9 Answers

  1. Air or any elastic matter is a medium for the propagation of sound waves. In the absence of such a medium (in a vacuum), sound does not propagate. More than two centuries ago, the carrier medium of an electromagnetic wave (light) was called ether, and electric and magnetic fields were identified with the mechanical stresses of the ether.�

    Faraday was skeptical of the ether and expressed uncertainty about its existence, whereas�Maxwell, Umov, and Helmholtz considered ether to be a carrier of light, electricity, and magnetism.Henri Poincare believed that the ether exists, but in principle cannot be detected. N. Tesla was also a great adherent of the aether theory, and even tried to extract energy from the aether.

    However, by the beginning of the 20th century, a huge number of unsolvable problems related to the properties of the ether had accumulated (experiments of Michelson, Morley, etc.), and only Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (SRT) completely abolished the concept of the ether and eliminated all the contradictions and problems that had accumulated up to that time.

    From the modern point of view, an electromagnetic wave is a self-sufficient physical object, does not need a special carrier medium, and propagates in a vacuum at the speed of light. The main reason why the concept of ether was rejected was the fact that this concept turned out to be superfluous after the development of the SRT. The last argument was the discovery of the quantum nature of the electromagnetic field, which is incompatible with the hypothesis of a continuous ether.

  2. As such, there is no unified theory of the ether. By ether, different theorists understood and still understand very different substances. For some, they are material, for others-not. But what unites all the theories of the ether is the fact that all interactions in nature are transmitted through some intermediate medium, which is called the ether.

    If we pay attention to the way Maxwell's equations were derived, for example, it becomes clear that he proceeded precisely from continuum mechanics. He took as his basis the works of Helmholtz for an ideal incompressible fluid. I.e., he studied the mechanics of the ether.

    The Lorentz transformations that exist in the theory of relativity were obtained some time before Einstein in the theory of the fixed Lorentz ether. There are many other examples of the success of the “Ether theory”approaches.

    But almost all of these results do not have any clear unified methodology, and therefore solve only specific questions. And for this reason, they cannot claim to be a full-fledged theory.

  3. When the wave nature of light was established, the question arose: what is the medium of these vibrations? In this regard, the concept of “light-bearing ether “was introduced, as a kind of thin elastic matter like gas, which permeates everything and serves as a medium for the propagation of light. Then the theory was developed and the ether became a medium for the propagation of electromagnetic vibrations in general and gravity (which also had nowhere else to stick).

    The problems started right away, since studying the properties of EM vibrations led to the fact that along the way restrictions were created on the properties of ether as a medium for their propagation. These restrictions turned out to be intuitively very contradictory-the ether behaved simultaneously as a solid and a rarefied gas, as a medium with enormous elasticity and as a medium with negligible density, etc. All this led to the creation of very complex theories of the ether with very advanced mathematics (which almost all later came in handy, since although the ether was hypothetical, the EM vibrations themselves were quite real).�

    The crucial difficulty was the immobility of the ether. The fact is that the ether, as a light gas-like substance, would have to be carried away by the movement of massive bodies, currents and turbulences would arise in it, which are observed in gases and liquids. However, all experiments pointed to the opposite – to the immobility of the ether. As a result, to explain the experimental data, Lorentz came up with the idea that the ether (due to its “subtlety”) is practically stationary, but at the same time, if it does move in special cases, then the length of any body is reduced in the direction of its movement, so such movement is almost impossible to detect experimentally. This described the observations very well, but it was, in fact, the end of the ether, since all these equations and descriptions exactly repeated the conclusions obtained from Einstein's theory of relativity proposed a little later. Both Lorentz transformations and length contraction followed from this theory, but the ether itself turned out to be superfluous. In this regard, the concept of ether was abandoned, since its own hypothetical properties were contradictory, and it was unnecessary to explain the effects of the propagation of EM vibrations.

  4. The theory of the medium that carries light and radio waves, by analogy with the theory of a continuous medium for the propagation of sound waves in air, waves on water, and so on.
    Ether theories from Huygens and Fresnel to Maxwell and Faraday laid the foundations of the sciences.
    Sources of an educational or encyclopedic nature, as a rule, deny the existence of ether. I can't identify the scientific (scientific article) source of this denial – let the commentators tell me if you need a screen corresponding to the place of the article. University professors and various specialists can be supporters of various etheric theories in practice, books are published on this topic and seminars are held (in particular, at the Polytechnic Museum and at Moscow State University).

  5. It's morning, and I'm too lazy to go through my books. Therefore, the most general answer is that the aether theory is one of many variants of the THEORY of EVERYTHING, i.e., a theory that combines the interactions of all the forces and energies of the cosmos known to us. Almost all scientists have tried to create it since the Soviet era… once, they called her by different names and looked at her differently, approached her, walked away, but they didn't come up with anything clever. Ether, apeiron-each named the primordial substance, the primordial energy, what is the unifying principle, and each subsequent smartass refuted the previous one, and came up with his own, basically the same, but named in his own way. Now science is in stagnation – the terms are over, and they are already coming up with all sorts of nonsense, like multiverses, maybe something will suddenly turn out to be true.

  6. The existence of an “ether” (or several different “ethers”) is a physical HYPOTHESIS, which ultimately leads to the following:NOT CONFIRMED. The ether itself is an invisible and imperceptible substance that supposedly fills the entire space (or, alternatively, that part of space where there is no ordinary substance).

    The idea of ether was used for the following reasons (one or several at once)::

    1. because of the speculative philosophical idea that there is no absolute emptiness in nature;
    2. as a special substance that serves to transmit long-range interaction (for example, gravitational) through space that is not filled with matter;
    3. as a special substance, a change in the properties of which affects the propagation of light particles in its corpuscular theory and helps explain some effects (diffraction and refraction of light, for example);
    4. as a special substance, the vibrations of which (longitudinal or transverse) are electromagnetic waves (and light, in particular) – like the vibrations of ordinary matter generate mechanical waves.
      Sometimes the existence of different types of ether was assumed – to explain different effects, interactions, and waves.

    The idea of the ether was abandoned because it was unproductive: all the actually observed phenomena could be explained in other ways, and the expected consequences of the” existence ” of the ether (“ether wind”, for example) couldn't be detected experimentally.

    • According to claim 1 – there was no real reason to believe in this idea beyond interactions and / or waves.
    • According to claim 2 , the theory of gravitational interaction by means of “ether”has not been developed in any clear and productive way (predicting some new experimentally confirmed effects). Einstein's general relativity explained the nature of gravity in a different way (without ether), and the contradictions between general relativity and quantum physics are not eliminated by the revival of the idea of ether.
    • According to claim 3, the ether helped to eliminate the problems of the classical corpuscular theory of light with the explanation of the phenomena of diffraction and refraction, complementing the theory with the idea of different densities of the ether in different regions of space. They say that the density of ether affects the speed of movement of corpuscles-hence the different speed of light in different substances (and different speeds lead to refraction at the interface). And diffraction, they say, is also associated with the variable density of the ether and the variable velocity of corpuscles due to it. But after the discovery of the phenomenon of light interference, the corpuscular theory died, and its “ethereal” crutch became unnecessary.
    • According to claim 4, the ether was first “needed” by theorists as a carrier of the” wave ” of light. After explaining electromagnetic waves based on Maxwell's equations, this need disappeared. Instead, the ether was “adjusted” to explain the Lorentz transformations in classical electrodynamics, which make it possible to change the coordinate system without changing the form of Maxwell's equations. They say that the ether has such properties and affects light in such a way that it seems as if distances and time become relative for light. Creation of the Einstein SRT (Special Relativity theory: this is like general relativity without the curvature of space-time and without gravity) made the “ether” hypothesis unnecessary in this role: in different reference systems, distances and time REALLY differ – and not only for electromagnetic waves, but for all objects.
      So, the ether is no longer needed to EXPLAIN anything. But maybe it actually exists “on its own”? Unfortunately, no direct evidence of the interaction of ether with matter or the electromagnetic field has been found. This means that the “ether” does not interact with anything that actually exists and cannot be adapted to “explain” something unexplained in other ways that are more logical and productive (Maxwell's equations, SRT, GR). So why is it needed and why should one believe in its existence? If something (ether, or god, or a hypothetical teapot_For example, it does not manifest itself in any way, so this something, most likely, does not exist at all.

      • *

    But a certain ANALOG of the late “ether” later appeared in quantum field theory. Only this is no longer something completely unknown (not “ether”), but all the same elementary particles (photons, electrons, positrons, etc.), butVIRTUAL (appearing for a short time out of nothing-in violation of the law of conservation of energy-and almost immediately disappearing). Like the” ether”, virtual particles that fill the entire space cannot be DIRECTLY observed. Like ether, they areserve as a carrier of interaction (and all types of interactions, or – almost all types, except – possibly – gravitational) But, unlike the ether, the hypothesis of the existence of virtual particles not only allowed us to explain something in hindsight, but also predicted many new effects, most of which were confirmed experimentally. (The latest in time was the scattering of photons on photons, experimentally recorded only this year, and theoretically predicted as much as 70 years ago!) Therefore, there is no reason to doubt the REALITY of these “virtual” particles.

  7. Ether could not be detected in a large number of experiments. They are still being held at a new level of quality, with the same result. AND THEN she explained a lot of things that were later confirmed experimentally. Now physics is building a model of the world, completely abandoning the idea of the ether (well, just as Occam bequeathed it) with the help of mathematics, a very large amount of mathematics, as Einstein said: “Since mathematicians started working on the theory of relativity, I no longer understand it myself.”
    But if the introduction of an object makes it easier to understand, then there is a physical vacuum. 🙂
    The broadcast will return, just in a new quality.

  8. From the point of view of the concept itself (antiquity: “void filler” of the cosmos), if we draw a parallel with quantum field theory with some degree of convention-yes, there is. It is called a vacuum in physics. In short , virtual particles are constantly being born and annihilated in a physical vacuum at an incredible speed, the so-called zero field fluctuations. There are many theories of the vacuum, but they do not all assume the vacuum to be an “absolute void”. However, ether had other definitions that were more distant from the one described above.

  9. Well, we can't really talk about something with much confidence. But adult uncles scientists look at other uncles broadcasting about the air (often not related to science, pay attention to this) with caution. So don't listen to them, don't.

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