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(I've got to support my research
somehow and this ^ is how I do it.)

Why an Aether?

Its almost a commonly known fact that the aether was disproven by an experiment done almost one hundred years ago, by a couple of physicists whom we know as Michelson and Morely (see "Is the Speed of Light Constant"  ). Given that, An obvious question might be then, "why should we re-visit this idea?". There are a few reasons why we should.

The first point I should make is that the aether theory that was disproven by the Michelson and Moreley experiment was that conceived by 19th century physicists.    This only means the first aether conception was wrong, not that there is no aether.

Furthermore, new scientific research is a process of "turning over stones". We are simply not smart enough to know which ‘stones to turn’ or what we will find underneath. Sometimes we can find things of interest , most times not -- but, sometimes you get "spin-offs".

When it comes to basic research it is unfortunately hard to guess at any kind of a return on investment. The Michelson and Morley experiment is one example of an unexpected ROI. They were doing basic research – just doing the sweeping – after all the great discoveries had finally been made. They were measuring the drift velocity of the earth through the aether. Every physicist expected that the Michelson and Morley experiment (because of the extremely precise Michelson Interferometer) would give some number for the earth’s drift velocity through the aether. This number was the expected ROI. Instead they found no drift velocity whatsoever. In fact, if we were to use their results to calculate the velocity of the earth with respect to the aether we would have to say that the earth is at absolute rest – not even orbiting the sun!. This was far more interesting and valuable than the expected ROI. They found ‘gold’ – a new principle – a new physical law. … "the speed of light is constant for all frames."

With this new law, physics took a very unexpected turn. This find was one of the key ingredients to today’s modern physics. It gave Einstein the foundation upon which all of his work was built. And this gives us another observation… As the turn of the century was approaching, physicists believed that physics was nearly done. This turned out to be wrong – way wrong. This is a pattern in science history. In fact, it is not too far off to state this as a principle, that "established science is often wrong".

The obvious questions we can ask though are "How is it wrong?", and "When will the next revolution take place?". These questions are kind of like asking "How many ‘stones must you turn’ until you find the next physical law?". The question is beyond analysis. It seems that the only way to find that next principle is to continue to "turn-stones".

When it comes to space (and the aether), though, we don’t want to be silly. Assertions like "space is pudding", aren’t going to take us anywhere (well…, there might be some comedy there?). Instead, we make educated guesses about what is out there. Einstein spent years struggling with the structure and content of space. He felt that the basis for a unified field theory was hidden out there. That was his educated guess. I believe he was right and I share his educated guess.

The aether, to me, is just a label for "the structure and content of space". Call it a sea of virtual particles, or the vacuum. These are just labels, and they are fuzzy ones too. Where we need to focus, in my opinion, is in representing the deep structures of the universe. That is, we need some clear thinking about what it is we are trying to represent and how. This is the focus of my theory.

When I started my theory, I had no intention of proving anything. I was just fooling around with some ideas about existence and non-existence. What emerged was, essentially, an "aether theory". But, there are some spin-offs from my theory. (see: "Are There Aether Atoms?"   gives you a preview)

One of these spin-offs is a model for physical distance – a ruler distance. You can compare this with a metric distance. The ruler distance is far far simpler – as are its constraints. I’ve used this model to arrive at a generic field equation in just a few steps. You simply can’t do this with a metric distance.

The ruler distance is isn’t just a new distance formula. It is a way of thinking about distance. It is a new principle. A theory developed using a ruler distance is almost self verifying. Why? Because, it is axiomatic. That is, it makes physics more like mathematics. You can construct theorems and proofs. Of course, if your proofs are correct, and an experiment gives conflicting results, then you have to question the validity of the experiment or the axioms (this is a good thing). If you can find a way to challenge ‘measured distance’, then you have a way of pulling the floor out from underneath all of physics (including mine) – past and present.

Another spin-off is a general axiom for measurement (not just length). By applying this idea to time I’ve come to believe that clocks measure motion (see: "the Physical Basis for Time"   ). From this it is easy to see how to develop a natural unit for time that fits nicely into a quantum mechanical, as well as a continuous model.

And I could go on, but, my point is, if an aether of some kind should appear as a result of an unbiased exploration into the structure and content of space, then it is worth considering and "so what" if it is an aether theory?. I am not trying to convince anyone of the existence of an aether. I am looking at how existents implement a universe. It just so happens that my theory of "particles of space" looks like an aether theory.

Other reading:

John Baez, "General Relativity Tutorial", http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/gr/gr.html

Werner Hoffer, "Foundations of quantum theory", http://info.tuwien.ac.at/cms/wh/mw/home.html

Thomas S. Khun, "The structure of Scientific Revolutions" (amazon.com) 

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