On this page we will detail the numerous arguments and observations put forward against the aether-wave-rotation model of light and electromagnetism.
‘There is no aether’
This conclusion is initially based on the failure of the Michelson-Morley experiment, discussed here, and the lack of coherence in the physical model offered by Maxwell, discussed and amended here.
The failure of Michelson-Morley was not definitive. There were two plausible alternative explanations, though neither was considered attractive at the time:
Alternatively, motion through the aether could cause the electromagnetic separation between atoms to change (as it is still believed the individual electromagnetic fields are altered by motion). Lorentz showed that this was consistent with his theories of electromagnetism and the mathematical transformation he originated, but it was considered too much of a coincidence that this should be of exactly the right magnitude to hide the aether.
These will be reconsidered here after the new model has been extended.
‘Light can be detected only once’
Grangier and colleagues created a source of individual light emissions, fed these through a bi-prism, and looked for correlations between the two detectors. What they observed was a degree of ‘anti-correlation’ (reduced correlation), though this effect was imperfect, partial. The effect was also considered by Clauser and colleagues.
Both groups concluded that this shows that a single photon can only be detected once.
My re-analysis is that their result rules out single wave emissions only if those emissions are symmetrical and can be expected to pass equally through the two prisms to the two detectors in all cases.
Rather than ruling out wave light entirely, this result has delineated the nature of the wave emissions, and so serves to hone the new model.
It is worth noting that Hanford-Brown and Twiss considered that they had multiply detected single emissions from Sirius, and maintained this conclusion amid the critical firestorm it engendered.
Single emission technology, invented to demonstrate that light is a particle, was subsequently used by Krausz to demonstrate that light is a wave and to detail its wave structure. As an additional benefit, Krausz’ work gives the lie to the principled objection that we can never see ‘inside’ the photon.
The work of Bell and Aspect (immediately following) is based on single events that are detected more than once. In a wave model, that single event can be considered a single emission of a Krausz wave, rather than an unusual double emission of particles. This is also true of the basic emissions in work on entanglement.
Proofs of the non-existence of ‘hidden variables’
The initial ‘proof’ by John von Neumann was a highly mathematical paper, 30 pages long. It stood for three decades until 1964, when John S. Bell pointed out a flaw, in that one of von Neumann’s assumptions was wrong.
Bell’s ‘proof’ is much simpler, but by 1964 it was well established that light was essentially a particle, and so Bell’s theorem, as it came to be known, compared realist particles to the predictions of the Schrödinger equation. Alain Aspect’s experimental observations supported the latter and showed that the former was untenable. Bell and Aspect therefore eliminated only models of light that behaved like realist particles.
John Clauser extended Bell’s work, creating ever more sophisticated mathematical formulations. He used the anti-correlation methods of Grangier alongside methods and arguments from studies of ‘entanglement’.
The problem with this latter is that entanglement assumes that light is essentially a particle. Why this is inappropriate is that the common observation that two detections of a single event display linked properties is challenging for particle emissions, but mundane if that emission is a wave.
David Bohm earlier suggested that light was composed of particles and travelled with an associated wave that created the characteristic interference and diffraction effect. His ‘carrier wave’ model is a hidden variable theory that is widely accepted to work, but not accepted as true.
Additionally, the wave nature of light is not a ‘hidden variable’ if it can be observed.
‘Duality is an observational fact’
Interference effects have been reliably observed with objects that are clearly particles in this new model, in that they travel at speeds much slower than light.
This is the trickiest observation for the aether-wave-rotation model to explain.
A realist explanation for this is available. It requires that we assume that when the particles are set in motion, then waves are also produced; also that these waves influence the arrival of the particles. The latter element of this effect we know to be true from the work of Krausz.
This is a similar idea to the carrier wave theory of David Bohm (immediately above) but differs in that light in the Esau James model travels at its natural speed, and therefore independently of the particles and at a different speed. The particles’ trajectories are influenced by the wave, as if ‘surfing’.
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