|Videnskabsteknisk projekt, 2. modul, 2006, id:299|
|Findes på RUb:||Ja|
This paper examines how the physicists H.A. Lorentz, A.A. Michelson, D.C. Miller, and P. Ehrenfest considered the ether after the publication of the special theory of relativity by A. Einstein i 1905. This is accomplished through studies of primary and secondary literature from and about the four physicists. A theoretical walkthrough of the relevant ether theories and experiments with focus on their explanations of the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 is given. Michelson and Miller, who both were experimental physicists, maintained the ether because of their inability to understand the propagation of light without a medium. In 1926 Miller measured an ether-drift which was denied by most of the physical society at the time. In 1927 Michelson accepted that parts of the principle of relativity had to be correct, but at the same time he hoped to impose relativistic abilities to the ether. Lorentz' was a theoretical physicist and redefined his view on the ether on several occasions. He also tried to implement parts of the principle of relativity in his theory. He distinguishes between the ethers ability as a medium for light propagation and as a reference system for motion and absolute time, which he believed to be the reason for the maintaining the ether. In 1913 Ehrenfest concurred with the theory of Lorentz' but he also acknowledged the principle of relativity. He believed that the ether theory of Lorentz offered the correct explanation because of the fact that no crucial experiment, that could decide between the ether theory of Lorentz and the theory of special relativity, existed in 1913. Conclusively it can be said that it is understandable that Michelson, Lorentz, Ehrenfest and Miller argued on the behalf of the ether by means of acceptable physical reasoning.