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May 17, 1999

Questioning Relativity

Some Places to Start

Readers of Earlier Postings will know that I have long been intrigued by the several decidedly non-crankish schools that have emerged questioning the generally promulgated Special Relativity Theory (SRT) and urging the Establishment to give more open-minded consideration to some of the alternatives being proposed. While these alternatives may differ in their conclusions as to the exact form a better theory should take, they agree that other interpretations exist which:

  • account equally well for the observations conventionally explained by SRT
  • are mathematically and conceptually simpler
  • are more powerful predictively
  • avoid contradictions of the kind shown to apply with SRT

(The usual rejoinder, that SRT is verified daily in thousands of laboratories the world over by the demonstration of mass-energy equivalence, mass dependency on velocity, and "time dilation" (more correctly, the slowing down of clocks), is invalid. These effects are not unique predictions of SRT, anymore than planetary orbits were unique to Ptolemaic epicycles. They can be derived independently, without appealing to the Einstein theory.)

A number of people have written to ask if I could suggest any introductory materials to that side of the subject. It's difficult to give a comprehensive answer, since a lot of my own inputs are from obscure references and journals, and private correspondence or discussions. Below, however, is a selection of more generally accessible sources that should make a good start.

Rethinking Relativity by Tom Bethell. Article in the April 1999 issue of The American Spectator. Highly readable basic introduction going into why gravity must propagate at least 20 billion times faster than light; how "time" doesn't really dilate—it's the clocks—and GPS satellites working just fine, without the corrections that SRT says ought to be necessary.

Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets: Paradoxes Resolved, Origins Illuminated by Tom Van Flandern, 514 pp. Trade paperback. Published by North Atlantic Books, Berkely, CA. Also concludes that gravity must propagate much faster than light. Doesn't so much propose a new theory, however, as highlight the problems with SRT as it stands and discusses grounds for extending it. Also, as the title implies, rich with fascintating excursions into the realms of quantum mechanics, astronomy, and cosmology.

Galilean Electrodynamics. A journal specializing in SRT-dissidence and related issues, its slogan: "Experience, Reason, and Simplicity Above Authority." Baseline 6 issues per year, plus special issues. Subscription information dwhitney@mit.edu. Cumulative index available at http://www.eternalchaos.com/galicont.html

Einstein Plus Two, by Dr. Peter Beckmann, 212 pp. hardback. Taking the velocity that matters as being that with respect not to the observer but to the local gravitational field, develops a theory that is in accord with experimental data, and in addition is able to derive the electron spacings of the hydrogen atom, Titius series of planetary orbits, and the Schroedinger equation. See Archives for details posted previously.

Escape from Einstein by Ronald Hatch, 232 pp. (Available from Pacific Meridian Publishing Co., 13540 39th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98125.) I haven't read this one yet but have corresponded with Ron Hatch, who is a GPS consultant, over some years. Develops an "Ether Gauge Theory" in which the velocity of light is again constant with respect to the gravitational field. The gravitational force results from compression of the revised concept of "ether," and the electric field emerges as an oscillating gravity field.

A New Theory on the Behaviour of Light, by A.G. Kelly, Monograph No. 2, The Institution of Engineers of Ireland, February 1996. Also a modern "ether" theory.

Field Distortion Theory (FDT). Physics Essays, Volume 9, Number 3, 1996, pp. 393-418. Proposes a theory in which the Galilean transformations hold, compatible with the experimental data that appear to support SRT. In the dynamics of light propagation, the electrical field around a source moving through a gravitational field experiences an aerodynamic-like distortion, which underlies the phenomenon of inertial mass. An increase in the mass of a system will result in a slowing down of the time that the system keeps, provided that the forces governing the system are not mass-dependent. Copies of the paper can also be obtained from the author, Steve Dinowitz, at dinowitzs@ul.com

Dr. George J. Marklin
A collection of informative and lucidly argued papers on Relativity and the Ether. Available at http://www.flash.net/~marklin

Heretical Verities: Mathematical Themes In Physical Description by Thomas E. Phipps, Jr. 1986

ISBN 0-9606540-0-7 637 pp. Hardback. Classic Non-fiction Library, Urbana, IL

A progressive treatment of relativistic kinematics, then electromagnetics, then relativistic electromagnetism, at every step rigorously insisting on the pre-eminence of empirical experimental fact over theoretical models and assumptions. Extract: "Keep mathematics in its place as a means of rough sketching . . . and it becomes a powerful and efficient servant. Let mathematics begin to convey 'insight' into 'physical reality' and it becomes a powerful and ruthless tyrant."

Newton Versus Einstein by Peter Graneau and Neal Graneau

ISBN 0-8062-4514-X 219 pp. Hardback. Carlton Press, New York, NY. Available from CFT Inc., POB 2816, Concord NH 03302-2816

Again, assigning more importance to empirical facts than theoretical dogma, asserts that a long series of experiments relating to quantum mechanics and and classical electrodynamics makes an eventual return to Newtonian physics virtually inevitable.

Newtonian Electrodynamics by Peter Graneau and Neal Graneau

ISBN 981-02-2284-X 981-02-2681-0 paperback. 287 pp. World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore; Suite 1B, 1060 Main Street, River Edge NJ, USA; 57 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9HE, U.K.

Shows how the Newtonian electrodynamics developed primarily by Ampère, Neumann, and Kirchoff provides more complete insights into electrical effects than the relativistic field theory of Maxwell, Lorentz, and Enstein, and ultimately promises to furnish a closer comprehension of physical reality.

 
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