Michelson-Morley, Trouton-Noble, Kennedy-Thorndike, and the Fitzgerald-Lorentz Contraction

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Scientific Paper
Title Michelson-Morley, Trouton-Noble, Kennedy-Thorndike, and the Fitzgerald-Lorentz Contraction
Author(s) William L Hughes
Keywords Fitzgerald-Lorentz Contraction, Special Theory of Relativity
Published 2006
Journal Proceedings of the NPA
Volume 3
Number 1
Pages 92-93


In the late 19th century, G.F. Fitzgerald and H.A. Lorentz independently suggested that the null result of the MM experiment would occur if the transverse arm contracted when it was rotated to become the longitudinal arm. Simultaneously, of course, the longitudinal arm would have to expand as it rotated to become the transverse arm, although this detail is seldom if ever mentioned. The two arms would then interchange, roles leaving the final fringe pattern unchanged. In a paper presented by this author in absentia at the 2005 NPA meeting, a case was made that the Fitzgerald-Lorentz Contraction (FLC) was derivable (for simple shapes at least) from conventional electromagnetic retarded potential theory in a Maxwell-Newton world, without the need to invoke the Special Theory Of Relativity (SRT). While that certainly didn?t invalidate SRT, it did indicate that SRT was perhaps not needed to explain MM. That analysis strongly suggests that the time differences of clocks going around the world in different directions is possibly explainable in a strictly classical Maxwell-Newton world, again without the need to invoke relativistic considerations. It is also suggested in a companion paper in this meeting that the Trouton-Noble results may not be a particularly solid basis for justifying SRT either, a result also shown in a highly sensitive experiment some years ago by Hayden. Finally, it is suggested that a more definitive experiment to validate or invalidate FLC might be a modification and refinement of the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment taking advantage of the velocity of the solar system through the cosmos.