Ether: What is it?
|Title||Ether: What is it?|
(I wrote this in 1989 for a "Technical Writing for Physicists" course at San Jose State University, San Jose, California.)
The properties of light have perplexed scientists ever since humans were capable of giving it thought. Newton thought of light as showers of particles. Young and Fresnel gave evidence for light as waves. Maxwell concluded: "Light consists of electromagnetic waves," after combined electricity and magnetism in his electromagnetic wave theory. If Maxwell's statement is true, then what do the waves travel in, since mechanical waves have to propagate in some medium?
This paper is a brief investigation of that medium called the ether. If light truly is a wave, then an ether is essential. Alternate link.