V.3 No 1


Notice on physical Absolute


Notes on physical Absolute


Sergey B. Karavashkin and Olga N. Karavashkina

Special Laboratory for Fundamental Elaboration SELF

187 apt., 38 bldg., Prospect Gagarina, 38, Kharkov 61140, Ukraine

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Basing on the analysis of theoretical construction and experimental results, this paper shows that Mach's debunking the Newtonian "Absolute" originated the new Einsteinian "absolute" in the form of Minkowski 4D space-time metric which has caused only the primitivism in physics and impeded its development.

In fact, relation between the Absolute and Relative is determined by the permanently moving edge of our knowledge and necessity in some basic reference frame which would allow us to generalise in the utmost correct way our particular results of studying the physical phenomena. So at every stage of physics development, the concept of the absolute reference frame reflects the highest level of knowledge of the stage. At the today level it would be quite admissible to use, as an approach to the absolute reference system, some system related to the aether in the surrounding us near space.

Keywords: Philosophy of physics, theoretical physics, relativity, absolute reference frame.

Classification by PASC 2001: 01.70.+w; 04.20.-q; 04.20.Cv; 04.20.Gz


1. Rejecting the Newtonian Absolute …

Many centuries the controversy lasts among the adherents and antagonists of material space, and the central place takes the issue of primary postulates on which the basic conception of the universe should be grounded. This issue in its turn reduces to the philosophical concept of Absolute.

The philosophical concept of absolute usually relates to the idealistic philosophy. We all know the definitions like this:

"ABSOLUTE (of Latin 'absolutus' - unambiguous) is the concept of idealistic philosophy to designate the eternal, infinite, unambiguous, perfect and invariable subject which is 'self-sufficient', dependent on nothing other; it contains all existent inside itself and creates it. Absolute for the religion is god; Fichte calls it 'Me'; Hegel in his philosophy designates it as the world sense (absolute spirit), Schopengower - as the volition, Bergson - as intuition. The dialectical materialism rejects such ideas of the absolute as unscientific" [Philosophic dictionary: 1].

This and such like definitions contain the basic mistake caused by the blinded attitude of all philosophers to their own conceptions. The idea of absolute is similar to the well-known idea of philosophical stone. All authors of known philosophical conceptions, physical and mathematical theories try relying on some 'Absolute' to solid the underpinning of their creations. It seems to them (and this came from such depths of history as Greeks) that, postulating some eternal and invariable subject, they are formulating the theory of EVERYTHING.

Newton defined the absolute space as follows:

"The absolute space in its very essence is absolute to whatever external and remains always the same and immovable. The relative is its measure or some limited movable part which is determined by our senses by its position relatively some bodies and which in the everyday life is taken as an immovable space … By their appearance and size the absolute and relative spaces are the same, but numerically they stay alike not always " [Newton: 2].

E. Mach has constructed his debunk of Newton on the following Newton's remark:

"… Thus, instead the absolute locations and motions, those relative are used; in the everyday matters this does not make an inconvenience, in philosophical issues we have to distract from sensations. It may appear that in fact there does not exist a body at rest to which we could relate the locations and motions of others…" [Newton: 2].

E. Mach in his "Mechanics" writes so:

"There hardly is a necessity to mark here that in the above considerations Newton changes his intention to study only the physical. Anyone can tell nothing of absolute motion, this is something only thinkable, undetectable by our experience. All our principal laws of mechanics are … the data of experience of relative locations and motions of bodies. We should not and could not take them without verification in the areas in which they have been currently accepted correct. No one may extend these laws validity beyond the limits of experience. Such extension would be senseless, as no one could find, how to apply it" [Mach: 3, chapter 11, item 6].

Developing the Mach's conception, Einstein, having left the absolute space, came to another absolute - to the constant velocity of light, and in this order he had to exclude the aether from his phenomenological conception:

"The examples of such kind, as well as unsuccessful attempts to detect the Earth's motion relatively the 'luminiferous medium' cause the supposition that not only in mechanics but in electrodynamics too no properties of phenomena correspond to the concept of absolute rest - even more, to the supposition that for all co-ordinate systems where the mechanical equations are true, the same electrodynamic and optic laws are true, as it has been already proved for the first-order values. We intend to turn this supposition (whose content we will further call 'the relativity principle') into a premise and, besides, to make an additional assumption that only seemingly contradicts this first, namely that the light in a void always propagates at a definite velocity v independent of the state of motion of the radiating body. … It will be excessive to introduce with it the 'luminiferous aether', since the suggested theory does not introduce the 'space in absolute rest' having some special properties, as well as we attribute any vector of velocity to no point of the void space in which the electromagnetic processes occur" [Einstein: 4].

Thus, Mach's attempts to leave the absolute gave rise through Einstein to another absolute, which probably became just the principal reason, why Mach has renounced the Einstein's conception. Furthermore, when formulating the new absolute, Einstein has violated the Mach's restriction of experimentally observable phenomena being his basis in renouncing the Newton's absolute space.

Actually, in the above citation Einstein indicated as the substantiation some "unsuccessful attempts to detect the Earth's motion relatively the 'luminiferous medium' ". However, which experiments he meant? Weren't they Michelson-Morley's? But by the R.S. Shankland's evidence,

"When I was interested, how got he knowing the Michelson - Morley experiments, he told, this occurred due to the H.A. Lorentz' papers ([5] and many later papers), but only after 1905. 'Otherwise, he said, I would mention him in my paper.' He said, the observations of star aberration [6], [7] and Fizeau's measurements [8] of the light velocity in the moving water took on him the most effect. 'That was enough', he said" [9; 4 February 1950].

The matter is, the experiments mentioned by Einstein were not negative in the view of classical physics!

In particular, R.W. Pohl in his lectures [10, chapter IX, item 81] begins explaining the star aberration, describing the water waves aberration, and then simply uses the formula as an application to EM waves. With it Mandelschtam writes, this phenomenon was discovered and explained by J. Bredley in 1728, i.e. long before the Relativity:

"Bredley shared the view of Newton's corpuscular optics, and the newly discovered phenomenon - the aberration of light - perfectly went into this theory. Actually, we can observe the alike phenomenon from the railway carriage window when rainy drops fall, for example " [Mandelschtam: 11, The first lecture, p. 88].

So the star aberration has no concern to the drag of aether, not counting an attempt of Stokes to explain this phenomenon again. Namely to this the Airy's experiment with the telescope filled of water was concerned, and it showed the Stokes' premises incorrect. But that experiment concerned only to the Stokes' theory. The fact of the Earth's motion relatively to the aether has been fully corroborated by Bredley's experiments and calculations.

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