A brief Descriptin of Einstein’s Theories

As science progressed, it was found that Newton's Laws did not give the right answers under certain circumstances: Not only did it not work for more than two point masses; it also did not work for objects moving very fast or for very small particles, nor for non-uniform (ie accelerated) motion.


In 1905, E wrote 4 major papers; the first, for which he won the Nobel prize, described how light could appear to behave not only like a wave, but also like a stream of particles; which laid he foundation for Quantum Mechanics. The second confirmed the existence of molecules and atoms by statistically showing how their random collisions explained Brownian motion.[i]


The third and fourth papers, the special theory of relativity and the equivalence of mass and energy, addressed an apparent conflict between Maxwell’s equations and Newton’s laws of motion. This conflict stemmed from the Michaelson Morley experiment which suggested that there was no ether medium to carry  light, and thus according to Einstein light always travels at the same speed, no matter how fast or in what direction the observer is moving.


This could be explained if distances and times appeared different to observers traveling at different speeds. A formula for converting the times and distances measured by one observer to those measured by another (traveling at different speeds) was put forward by  Hendrik Antoon Lorentz.


Maxwell’s equations worked perfectly under this transformation, but Newton’s did not. Einstein solved the problem with his special theory of relativity. He took the constancy of the speed light as a starting point and worked out the consequences. He arrived at Lorentz’s transformation from a new direction and gave it a new perspective. There were no absolute  measures of space or time.

As material objects approach the speed of light, they become more massive and shorter (Lorentz Contraction).  Traveling at the speed of light, a material object would have infinite mass and zero length.

A corollary of this Special Theory of Relativity was that Maxwell’s equations were the basic laws of the physical world. Newton’s laws were an approximation. From E=M(C squared), mass is just an immensely concentrated form of stored energy. All this was based on the assumption that the ratio  of electromagnetic and electrostatic units of charge is constant. Einstein’s theory explained perfectly the way atomic particles behave when traveling close to the speed of light, and accounted for lost mass when a radioactive atom decays into two smaller ones.[ii]

Einstein’s theory that nothing could exceed the speed of light flew in the face of Newton’s law of gravity, which said that gravity could be felt instantly. Einstein resolved the dilemma by proposing that gravity is the curvature of space. Einstein calculated that ripples of gravity travel at exactly the speed of light. The result was his 1915 General Theory of Relativity.

Still, Einstein based his invariance of the speed of light on the conclusion of the Michaelson Morley experiment, which was that there was no ether medium to transmit light. That conclusion was disputed by Dayton Clarence Miller, a renowned physicist, who consistently found small positive results for an ether when his interferometer measurements were carried out at high altitude, to reduce the tendency of any alleged moving ether to be arrested by its local surroundings. His meticulous results were disregarded by those in the scientific seats of authority.[iii]


Glenn Starkman, ironically from Case Western, considered the home of the original  Michaelson Morley studies,  and colleagues Tom Zlosnik and Pedro Ferreira of the University of Oxford are now resurrecting the ether concept in a new form in an attempt to solve the puzzle of dark matter, the mysterious substance that was proposed to explain why galaxies seem to contain much more mass than can be accounted for by visible matter. They posit an ether that is a field, rather than a substance, and which pervades space-time. "If you removed everything else in the universe, the ether would still be there," says Zlosnik.[iv]


Einstein was not content with his two relativity theories; he wanted to expand his general theory to include Maxwell’s Equations. For the last 20 years of his life, he secluded himself in a modest house in Princeton NJ, devoting all his energy to try to write an equation that united gravity and EM. He failed, but the quest for a Grand Unified Theory was now becoming  a major scientific preoccupation.


[i] Discover Magazine [Special  Einstein Issue ] Vol 25 Number 9 Sept 2004

[ii] The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell Basil Mahon p. 180 f.


[iii] Richard Milton: Michelson-Morley & the Story of the Aether Theory www.cellularuniverse.org/AA2MM_Aether.htm

[iv] Ether returns in a bid to oust Dark matter : www.mkaku.org/forums/archive/index.php?t-83.html