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January 2, 2005

Electromagnetic Regardation & Relativity

Two Jefimenko Books

Commenting on the Relativity section in Kicking the Sacred Cow, Jeffrey Kooistra, who writes reviews and columns for Analog magazine, wrote well of the piece but would have liked to see it include reference to the work of Oleg D. Jefimenko, Professor of Physics at the University of West Virginia. Two of Jefimenko's works that he cited as particularly relevant were Causality, Electromagnetic Induction, and Gravitation and Electromagnetic Retardation and the Theory of Relativity. So we've done the next best thing and added them to The Heretics' Bookstore on this site.

Since electric and magnetic fields propagate with finite velocity, there must always be a time delay before a change in electromagnetic conditions at one point in space can result in changes at another. Although this would appear fundamental, the equations of electromagnetism are not usually expressed in a form that acknowledges this. Starting from such causal considerations, Jefimenko argues essentially that, contrary to the generally accepted view, time-varying electric and magnetic fields cannot cause each other; the true, simultaneous source of both lies in time-varying charges and currents. These causal dependencies can be expressed as solutions to Maxwell's equations in the form of retarded electric and magnetic field integrals, which relate to momentum conservation and result in an extension of conventional gravitational theory. A second, "cogravitational" field -- first predicted by Heavyside -- is implied, relating to the gravitational field proper in a way similar to that in which the magnetic field relates to the electric field. This leads to a force law that depends not only on the masses and separations of the interacting bodies but also on their velocities and accelerations.

Generalizing Newtonian gravitation to time-varying systems gives a causal formulation that reproduces all of Einstein's equations without recourse to the postulates of Relativity at all. "Time dilation," for example, turns out to be not an observer-dependent percept, but a real, physical effect whereby moving clocks run slower. Yes, we know that experimental results reported for the best part of a century have been consistent with Relativity's predictions. But when the same results are equally compatible with a simpler principle that derives from physical basics, one can't help but wonder if the orthodox approach is based on needless complications.

Jefimenko's treatment of electromagnetic retardation is reminiscent of Petr Beckmann's field-referred theory, which again is compatible with all the experimental results conventionally interpreted as "proving" Relativity, derived by allowing for the charge-field distortions of a particle in motion. Gravitation as an electromagnetic effect is featured in the work of Dr. Andre Assis, also mentioned in an earlier posting.

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