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Two books that could transform your understanding of reality:

Breath of the Cosmos

The physics of material reality as never before -

in beautiful pictures and flowing poetry.

Tapestry of Light

A radically new, but ages old, perspective on the nature of material reality.

A layman's view of

the scientific issues.

In these books

Dr Grahame Blackwell presents, in two quite different styles, his findings from ten years of scientific investigation and careful mathematical analysis.

(No maths in either book.)

[Full maths available here]

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Proof (or not) of Special Relativity

© Grahame Blackwell March 2016

ALL of the experimental evidence cited in support of Special Relativity is clearly authentic and reliable

– but NONE of that evidence actually provides any support for the postulates of Special Relativity

as they are generally accepted and applied.

    1.  Special Relativity (SR) is characterised by phenomena observed in objects or systems moving at speed (usually very high speed) with respect to a static observer or measuring device; SR considers these two states, 'static' and 'moving' to be wholly relative, with no one state that can be considered to be absolutely static.

    2.  These phenomena include such 'relativistic' features as: time dilation; length contraction; (apparent) invariance of the speed of light as experienced from different states of motion (Michelson-Morley experiment); speed of light through a moving medium, not conforming to simple classical addition of velocities (Fizeau's experiment).

   3.  From these observed phenomena has been derived the perception of differing inertial states of motion (i.e. no acceleration, no gravitation) as hyperbolic rotations in spacetime, modelled mathematically by the Lorentz Transformation.  These rotations and associated transformation are regarded in SR as fully symmetric: i.e. if an observer moving with system A sees relativistic effects in system B, then an observer in system B will see identical effects in system A (albeit acting in the opposite spatial direction) - and these observations reflect the true objective reality in each case.  This has led to knock-on explanations for observed phenomena such as the anomalous (from the classical perspective) aberration of starlight.

However ("Blackwell's Lemma"):

    4.  It's axiomatic that any observation relating to a moving object/system by a static observer will have an explanation in terms of the physical laws and interactions as experienced by that static observer: it's not enough, for example, to 'explain' results of Fizeau's experiment in terms of the speed of light as experienced from the motion state of the moving medium; it must also have an explanation in terms of physical interactions between the time-varying electromagnetic field effects known as 'photons' and the physical matter of the moving medium.

   5.  Since those phenomena must have a physical explanation with reference to the static state then, whether that explanation is known or not, there is no need for further explanation in terms of how circumstances are perceived from within the moving state (nor would that explanation be sufficient to satisfy requirements from the static state).  It follows, then, that experiments such as the Michelson-Morley experiment or Fizeau's experiment cannot provide evidence for SR - as they must be explainable without reference to SR, so SR becomes redundant in respect of explaining those experimental findings.

    6.   More than this, explanation of a finding such as relativistic time dilation leads naturally on to reveal subjective variation in time-experience for a particle or system in motion.  This in turn leads on to a full explanation of subjective impression of invariance of light speed from every inertial system of motion - which in turn leads on to the Lorentz Transformation, anomalous aberration of starlight, etc.  Likewise, explanation of speed-dependent time dilation leads on to explanation of all experimental findings confirming that effect: extended lifetime of muons, transverse Doppler shift, etc.

If these observations are followed through in respect of each proposed instance of experimental evidence for the two postulates of Special Relativity, in their generally accepted form (frame invariance of the speed of light, objective frame symmetry of all spacetime phenomena), then it would appear that NO experimental evidence for Special Relativity actually exists.

Examples of this principle

1.   Relativistic time dilation

As identified in the video awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Prize by a panel of experts, speed-related time dilation can be explained from the perspective of the static observer by delays in inter-particle communication within a fast-moving object due to increased path length of those communications when the object is moving at speed.

Of course this doesn't of itself explain the well-documented speed-related time dilation in a single elementary particle, a muon, with no substructure – but it does point to the fact that a corresponding explanation must exist.  That explanation becomes clear when we consider the now well-accepted truism that such particles are themselves formed from localised photons of electromagnetic energy; this is evidenced by the confident assertion that the Breit-Wheeler process will shortly produce electrons* wholly from colliding photons (as indeed was achieved by a multi-stage process in 1997).  Cycling of that photon energy within the particle will be delayed by the concurrent linear flow of that energy as the particle moves through space.  [* and their corresponding antiparticles.]

So we find that relativistic time dilation has a cogent physical explanation that owes nothing to proposals of invariance of the speed of light, nor of equivalence of all inertial reference frames.  The claimed symmetry of time dilation across pairs of reference frames has no known explicit experimental evidence to support it.  So, in return, the clear fact of time dilation, with its wealth of supporting evidence, cannot be seen as evidence of SR – SR is totally superfluous to time dilation.

2.   Speed of light through a moving medium (Fizeau's experiment)

(Fizeau's experiment was seen by Einstein as strong confirmation of SR.)

We now know that light travels at its full speed through a translucent medium, being deflected (and to some extent briefly absorbed then re-emitted) by the atoms of that medium.  Light moving in the same direction as that medium in motion will encounter those atoms less frequently (since they are 'running away' from the light source) from the perspective of the static observer; those deflections and absorptions will therefore be less frequent, leading to a lesser degree of impedance of that light.

Both deflection and absorption/re-emission effectively introduce components in the direction of light-flow orthogonal to its path through the medium (energy held within an atom is shown by the relativistic energy-momentum relation to be effectively orthogonal to spatial motion); if that orthogonal component is simply taken as being proportional to rate of atomic encounters, then the result given by Fizeau's experiment (and later higher-speed analogues) falls out quite naturally, without need for any reference to the postulates of Special Relativity.

Since this phenomenon can be fully and accurately explained without reference to SR, then it follows that it cannot be considered in any way to provide supporting evidence for SR.

3.   Invariance of light speed with speed of observer (Michelson-Morley experiment)

M & M's interferometer experiment showed up identical times for light traversing arms of equal length collinear with and transverse to direction of motion of that apparatus.  This would appear to show frame invariance of the speed of light.

However this begs the question: how is that to be explained from the perspective of the static observer?  The answer, of course, is that this observer sees the apparatus as foreshortened in its direction of motion.  This then further begs the question: what features of material structure, as seen in the light of the physics of the static observer's position, cause that apparatus to be so foreshortened?

This can only be in terms of contraction of molecular and atomic bonds in the direction of motion, which in turn can only relate to the electromagnetic forces operating between those particles – as perceived from the static observer's state.  SR acknowledges that contraction (from the observer's perspective) but adds nothing to the findings of Larmor, Lorentz and FitzGerald that this is a natural consequence of Maxwell's equations.

In other words: there must be an explanation for that contraction as experienced by the static observer (who is him/herself not subject to relativistic effects); an explanation is available that owes nothing to SR; that contraction of itself provides a full explanation for Michelson and Morley's result, independently of SR.

[As a point of detail, Max Born raised an objection to Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, but that objection is itself fully resolved by the now-known fact of speed-related time dilation; that contraction is also essential to SR itself.]

In short: speed-dependent length contraction must be (and is) explicable from the perspective of the static observer; given that explanation, SR becomes irrelevant to the Michelson Morley result, and so that result cannot be seen as evidence for Special Relativity.

4.   The Lorentz Transformation

The reality of the Lorentz Transformation is evidenced by phenomena such as the classically anomalous aberration of starlight.  However it should be noted that this is a perceptual phenomenon and, as can be fairly simply shown, the Lorentz Transformation is a mathematical tool for shifting perception from one reference frame to another.

We've already seen that speed-related time dilation has an explanation quite independent of SR.  We've further seen that an elementary particle moving at speed will have formative energies that are moving cyclically and linearly at the same time (source of Compton wavelength and de Broglie wavelength, respectively), giving a composite energy flow in a diagonal orientation (as shown in the energy-momentum relation).  It's this diagonal orientation – in relativity terms a combination of time-like (internal) and space-like (linear) flows – that gives the impression of motion as a hyperbolic rotation in spacetime: the interaction of those diagonal energy flows with the wholly timelike internal energy of a static particle or object is an angular separation between the formative energies of those two entities.

That angular separation, coupled with the time dilation of a particle or object in motion, leads to a perception of reality from a moving viewpoint that precisely corresponds to the perspective of the Lorentz Transformation – a subjective perspective.  That subjective perspective fully explains perceptual effects such as the aberration of starlight.

5.   Maxwell's equations and the speed of light

One of the most significant influences on Einstein's thinking was the invariance of the speed of light across all reference frames as portrayed by Maxwell's equations – since those equations are not linked to any particular reference frame (state of motion) and so would apply equally in all inertial states of motion.

Again, though, we should note that those equations relate to observed phenomena (including measurements taken on instruments), and so are statements about observation and measurement rather than objective reality.  We've seen that time dilation and length contraction are explained in terms of physical interactions as perceived from the static observer state: seen from that state, then, observations and measurements from a state of motion would be systematically distorted by those two effects.

We've just seen (above) that these effects lead naturally to the Lorentz Transformation.  Those effects also apply equally to both human perception and electronic instruments, since they act at a 'particle response' level.  It follows that instrumentation will reflect the perception of the Lorentz Transformation as representing the true reality – including readings relating to variation of electromagnetic field effects that are wholly consistent with an invariant speed of light.

[Similar reasoning applies to the issue of a current induced in a loop of wire by a moving magnet, or in a moving loop by a static magnet – another compelling argument for Einstein.]

We're also told that as a teenager Einstein considered variation of electromagnetic fields in a photon, concluding that one travelling with that photon at the same speed, c, wouldn't see any variation but rather a (relatively) static wave; since it's variation in those fields that sustains the photon, it couldn't exist under such circumstances – so all motion must be relative.  This fails to take account of the fact that, for one travelling with that photon at the speed of light, time would stop – so the observer would see zero variation in zero time; this gives an indeterminate rate of change, not zero change – and so no impediment to the existence of that photon.

Explicit Refutation of Special Relativity

The Relativistic Energy-Momentum Relation (EMR) for a moving particle – e.g. an electron – combines the cyclic formative energy of that particle, mc2 (physically demonstrated by Compton wavelength) and linear 'kinetic energy' energy-flow component, pc = γmvc (physically demonstrated by de Broglie wavelength) to give the overall energy of the moving particle, γmc2, where γ is the Lorentz factor.

[Energy is of course a scalar, but energy-flow components are not – hence the directional combination of these two orthogonal components in the EMR to give overall energy flow.]

If we now hypothesise a device for measuring particle energy flow frequency, that device static in the lab would register a reading γ f for a particle moving at speed v relative to the lab, where f is the reading for that particle when static.  Now if we set that device moving with the particle at speed v, it won't register the linear component of the particle's energy-flow frequency but it will register the cyclic component – all of it (there's no reason why it shouldn't).

Given that the cyclic energy component is the same as for the static particle, as shown by the EMR, the observer in the lab will expect to see that device registering frequency f – increased by a factor γ due to speed-induced time dilation in that device: γ f

However SR tells us that the device will register the same when moving with the particle as it does when both are static in the lab – it's just a different inertial reference frame; so we should expect a reading of  f.

If we consider this just from the perspective of the laboratory observer (so that we don't get misled by possibly erroneous SR expectations), we find that what that observer would very properly expect to see and what SR says that they will see are two different things.

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Footnote: On the Smoot Group web pages it states that "This would seem to violate the postulates of Galilean and Special Relativity but there is a preferred frame in which the expansion of the Universe looks most simple."  Interesting, also, that Smoot's pages on the Berkeley Lab website actually go under the name of 'aether.lbl.gov'.  Such views from the Nobel laureate who mapped the Cosmic Microwave Background, now used as a reference for astronomical observation, cannot easily be ignored.