26 August 2008

An Interesting Article for your Perusal

A Brief Discussion of the Possibility and Difficulties of Æther Travel
A Paper by F. Robert Goslingen, FRS
Published in the Royal Society Annotations
May, 1859



Briefly defined, the luminiferous æther is a special medium for the transference and propagation of electromagnetic light waves. It exists beyond the shell of our planetary atmosphere; indeed, it fills the gaps between all planetary atmospheric shells. Through it, the light waves produced by our sun – and, indeed, all other light-giving celestial objects – travels as sound waves through our own air.

The æther, to use the more common term today, was first proposed by Thomas Young in 1803. His book, Experiments and Calculations Relative to Physical Optics, contended that light was a wave, and not a particle as proposed by Sir Isaac Newton. A Frenchman named Augustin-Jean Fresnel carried on Young’s work in the 1820s. Physical scientists at that time were aware that all waveforms required a medium through which to travel, and so the idea of the æther was born. This idea was further strengthened by Maxwell’s work which indicated in 1834 that light was an electromagnetic wave rather than a mechanical wave. As electric charges can not exist in vacuum, there must be some medium through which the light travels.

This new medium, æther, is unlike any other known to Man. It acts as a liquid for planets and other celestial bodies moving in their stately courses, and as a solid for the fast-moving light waves. George Gabriel Stokes, FRS, and Lucasian chair in Physics at Cambridge since 1849, describes it as “a substance similar to pine tar, in that it resists fast moving bodies more urgently than a slowly moving object.”

Thus, it seems that the æther can only be passed through by solid objects, like a ship, when traveling at velocities less than that of light. And yet, to influence the æther as a medium for the purpose of generating thrust, some form of electromagnetic force seems necessary. With such a form of thrust, a vessel would move at a useful speed by pushing against the suddenly solidifying æther to the rear of the vessel while keeping the æther ahead of the vehicle liquid. I believe that I have discovered a means by which to generate exactly that sort of thrust…

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