additional laser pulses being fired from the positions R1End and R2End and how will Obs2 and Obs1 observe those ? One needs to understand that the laser pulses from LaserR1 and LaserR2 will behave IN EXACTLY the same way as the laser pulses that were fired by the lasers at rest in location A and B. Since the laser pulses from LaserR1 and LaserR2 will NOT inherit any velocity from their sources, the speed of the space ship will not influence those laser pulses, to be launched at the speed of light (300 000 000 meter per second) in the real space and to travel travel through real space at that speed of light. The laser pulse from LaserR1 thus will travel in real space exactly in parallel with the laser pulse launched by the laser at rest in A. The laser pulse from LaserR2 thus will travel in real space exactly in parallel with the laser pulse launched by the laser at rest in B. All laser pulses need to be considered to travel in real space and certainly NOT "to travel" in an artificial, imaginary "space" defined by the reference frame of Obs2. It was moreover demonstrated on this website that it is even impossible for Obs2 to graphically represent in a correct way a past position of a photon in such an artificial mathematical Obs2 reference frame. The equations (5.1)-(5.9) thus also holds and the result is the same. There is thus no simultaneity problem.
The problem of contemporary paradigm defenders is thus that they somehow "believe" in photons to travel in an imaginary reference frame, which they call "space" while that "space" only exists in their minds. They work with a notion of "space" in e.g. a lab room, as being defined by (x,y,z) and moreover to represent a "real" space where the phenomena are "occurring" in. However, a photon already travelled through real space long before even the human race existed on our planet. Therefore a photon "does not care at all", so-to-speak, about human's theoretical thought enforcements and artificial "reference frames" or "reference spaces". A photon still travels through the sole and unique real space in the same way as it has done for billions of years... Therefore the result of the variant of the thought experiment is very clear. The paradigm defenders introducing the train experiment with the sources mounted on the front and back of the train are shown here to be simply caught in their qualitative thinking pattern based on artificial contraction paradigms in artificial spaces, by which they are then locked in a never-ending loop of paradigm self re-assuring. Simply call it illusions ...
5.2 The Michelson and Morley experiment
Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley published their experimental findings with the title “On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether” in November 1887 in the American Journal of Science, volume XXXVI. The term “lumini-ferous” means “light carrying”. The paper can be downloaded as a pdf document from the internet : http://www.aip.org/history/gap/PDF/michelson.pdf. At that time the hypothesis that space (vacuum) contained some kind of fluidum (the “ether”) was under investigation. Michelson and Morley thus write in their paper :
"On the undulatory theory, according to Fresnel, first the ether is supposed to be at rest except in the interior of transparent media, in which secondly, it is supposed to move with a velocity less than the velocity of the medium in the ratio (n²-1)/n² where n is the index of refraction. These two hypotheses give a complete and satisfactory explanation of aberration. The second hypothesis, notwithstanding its seeming improbability, must be considered as fully proved, first, by the celebrated experiment of Fizeau, and secondly, by the ample confirmation of our own work. The experimental trial of the first hypothesis forms the subject of the present paper. If the earth were a transparent body, it might perhaps be conceded, in view of the experiments just cited, that the intermolecular ether was at rest in space, notwithstanding the motion of the earth in its orbit ; but we have no right to extend the conclusion from these experiments to opaque bodies. But there can be hardly be question that the ether can and does pass through metals. Lorentz cites the illustration of a metallic barometer tube. When the tube is inclined the ether in the space above the mercury is certainly forced out, for it is incompressible. But again we have no right to assume that it makes this escape with perfect freedom, and if there be any resistance, however slight, we certainly could not assume an opaque body such as the whole earth to offer free passage through its entire mass. But as Lorentz aptly remarks : “quoi qui’l en soit , en fera bien, a mon avis, de ne pas se laisser guider dans une question aussi importante, par de considerations sur le degré de probabilité ou de simplicité de l’une ou de l’autre hypothèse, mais de s’addresser a l’experience pour apprendre a connaitre l’état, de repos ou de movement, dans lequel se trouve l’éther à la surface terrestre”.
(Translation of Lorentz’ remarks : “Whatever the case, one should best, to my opinion, not being guided in such an important matter, by reflections on the degree of probability or simplicity of either hypothesis, but by experimental facts in order to determine the characteristics, rest or movement, in which the ether presents itself on the surface of the earth.” Please note the fact that Lorentz was cited in the paper of Michelson and Morley, thus indicating the importance of Lorentz at that time in these matters.)
From the preceding text “If the earth were a transparent body, it might perhaps be conceded, in view of the experiments just cited, that the intermolecular ether was at rest in space” the “ether” indeed was reflected upon as possibly to be some kind of fluidum (moreover “in space”) being influenced (hindered, as if the ether shows e.g. a “viscosity”) by material objects. The description “But there can be hardly the question that the ether can and does pass through metals. Lorentz cites the illustration of a metallic barometer tube. When the tube is inclined the ether in the space above the mercury is certainly forced out, for it is incompressible.” is extremely striking here ! There is no doubt here that the scientific image by Michelson, Morley and Lorentz here is of an “ether which can be forced out of the metallic barometer tube”.
It can be remarked here that a material object is build from atoms, incorporating electrons which revolve around the atom nucleus (which consists of protons and neutrons). Electrons are considered to have a completely negligible volume, so electrons can be regarded as occupying space to a total negligible extent. Even the atom nucleus, while consisting of neutrons and protons as the nucleons, also occupies a negligible amount of space. The nucleus radius (in femtometer ; fm) is equal to about the third root of the number of the total number of nucleons. As an example, 56Fe has 56 nucleons and the nucleus radius is then about 5 fm. The atom radius of Fe is however about 150 000 fm which is thus a factor 30 000 larger than the nucleus diameter, which means that the volume of the atom is even a factor (30000)³ larger than its nucleus volume …! It is then very obvious that an atom's volume, in fact is overwhelmingly space.
Therefore, regarding “Lorentz cites the illustration of a metallic barometer tube” in fact a reference is then made to the Torricelli experiment of which the description can be found on e.g. http://digilander.libero.it/calchic/english1/torricellie.html. The “creation of vacuum” above the mercury column in the transparent glass tube when turning over and dipping the one-end-sealed tube in the container, filled with mercury, indeed has been mind boggling to many people, witnessing the experiment : no air can enter the one-end-sealed tube during the experiment but suddenly “out of nothing” there is appearing “something” at the top of the tube, "making room" for the mercury which drops in height to about 760 mm. That “something” is called “vacuum”. In the case of a tube of 1000 mm of height that vacuum has a height of 240 mm at the top of the tube.
The statement “When the tube is inclined the ether in the space above the mercury is certainly forced out, for it is incompressible” evidently does not take into account the fact that the electrons, protons and neutrons within the mercury atoms simply moved downwards through the already overwhelmingly present space between those electrons, neutrons and protons. There is no forcing out at all of “ether” “out of the mercury” into “the space above the mercury”. The phenomenon of the mercury column getting smaller is simply the movement of the mercury atoms through space downwards in the, at the top concealed, glass tube. That space thus simply was already there and therefore there is thus no need for “ether to be forced out” at all.
At that time, a distinction was thus made between the “ether” and “space” as if the “ether” is present in “space” while not considering that both “ether” and “space” should mean the very same. A better image is then that the electrons and nucleons are located in space and that a material object which moves through space (the metallic barometer tube or even our planet itself) simply constitutes of the movement of their individual atoms, thus the electrons and nucleons of each individual atom of the material object through that, from the atoms viewpoint, overwhelming amount of space. It is then completely irrelevant to consider an ether which is “forced out of a metallic barometer tube” or an “intermolecular ether at rest in space”. There is simply space (not as "nothing" but as "something") but surely no "ether in space" as "ether" then could wrongly be perceived as some kind of "(material based) fluidum".
The notion of Lorentz “but by experimental facts in order to determine the characteristics, rest or movement, in which the ether presents itself on the surface of the earth” was also striking since that notion indeed implies the possibility of “an ether in space” (as a fluidum in space) which thus eventually could manifest itself also as an ether “wind” at the surface of the earth which then eventually could influence light in its movement ? Since the earth moves at high speed through space, in its orbit around the sun, that notion would imply the disturbance of the ether by that high earth’s orbit speed ? Of course there is no existence of such an “ether” at all (neither thus an “ether-wind” in space) as some kind of a viscous fluidum or medium “in space” which influences the transport of light in space.
The existence of space next to the existence of electrons, protons, … itself however cannot be denied since obviously our planet is present in and moves through space. Space crafts and satellites are present in space which also cannot be denied. The same philosophical problem would arise here again: is there only matter (electrons, protons, neutrons, …) as a reality and is space then rather “nothing”, as in “a virtual mathematical space only definable by an artificial reference frame in a human’s mind” ? If space thus would be “nothing” : how can photons then move in that “nothing” since they would need to cross the “nothing” when moving from location A to B in that space, as already pointed to by the Ancient Greeks ? The space (vacuum) in our complete universe then would all be “nothing”? This point of view is unacceptable. Space simply is a reality in the very same way as electrons, neutrons, protons are considered to be real, also without even knowing what those precisely are. Photons thus need space for their transport and at an incredible speed of about 300 000 000 meters per second. Moreover, the moment that a photon is launched from a material light source such photon becomes completely independent from that source (and does not inherit any speed vector from that source) but nevertheless is “locked to that absolute space”. Being “locked” means that the photon will keep on travelling in absolute space (if total vacuum) at the speed of light precisely in the same direction as its launch direction, thus without any velocity vector perpendicular to that direction in absolute space, from the source of that photon.
With respect to the material perspective : even our planet needs to be considered as an extremely “thin” object from this point of view regarding an individual atom. All electrons and all nucleons of our complete planet (including our own bodies) represent, on a volume basis, a negligible amount of space with respect to the total volume. From the factor of (30000)³ that means that our planet on a volume basis is a staggering 99.99999999999 % of space and only the remaining part of the volume is then “occupied” (for whatever that means of course) by electrons and nucleons… There is no problem at all for our planet (thus for any of its atoms) to rush though space at a velocity, up to now estimated to be a staggering 30 000 meter per second, without any viscous effect of an “ether” present in “space” or without any “ether wind” at our planet’s surface. Also Torricelli’s tube is thus travelling through space at that velocity and therefore even the glass and mercury atoms are simultaneously travelling through space at that same velocity : the space “above the mercury in the closed tube” is thus even “replaced” continuously at that same velocity.
So, let’s accept here that real space corresponds to Newton’s absolute space and that real space is at perfect rest. One could eventually also attack this statement by claiming that it has been proven that space is not at rest but is expanding. To put things in perspective in that respect : if one considers within cosmology that the best estimate at the moment for the Hubble constant regarding the expansion of space is 74000 m/sec-1Mpc-1. Since 1 Mpc equals to 3.08567758×1022 m, the Hubble constant equals to 2.398×10-18/sec. In fact, this means that space expansion at a “local” environment in the universe is extremely small. If, as an example, our own solar system would be assumed to have a “diameter” of 12.1012 m (roughly the Pluto orbit), the Hubble constant implies in such example that the expansion of that diameter would be :
Δdiam= 2.398×10-18 . 12×1012 = 29 ×10-6 m/sec (5.10)
thus only about 30 micrometer per second for this vast distance of 12×1012 m. The expansion per year in this example is about 900 m, thus an annual extremely small (7.5×10-9 %) change. It is then obvious that the effect of the Hubble space expansion within the Michelson and Morley experiment on earth can be completely neglected.
In order to discuss the Michelson and Morley experiment (coded MMe here) it is necessary to look into their graphical representation describing their experiment. A copy of the original figures 1 and 2 within that publication is illustrated here as respectively Figure 20 and Figure 21. Figure 20 (upper right part) is looked into first. Michelson and Morley draw “rays” of light by straight lines in their graphical representation. Their model for Figure 20 in linguistic format could thus be expressed as:
- A light source “s” sends a ray of light in the horizontal direction towards an inclined (45 °) mirror positioned in point “a” (the code Ma will be used for the inclined mirror). Ma is semi-transparent and therefore the ray of light is split into two parts : part of the ray continues towards point “c” where a vertical mirror (Mc) is positioned while the other part (ray “ab”) of the ray is reflected in position “a” towards position “b” of a horizontal mirror (Mb). Position “b” is the midpoint of Mb. The ray “ab” is then reflected again vertically by Mb in the direction of “d”. The ray “ac” is reflected by Mc in position “c” in the horizontal direction back to position “a” and is then reflected in position “a” by Ma vertically downward in the direction of “d”. The complete set-up in Figure 20 is at rest and since the distance between “a” and “b” is equal to the distance between “a” and “c”, the split light rays arrive at the same moment in position “d”. Since they arrive at exactly the same moment, the inference in “d” of both rays is perfect. –
This linguistic model and the graphical representation in Figure 20 appears to be very plausible as a description/saving of the phenomena. It should be remarked however that no explicit time information (time labels) about the light signal is depicted by Michelson and Morley. In order to introduce an alternative type of linguistic model and an alternative representation, the set-up is changed. An advanced laser source set-up is introduced to replace the light source in the MMe and which is assumed to be able to fire two laser pulses A and B at the same time instant t=0, each having a duration of e.g. 200 femtosecond (short scale : femto is one quadrillionth or 10-15). The value of 200 femtosecond is mentioned here since such extremely short laser pulses are in fact used in industry nowadays. Interestingly, such a pulse shows a length of only 60 micrometer.
The linguistic model of the laser pulse phenomena corresponding to the situation in Figure 20 is therefore as following:
- Both pulses are fired at t=0 and will travel to the inclined mirror Ma while arriving simultaneously in position “a” at t=t1. Pulse A is reflected by Ma in a vertical direction upwards towards the horizontal mirror Mb while pulse B travels through Ma in the horizontal direction towards the vertical mirror Mc. Pulse A arrives at position “b” of Mb at t=t2 while pulse B arrives also at t=t2 at Mc. Pulse A is reflected by Mb downwards to Ma while pulse B is reflected by Mc in the horizontal direction towards Ma. Both pulses A and B arrive at the same time t=t3 at Ma. Pulse A then travels further in the vertical direction through Ma downwards to position “d” while pulse B is reflected by Ma downwards towards “d”. Evidently, pulses A and B arrive at the same time t=t4 at the position “d”. -
Such alternative approach, now being based on two laser pulses A an B, demands more concrete location versus time information for the laser pulse (photon) phenomena while such information is not immediately available in the graphical representation by Michelson and Morley in Figure 20, nor in Figure 21. Given the distances between the individual mirrors and the laser, the time labels t1, t2, t3 and t4 in the simple "stationary mirror" case of Figure 20 could be calculated in a straightforward way. However, in the case of Figure 21 the complete set-up moves in the horizontal direction to the right, at a velocity v. The laser source and all three mirrors thus move at the same velocity v and how to calculate then the laser pulse locations versus time ? There is a major complication in that respect since the calculations could be performed on the basis of either two different light paradigms in physics: the particle (photon) paradigm or the wave paradigm. Which one to use thus and how?
One should also note the important fact that the original figures (represented here in Figures 20 and 21) by Michelson and Morley are drawn from the viewpoint of an observer at rest ! The graphical representation of those events as depicted by Michelson and Morley by the method of a graphical representation using rays of light represented by simple lines leave no doubt about their approach of an observer at rest. In Figure 21 they clearly state that a laser pulse A will be reflected by the moving mirror Ma towards the moving mirror Mb in such a way that the laser pulse will hit the mirror Mb precisely at its midpoint “b”, thus that the laser pulse travels along the line “ab” and moreover, such for whatever velocity value of the set-up ! If that representation again would be an illusion of the human mind and if the photon phenomena are NOT saved by such representation, then the MMe experiment definitely needs to be re-analyzed. From the photon approach as explained already in the other sections on this website, such representation as “rays of light” by simple geometrical lines indeed did not save the phenomena of the photons in the examples as discussed in those sections.
In the case of the use of the particle paradigm, the supporters of that paradigm will need to apply a model of the reflection of photons by the reflecting surface of the inclined and moving mirror Ma. What is “a reflection of photons by a mirror surface”? Ma is also semi-transparent. Photons are quanta and will arrive at the mirror surface which of course consists from an atom point of view of electrons and atom nuclei. The arriving photons will therefore interact in a complex way with the electrons of those atoms in a thin layer at the mirror’s surface and are “reflected” by that interaction. It is of course evident to anyone that in the case of window glass most of the photons simply travel through the space where the silicon, oxygen, calcium, … atoms of the glass reside without such a type of interaction that those photons are reflected of absorbed during the interaction with the electrons of those atoms in that particular configuration in the transparent glass. In contrast with transparent glass, a mirror surface area (e.g. a polished metal surface area), will reflect most of the photons. The photon/electron(s) interactions are evidently extremely complex in the case of the polished metal mirror surface and the supporters of the particle paradigm therefore also need to determine which approach would be the best in order to determine the trajectory of a laser pulse being reflected at the midpoint “a” of the tilted mirror Ma towards the mirror Mb. Either the theoretical approach is eventual feasible or either the experimental one.
On this website, it is not the subject to present experimental results from an additional experiment such as presented in Figure 2 while also implementing e.g. a reflecting polished metal mirror at an angle of 45° (very near to the laser) and then observing the shift of the laser dot from the reflected laser beam on a measuring grid at a distance of about 10 m during a 24 hour period. Such an experiment of course would be the most pragmatic approach since during a 24 hour period experiment, an analogous effect (of which the principle is shown in Figures 3 and 4) with respect to the shift of the laser dot at the measuring grid could be detected and verified. The supporters of the particle paradigm then also would need to conclude that the MMe needs to be re-evaluated from the important fact that one needs to take into account such an important shift of the photons arrival location, when being reflected forth and back by the multiple mirrors of type Mb as used in the MMe (see Figure 22, extracted from the publication of Michelson and Morley) which will render the analysis much more complex when compared to just one single mirror type Mb.
As a result, in the MMe experiment, the considered shift could well have influenced the outcome of that MMe experiment since such a shift could have been at least 2 mm from the fact that the total photon travelling distance within the MMe set-up was about 20 m (as can be determined from the information within the publication of Michelson and Morley). Moreover, the large number of mirrors in Figure 22 needed to be fine tuned by Michelson and Morley at the start of the experiment (rotation angle zero degrees). Those multiple reflecting mirrors were of course each set at a small off-angle in order to be able to bounce both “rays of light” forth and back multiple times in order to return them to the detector. It is expected that the shift of 2 mm could have been drastically amplified by the photon shift (from the effect as presented in Figures 2, 3 and 4) and the small, but extremely important and ruining deflecting potential, of the off-angle setting of each reflection mirror during the rotation (towards an angle of 90 degrees) of the heavy stone table, floating on a wooden ring on mercury, and on which the mirrors were mounted. In such case, one of both “rays” could well have strongly deviated and NOT (or only very partly) have hit the detector during the turning of the set-up and therefore the inference could have failed from the self-induced misalignment (signal run away by the many mirrors) and thus loss of one of the signals at the detector.
In the case of the wave approach, the supporters of that paradigm will argue that the reflection by an inclined and moving mirror Ma can be modeled through the inference of waves and that the reflection of light, as a result of the wave character, will not be in the perfect y-direction. Those supporters of the wave paradigm then of course need to prove for the laser pulse which is reflected by Ma towards Mb will travel towards the moving mirror Mb in such a way that the pulse will arrive precisely at the midpoint “b” of Mb, for whatever velocity v. Such analysis is also not the subject of this website but should be presented by the supporters of the wave paradigm. If they then would fail, as is expected, by using the wave concept to prove that the laser pulse exactly arrives in the midpoint of Mb for whatever value of the velocity v and then arrive to the conclusion that the arrival point of the reflected light at the surface of Mb is indeed depending on the value and direction of the vector of v, they then of course :
- will need to admit also that their wave based model would indicate that it is indeed possible to measure absolute velocity from the shifts of the arrival position of the light signal at Mb !
- also understand that the MMe definitely needs to be re-evaluated with respect to the trajectory of the light being reflected from the mirror Mb since moreover in the MMe multiple mirrors type Mb were used
Therefore, the aspects as described on this website regarding the effect as presented in Figures 2, 3 and 4 should be taken into account in an analysis, by the supporters of both paradigms and such either through a theoretical analysis or either through experiments.