THE FABRIC OF SPACE
Einstein’s greatest achievement, proof for the fabric of space in general relativity, known as the dielectric of the vacuum in electronics and called continuum by Einstein in his inaugural lecture at Leyden University in 1920, is a neglected concept (while Einstein’s proof for the properties of the fabric of space is theoretical, Ivor Catt and others developed experimental proof while working with sampling oscilloscopes and pulse generators on the electromagnetic interconnection of IC’s). Notice that air pressure is 10 tons per square metre but people don’t ridicule that they can’t feel the 14.7 pounds per square inch.
‘You sometimes speak of gravity as essential & inherent to matter; pray do not ascribe that notion to me, for ye cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know, & therefore would take more time to consider of it… That gravity should be innate inherent & essential to matter so yt one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum wthout the mediation of any thing else by & through wch their action or force may be conveyed from one to another is to me so great an absurdity ...’ – Isaac Newton, Letter to Richard Bentley, 1693.
‘But if, meanwhile, someone explains gravity along with all its laws by the action of some subtle matter, and shows that the motion of planets and comets will not be disturbed by this matter, I shall be far from objecting.’ – Isaac Newton, Letter to Leibniz, 1693.
‘To deny the ether is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever... Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity, space is endowed with physical qualities... therefore there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable.’ – Albert Einstein, Leyden University, 1920. (Einstein, A., Sidelights on Relativity, Dover, New York, 1952, pp. 15, 16, and 23.)
‘The Michelson-Morley experiment has thus failed to detect our motion through the aether, because the effect looked for – the delay of one of the light waves – is exactly compensated by an automatic contraction of the matter forming the apparatus.’ – Professor A.S. Eddington, MA, MSc, FRS (Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, Cambridge), Space Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1921, p. 20.
‘The idealised physical reference object, which is implied in current quantum theory, is a fluid permeating all space like an aether.’ – Sir Arthur Eddington, MA, DSc, LLD, FRS, Relativity Theory of Protons and Electrons, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1936, p. 180.
‘Looking back at the development of physics, we see that the ether, soon after its birth, became the enfant terrible of the family of physical substances. First, the construction of a simple mechanical picture of the ether proved to be impossible and was discarded. This caused to a great extent the breakdown of the mechanical point of view. Second, we have to give up the hope that through the presence of the ether sea, one co-ordinate system will be distinguished and lead to the recognition of absolute and not only relative motion. … After such bad experiences, this is the moment to forget the ether completely and to try never to mention its name. We shall say our space has the physical property of transmitting waves and so omit the use of a word we have decided to avoid. The omission of a word from our vocabulary is of course no remedy; the troubles are indeed much too profound to be solved in this way. Let us now write down the facts which have been sufficiently confirmed by experiment without bothering any more about the ‘e---r’ problem.’ – Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, Evolution of Physics, 1938, pp. 184-5; written to get Jewish Infeld out of Nazi Germany and accepted as a worthy refugee in America. (Einstein was against ether in 1905 to wide praise from politicians, because ether had bogged physics down in speculation, but then in his inaugural lecture at Leyden in 1920 Einstein said ‘According to the general theory of relativity, space without ether is unthinkable’, and in 1938 conceded defeat at the e---r word!)
‘… with the new theory of electrodynamics we are rather forced to have an aether.’ – P.A.M. Dirac, ‘Is There an Aether?,’ Nature, v.168, 1951, p.906. See also Dirac’s paper in Proc. Roy. Soc. v.A209, 1951, p.291.
‘It has been supposed that empty space has no physical properties but only geometrical properties. No such empty space without physical properties has ever been observed, and the assumption that it can exist is without justification. It is convenient to ignore the physical properties of space when discussing its geometrical properties, but this ought not to have resulted in the belief in the possibility of the existence of empty space having only geometrical properties... It has specific inductive capacity and magnetic permeability.’ - Professor H.A. Wilson, FRS, Modern Physics, Blackie & Son Ltd, London, 4th ed., 1959, p. 361.
‘Scientists have thick skins. They do not abandon a theory merely because facts contradict it. They normally either invent some rescue hypothesis to explain what they then call a mere anomaly or, if they cannot explain the anomaly, they ignore it, and direct their attention to other problems. Note that scientists talk about anomalies, recalcitrant instances, not refutations. History of science, of course, is full of accounts of how crucial experiments allegedly killed theories. But such accounts are fabricated long after the theory had been abandoned. ... What really count are dramatic, unexpected, stunning predictions: a few of them are enough to tilt the balance; where theory lags behind the facts, we are dealing with miserable degenerating research programmes.
‘Now, how do scientific revolutions come about? If we have two rival research programmes, and one is progressing while the other is degenerating, scientists tend to join the progressive programme. This is the rationale of scientific revolutions. ... Criticism is not a Popperian quick kill, by refutation. Important criticism is always constructive: there is no refutation without a better theory. Kuhn is wrong in thinking that scientific revolutions are sudden, irrational changes in vision. The history of science refutes both Popper and Kuhn: on close inspection both Popperian crucial experiments and Kuhnian revolutions turn out to be myths: what normally happens is that progressive research programmes replace degenerating ones.’ - Imre Lakatos, Science and Pseudo-Science, pages 96-102 of Godfrey Vesey (editor), Philosophy in the Open, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, 1974.
‘All charges are surrounded by clouds of virtual photons, which spend part of their existence dissociated into fermion-antifermion pairs. The virtual fermions with charges opposite to the bare charge will be, on average, closer to the bare charge than those virtual particles of like sign. Thus, at large distances, we observe a reduced bare charge due to this screening effect.’ – I. Levine, D. Koltick, et al., Physical Review Letters, v.78, 1997, no.3, p.424.