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THE ETHER, QUANTUM MECHANICS & MODELS OF MATTER - Physics Forum. Discuss and ask physics questions, kinematics and other physics problems.

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Old 01-06-2004, 05:56 PM
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M. C. DUFFY, School of Engineering & Advanced Technology, University
of Sunderland, Chester Road, Sunderland, Great Britain, SR1 3SD,
Tel: 0191 515 2856; FAX: 0191 515 2703

The first part of this review of the ether concept in present-day
physics began with stressing the fundamental role of the
relativistic world-ether, as found in the later papers of Einstein.
This ether, is best thought of as a unique fundamental continuum of
events, into which space, time, matter, and fields - as separate
entities - are fused. An account of the historical development of
this concept is given in the papers of Dr. Kostro, especially those
which summarise his researches into the archives of Einstein's
later, and often unpublished notes. The history of the ether is a
very complex one - more so that the well-known history of Whittaker
suggests - and during any period, there have been several concepts,
rivalling each other for acceptance. However, one can generalise and
say that before the period 1916-1920, matter was regarded as
separate from and prior to space, ether and fields. The ether was
usually thought of as a medium filling a separate space, and matter
(ponderable and particulate), moved through ether and space rather
like an airship through the atmosphere. With the acceptance of
general relativity, and the geometrised formulations of it, physical
space becomes to be regarded as prior to matter. As Dr Kostro has
quoted, in 1930 Einstein was to write that "in the new theory
(General Relativity), the metrical facts cannot be separated from
the 'properly' physical ones, therefore the notion of 'space' and
the notion of 'ether' fuse together." At this time, Einstein
regarded space (or ether) as the total field from which elementary
particles were created. The "creation" of elementary particles from
the physical vacuum is a feature of the theories reviewed below.
This notion of Einstein was forshadowed by earlier theories in which
matter was a configuration in a universe-filling ether, usually
defined as a perfect fluid with particles represented by sources and
sinks: the theories of Riemann, Pearson ("Ether Squirts" - a
remarkable paper) and Maclaren are examples. The rise of electron
theory in the 1890s, and the development of a comprehensive
electromagnetic worldview, in the period 19001920, encouraged
physicists to interpret particulate, ponderable matter in terms of
something more fundamental. The failure to develop adequate ether
analogues of matter in the period when relativity became
established, together with the failure to detect the ether
associated with the Lorentz theory of electrons, and the success of
the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, favoured the
interpretation of matter in terms of geometry. This was not the
first time this had been done, Clifford in the 1870s had suggested a
topological theory of space-time, but the Einstein-Minkowski
exposition of Relativity resulted in a widespread belief that the
ether concept was incompatible with relativity, and the term fell
into disfavour between about 1920 and the 1960s, though a minority
of physicists - some of them eminent, like Ives, or Dirac -
continued to use it. In recent years, a better understanding of the
history of this concept, plus the study of the physical vacuum, the
zero point field, and a revived interest in the Poincare-Lorentz
exposition of relativity and its use in cosmology, and quantum
mechanics, has brought the ether back into fundamental physics,
sometimes under another name. It would be most unfortunate, however,
if too much stress on the Poincare-Lorentz exposition perpetuated
the very misconception which the present-day ether theorist wishes
to remove. The ether concept is not incompatible with General
Relativity and the geometrised approach to any department of
physics. The Poincare-Lorentz programme is seen, today, as a
physical interpretation in terms of rods and clocks, and sometimes
using analogues of the physical vacuum, of a formal structure which
can be given a geometrised expression following Einstein,
blinkowski, Freundlich, Weyl, and more recent geometers. In fact,
starting with the relativistic world ether of Einstein is probably
the best way of introducing any review of the ether in present day


As the relativistic world ether was introduced in part one of this
paper, only the briefest summary of its characteristics is given
here. The relativistic world-ether is the physical space of
Einstein's General Relativity (that is the total field, or the sum
total of all physical properties inclusing matter) fused with time
to give the fundamental space-time continuum of events. Minkowski
referred to it as an absolute ether (because it was fundamental),
especially when regarded in its static, or geometric aspect. This
world-ethdr has also been called the primordial entity; the primary
geometric existent; the protoether; the urfield; the unique primary
entity - there are several equivalent terms. Borneas argues that
this world-ether must have a geometrical character, and that
"...following the principle of background nonpreferentiability the
unique primary entity has to be Euclidean-" However, this primary
entity in which field with matter, and space-time as a frame are
fused, is manifested in its dynamical aspect - the one observed by
the physicist - as observed space, time, field, matter and symettry
breaking. At this level, matter and field separate; space and time
separate, as experiments are carried out in frame space-time. As has
been well established, these experiments are described by the formal
structure of relativity, and the frame-space measurements may be
interpreted according to the PoincareLorentz programme, or the
Einstein-Minkowski programme. Phenomena observed in the frame space
is sometimes provided with an analogue, and in the case of the
Poincare-Lorentz interpretations, the analogue may be a classical
mechanism. Preference for the Poincare-Lorentz exposition. or the
Einstein-Minkowski exposition is often related to a preference for
surveying frame space using (respectively) measuring rods (matter
geometry), or light rays (light geometry). The use of fundamental
particles as rods and clocks; and the identification of "best
clocks" and "best ranging techniques" is obviously of vital
importance in setting up the metrics suitable for describing frame
space. This involves theories of matter with ether theories of the
physical vacuum, which are in turn related to cosmology as the first
half of this paper reviewed. Borneas, who has been a strong advocate
of the world-ether, has developed a mathematical theory of
particles, starting with the unique primary entity, and indicating
how a unification of quantum theory, relativity and a theory of
matter might be approached. Because the term "ether" might be
misunderstood, Borneas employs alternatives such as "primary

existent". His theory is largely a mathematical development, and the
following review is confined to papers with a more clearly defined
physical interpretation.


The first theories to be reviewed are representative of those aimed
at creating models of matter without detailing any hidden mechanism
underlying phenomena, or without specifying an ethereal medium in
the form of the zero point field or the vortex sponge. One
comprehensive theory of material particles and the physical vacuum
has been developed in recent years by Podlaha. It is based on the
Poincare-Lorentz theory of Relativity, and much of it, including the
wave model of the material particle, is compatible with the models
suggested by Hartley (within the context of the vortex-sponge),
Jennison, and Ives. For Podlaha, "matter is the only reality for
physics", and it exists independently of the observer. Space, field
and ether are material, but not particulate, so it is evident that
Podlaha uses material in the sense of "physical" which would be a
much better term, as many writers use "matter" to refer to
particulate, gravitating material. Podlaha defines three kinds of
matter. There are matter waves of the first and second kinds; and
there are universal fields. Matter waves occur as mass particles; as
waves travelling between mass particles - "particles of
electromagnetic radiation, or photons", and the third kind is field.
The vacuum is the universal material field or ether. Gravitation is
caused by inhomogeneities in this universal vacuum field, and any
physical space without gravitation is filled with an homogeneous
vacuum field. Absolute velocity of light with respect to the vacuum
cannot be measured, and by using thought experiments involving slow
transport of clocks along measuring rods, similar to Ives, Builder,
and Prokhovnik, Podlaha sets up a version of Poincare-Lorentz
Relativity which (with Sjodin) he has used to interpret the major
features of general relativity. For him, geometry is simply a tool
for calculation, and he makes no mention of any primary, geometrical
world-ether: the physical (material) content of space is the
ultimate medium.

Remarking that Einstein treated mass particles as mass points,
Podlaha states that mass particles should be treated as extended
bodies., necessitating a new geometry. Podlaha claims that "the main
(tacit) assumption of the Riemannian geometry is that the rates of
the processes inside the mass particles are independent of the
accelerations of the particles", and he proposes a new geometry
which approximates, in the limit, to the Riemannian.

Podlaha suggests that particles consist of two kinds of matter
waves: the first kind are standing waves, which do not interfere,
and of which the amplitudes approach zero as the inverse of the
radius squared. These matter waves of the first kind spread from the
centre of the particle with a constant velocity with respect to the
particle, interact with matter waves of the second kind, and return
to centre. The result is a standing wave pattern at rest with
respect to the particle.This suggested mechanism is very like the
one suggested by Hartley in the context of the vortex-sponge. Matter
waves of the second kind, associated with a particular particle, do
interfere, and spread with the velocity of light reflecting on the
nodes of matter waves of the first kind. He argues that "..if there
existed one kind of matter waves only, no stable particles could
exist..". He further argues that the equivalence of the techniques
for synchronising clocks by light signals, and transported clocks,
is caused by the spreading matter waves of the second kind having
the same velocity as the light waves. Podlaha develops his theory to
interpret photon emission, and to give a physical picture as to why
uncertainty arises in physical measurement: he rejects the
"bewildered speculations" of the Copenhagen school. He considers
vacuum density fluctuations, and their consequences, but his theory
is not accompanied by any detailed analogue - like the vortexsponge,
with which it would appear to be generally compatible. Podlaha's
model of a particle, in terms of a standing wave pattern, with
signals sent out from the centre to a reflecting envelope, to return
simultaneously to the centre (for the particle to endure), however
the particle moves in a frame of reference is equivalent to the
idealised interferometer of Ives. It therefore should be possible to
use Podlaha's fundamental wave particle as an instrument in thought
experiments for obtaining a "Poincare-Lorentz" interpretation of the
chronotopic (space-time) interval, usually associated with the
Einstein-Minkowski formulation, by following Ives' arguments.
Podlaha realises that a great deal of relativity is implicit in the
assumption that his particles endure as they move through inertial

Professor Jennison's theories concerning fundamental particles are
of great interest, arising from the experimental and theoretical
work conducted at Canterbury. Like Podlaha Jennison has created a
fundamental particle model which serves as a minature rod-and-clock
system - again the equivalent of Ives' idealised interferometer.
Jennison's objectives are to make aspects of relativity physically
intelligible, and to illustrate them with laboratory demonstrations:
he accepts the value and accuracy of the geometrised formulations of
relativity, and he does not advocate the ether. His work, however,
can be used by those who wish to develop a modern, relativistic
ether theory, and his particle models could well be integrated with
the vortex-sponge model of frame space-time.

Jennison's work resulted from the study of perfectly lossless
entrapment of monochromatic radiation in confined spaces termed
"phase-locked cavities", which can be shown to obey Newton's first
and second laws; to exhibit quantised momentum at microscopic level;
and to possess the properties required to serve as "proper" rods and
clocks. Jennison argues that the question "what are the best
instruments and methods for calibrating the space-time metric?" is
too readily passed over, and that insufficient attention is given to
selecting the best rods and clocks for this basic task. "Length and
time are, of course, incorporated into the metric of space-time but
even the metric is arbitrary until one introduces the concept of a
remarkable class of rods and clocks". These "proper" clocks and
"proper" rods of the real physical world are to preserve their local
proper times and lengths however transported. Jennison (and others)
suggest the phase-locked cavities fulfill the requirements of proper
instruments. The particle mechanism accounted for major aspects of
the Compton effect, and Mackinnon applied phase-locking modelling to
a distribution of de Broglie matter waves and devised the "soliton"
with waves phase-locked at the centre. Jennison devised a rotating
matter-wave particle (1983), and derived a stable three dimensional
system to serve as a proper clock, which was also a relativistically
rigid measuring rod - that is one in which the velocity of sound is
the speed of light. The role of these clocks is calibrating the
space-time metric, is given in Jennison's papers, along with
discussion of the stability of the "proper rod-cum-clock". The
mechanism of setting up the particle differs from that proposed by
Hartley or Podlaha, because Jennison suggests that the feedback of
the waves from within a finite zone does not necessarily require
reflection (used by Hartley and Podlaha) but could be achieved by
"total internal refraction or by the equivalent curvature of
spacetime". These clocks occupy a finite volume of necessity, and if
annihilated then proper time in that zone is nolonger a valid
concept. Clock-time is "very real" and "cannot be assumed to exist
where matter itself cannot exist, e.g in an environment where there
is entirely free radiation without rest mass". Having rest mass,
particles like electrons and protons can be used as clocks. Pair
production can produce proper clocks ("fundamental clock-observers")
whose proper time starts from the moment of formation. This raises
the question concerning the meaningfulness of time and space measure
beyond the province of the best available clock or rod.

Jennison's discussions are very important in the context of
frame-space-time experiment, especially for those theories couched
in terms of the Poincare-Lorentz theory, where operations with rods
and clocks through a long series of thought experiments are crucial:
they also bear on EinsteinMinkowski theory, which equally requires
experimental validation. Identifying proper instruments in a
physical sense cannot be left out of any physical interpetation or
modelling of the activities of frame space. Jennison's description
of how to construct macroscopic measuring rods (and clocks), using
laser light, and microwave radiation introduce a laboratorypractical
theme into the discourse which is one of its most valuable features.
He discusses the matter of assessing the reality of measurements,
and whether distances measured by radar come out the same as those
ranged with rods. In one of his papers, Jennison develops the
relativistically phase-locked cavity model to explain ball
lightening. In further papers, the phase-locked cavity model of
particles is used to interpret quantum phenomena in a classical

It is interesting that in his discourse on "Lorentzian Gravity", in
the context of a superfluid ether in which particle pairs were
produced, Clube remarked that phase-locking of matter at a
micro-level was a more fundamental principle than relativity.

Jennison's proper rods and clocks would appear to be the best
available for carrying out experiments in the frame spaces in which
we work. A very stimulating discussion oncerning how clocks do
behave in relativity was offered by Kostro, and Prokhovnik. Kostro
identified those clocks which required gravitational fields to work
(water clocks and balance clocks) and which had no proper frequency,
and clocks which had an inbuilt frequency like standing wave clocks
and atomic clocks. There was controversy over the pendulum clock and
its behaviour in a gravitational field or near a black hole, it
being suggested that a balance clock would stop, but a pendulum
clock would speed up. Standing wave clocks would not slow down in a
gravitational field, or a moving reference frame, but a photon clock
(with separated mirrors) would slow down. This raises questions
about the behaviour of those material particles modelled as standing
wave systems, and whether they could be used singly as ultimate time

Simon has considered the usefulness of the electron as a fundamental
reference system, even raising the question as to whether the
Lorentz Transforms apply to the interior of such particles, coming
to the conclusion that they are not applicable within the particle,
because in that region simultaneity has no meaning. Tie takes an
"Eddingtonian" approach to general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Eddington wrote that relativity was "divorced from atomicity" in the
sense that it did not account for the atomicity of matter which was
unfortunate because it was the discontinuous, atomic nature of
matter which made it measureable on the macroscopic scale.. (Note
that "matter" is here being used as synonymous with ?macroscopic,
ponderable and particulate'). As Eddington believed that measurement
was the subject-matter of physics, he sought a "thorough grounding
of relativity in a description of the microcosmos"., stimulated by
Dirac's 1928 Lorentz-invariant equation for the electron. The result
was Eddington's famous book on relativity applied to protons and
electrons which appeared in 1936, and was part of an attempt to
unify general relativity and quantum mechanics. It included
pioneering work in the spinor calculus, then called wave-tensor
calculus. Simon has continued to develop aspects of Eddington's
scheme. Eddington's programme included, amongst its objectives,
deriving from first principles a Lorentz-invariant wave equation for
elementary particles; to interpret (mathematically) the interaction
of a particle with its environment; and to relate the macroscopic,
relativistic description of the large-scale environment with the
quantum description of the particle. Eddington used mathematical
language throughout his work without detailing any "hidden
mechanisms" or ethers, and when he does refer to the ether it is to
define a concept practically identical to that of the later Einstein
(physical properties fused into space-time). Since Eddington's time,
other physicists have provided physical interpretations of aspects
of his programme, and have sketched (one can call it no more than an
outline) ether-type theories which link quantum mechanics to the
physical vacuum, and "large-scale" relativity. For Eddington, a
particle was a ?*conceptual carrier of measureable properties"
subject to a probability in space-time. It is argued that in
macroscopic physics the position of a material object is referred to
material standards which, as a matter of routine, can be replaced
for measurement operations by a geometrical set of reference axes.
In quantum mechanics, this equivalence of material frame and
geometrical frame cannot be assumed because the material system is
specified by a wave function describing a probability distribution
of its "observable landmarks" relative to a geometrical frame. 'It
would contradict the uncertainty principle to identify the position
and motion of the "material landmarks" with the position and motion
of a geometrical frame. In microscopic physics, three objects or
standards are needed: a geometrical frame, which is necessary but is
not the final reference system; a physical reference system of
objects; and the particle or system under examination. The physical
reference system of objects are replaced by an ideal standardised
reference object, which Eddington describes as "a fluid, permeating
all space like an aether". Eddington used the Riemann-Christoffel
tensor, used to define the local curvature of space-time in general
relativity, to define the properties of this ether. This is done
mathematically: no analogue, or mechanism in the traditional sense,
is associated with the formal structure. Simon develops the role of
the Riemann-Christoffel tensor to distinguish between "absolute" and
"relative" displacements of the reference fluid to establish a llink
between general relativity and quantum mechanics. He suggests that
every problem in quantum mechanics "implies two categories of
particles: many unspecified particles, constituting a background or
reference fluid, and a few specified particles singled out for
special treatment. When studying a lone elementary particle, its
interaction with the background must not be neglected". Simon here
suggests that the background, or ether, may be treated as "many
unspecified particles", presumably filling the frame space of
(frame) space-time. This kind of ether should be compared with
ethers based on spacefilling Brownian gases; the microphysical
thermal chaos- the vortex-sponge, and the zero point field.


Only the briefest outline of Winterberg's ether interpretation of
quantum mechanics and relativity can be given, but the corpus of his
work provides a detailed exposition of modern ether theory,
accompanied by a mechanical analogue. Winterberg does not question
the accuracy of the formal structure of relativity, but is critical
of recent attempts to develop the geometrised exposition by adding
dimensions to space-time, starting with the incorporation of a fifth
dimension by Kaluza and Klein to unify gravity and electromgnetism,
and ending with the many dimensional spacetimes olf superstring
theory. Winterberg strongly declares that physical reality is a
four-dimensional space-time, and this must be made the foundation of
a satisfying theory which such avoid such physical impossibilities
as the ininite stresses in the zero diameter strings. After
considering the Helmholtz-Kelvin vortex ring lattice ether, which
can transmit Maxwell waves, Winterberg reviews the zero point field
as an ether, but concludes that in order to be compatible with
special relativity, it must have a frequency spectrum of omega to
the power of three, leading to infinite energies and gravitational
forces, at obvious variance with physical reality. Much of his work
is to develop an ether theory, and analogue, to avoid these
objections. Working within the framework of the Poincare-Lorentz
exposition of relativity, with rod contraction and clock retardation
as real phenomena caused by motion through a fundamental substratum,
and insisting that all modern ether theory must be evolved within
the framework of quantum mechanics, Winterberg proposes a superfluid
ether full of quantized vortices. The quantized vortices exist in a
substratum or superfluid made up of an equal number of positive and
negative Planck masses, densely packed together. This mixture of
positive and negative mass "Planckions" preserves the zero point
energy fluctuations of the physical vacuum, but makes the average
vanish. It is claimed that the analogue accounts for vector gauge
bosons; charge and charge quantization; special relativity as a
dynamic symmetry; gauge invariance; Dirac spinors; elementary
particle mass as a function of Planck mass. The superfluid vortex
ringsformed in the Planckian ether, can be treated as "ether atoms".
The ether developed by Winterberg is related to the
MacCullagh-Kelvin type, and for many functions resembles, or is
equivalent to the vortex-sponge. In considering its energy spectrum,
Winterberg uses the results of liquid helium theory (phonon-roton
structure) presented by Feynman in 1954, and supported by recently
performed laboratory work on low temperature helium which has
revealed the quantum-mechanical nature of a macroscopic vortex

Winterberg's model is hierarchical. Elementary particles are bound
states in the superfluid quantum ether, and there are three main
"levels" or "hierarchies": the Planck mass scale; the 'vorton' mass
scale; the elementary particle mass scale. Zero rest mass gauge
bosons are quantized vortex waves in the ether. Elementary particles
are bound states consisting of equal, but opposite masses from the
substratum with finite rest mass due to the field energy of the
vector gauge bosons binding the masses. These particle masses are
used to derive a classical description of Schroedinger's
"Zitterbewegung" derived from Dirac's equation. A quantum-mechanical
interpretation, compatible with relativity, is obtained . The ether
structure is related to the formation of hadrons, nuclei, atoms, and
molecules; Dirac spinors; vector bosons and other fundamental
entities. The particle hierarchy, from smallest to molecular scale
is from the Planck scale (rotons, phonons), the vortex scale ("grand
unification scale"), vortex resonance scale, vector gauge bosons
(vortex waves), intermediate vector bosons (possibly associated with
Riemann vortex-wave solitons), elementary particle scale, nuclear
scale, atomic (Bohr radius scale), and the molecular scale. This
hierarchy is derived from the structure of the ether.

One of the most ingenious features of the model is the way it
interprets the collapse of the wave function. The temporal evolution
of a quantum mechanical system is described by Schroedinger's
equation. The wave function "spreads out" in space suggesting that
the particle loses its localsied character, but at some later time,
theparticles are again found within a small volume, as if the wave
function had collapsed into the volumes within which the particles
are found. The double-slit experiment demonstrates this phenomenon,
but raises problems about the nature of the supposed particles,
implying that they are "really waves", and suggesting that the wave
collapse is at superluminal speed. Winterberg rejects the Copenhagen
interpretation (that the wave function is not real, but is a measure
of knowledge) because it is too subjective, and offers an
interpretation more in keeping with the belief that the universe is
an objective reality, independent of man. Emphasising the advantages
of the Poincare-Lorentz expostion of relativity, with the very large
system of galaxies providing a "distinguished" (or privileged) frame
of reference at rest in the ether. Winterberg suggests that this
ether is Heisenberg's fundamental field, which admits wave modes of
superluminal velocity, and can be modelled by a superfluid mixture
of positive and negative Planckean masses. The zero point
fluctuations of the Planck masses, bound in the vortex filaments,
create longitudinal waves. Fluctuations in these longitudinal waves
entrap and accelerate wave packets, representing a particle, to
superluminal velocities with the centre of mass of the particle
remaining at subluminal speeds.

A chaotic pattern is generated which entrap the wave packet and
collapse it with superluminal phase velocity. The region into which
the wave packet collapses must be occupied by a fermion absorbing
the packet. Winterberg argues that this phenomenon demands an
absolute space-time structure, with the exclusion of the Minkowskian
space-time structure. Winterberg's analysis is carried out in a
realistic spirit, with the Minkowski spacetime continuum, and the
Riemannian manifold described as illusions caused by true physical
distortions which should be interpreted in terms of the
Poincare-Lorentz theory, using a real, absolute ether. The accuracy
of his work, however, does not demand an acceptance of this narrow
realism, and a rejection of the Einstein-Minkowski approach.

Although often critical of each others work, Cavalleri and
Winterberg advocate a theory of ether and quantum mechanics with
strong points of resemblance.Cavalleri proposes that the (classical)
electromagnetic radiation of all the particles in the universe.
emitted since the "big bang", constitutes the zero point field of
quantum electrodynamics, and may be taken as a real ether. Motion of
instruments (rods and clocks) through this ether produces length
contraction, and clock retardation, described by relativity theory.
The power spectral density, proportional to angular frequency cubed,
is Lorentz invariant, and experiments of the Michelson-Morley type,
and their equivalent, or others used to detect ether drift, cannot
be used to establish motion through this ether. Cavalleri argues
further that if the power spectral density is limited (cut-off) to
avoid infinite energy density in a zero point field regarded as
real, then relativistic invaraince is lost and there should be a
privileged observer for which the zero point field ether is
isotropic. He proposes means by which this ether might be detected.
Like Winterberg, Cavalleri does not like the use of "imaginary"
quantities in physics, and he aims for realism. He rejects the
metaphysics of the Copenhagen school. His theories of ether and
matter fall into the general category of space filling stochastic
media reacting with matter based on Poincare-Lorentz relativity. It
is a frame-space theory and analogue. For Cavalleri, the
zitterbewegung of Schroedinger is a real phenomenon, located in the
physical vacuum, and not an illusory effect due to the uncertainty
of the electron position inside a Compton-sized region. It is a
strong "jigging" motion, due to a particle's self-reaction, which
Cavalleri claims can be explained in a classical way though this
"displaces all the intuitive difficulties from the atomic level-to
the particle level". Cavalleri claims that the motion of the
zitterbewegung is not a new, secondelass of stochastic motion
originating independently of the zero point field. It is the zero
point field which produces fluctuations in velocity direction, and
amplifies fluctuations in position of the electron, which generate
the effects of quantum mechanics.

For most circumstances, relativistic invariance conceals the zero
point field, but Cavalleri suggests that this ether might be
detected by accelerating a charged hydrogen atom in a synchrotron.
An energy of 20 Tev would be needed to detect an effect interpreted
as "friction in vacuo".

A considerable number of similar theories have been proposed in the
context of quantum electrodynamics or stochastic electrodynamics.
Some of these were stimulated by Nelson's 1966 work which
interpreted the Schroedinger equation in terms of two fluids, in a
stochastic Brownian environment which compacted with hypothetical
particles termed "zerons". Puthoff suggested that the zero-point
field fluctuations are the source of atomic stability, and
gravitational action, and explain -for example - the zero-point
quantum force between closely spaced metal plates (the Casimir
force). The vacuum is regarded as a dynamic plenum which determines
the basic states of matter, and their interaction. The
zitterbewegung plays a crucial role in causing gravitational
attraction between particles, and Puthoff acknowledges his debt to
Sakharo+ho interpreted gravitation as an induced effect caused by
matter "loading" the zero point field. Puthoff does not use the term
ether, and one should realise that these "dynamic physical vacuum"
theories are often advanced without being couched in terms of the
ether. The writings of the Menons exemplify those theories developed
from De Broglie's hidden thermodynamics of particles. They interpet
the quantum field as a heat bathin which particles are immersed, and
subjected to induced Brownian motion. The claim is made that the
principle of relativity is simply the restatement of the second law
of thermodynamics in the context of Brownian interactions of the
sub-atomic world. Time is treated as an imaginary quantity, and
Lorentz invariance is interpreted in terms of the invariance of the
"heat content" of the Brownian gas throughout changes in the frame
of reference. Theoretically, there is a preferred frame of reference
in which the Brownian interaction field appears isotropic, but there
is a strong probability that it cannot be detected in practice. If
anisotropies do arise in the Brownian interaction field (or quantum
soup), these may cause gravitational effects.

Moniz discusses the creation of particles from the real physical
vacuum, which is pictured as a microphysical thermal chaos, termed
an ether. This ether is discussed in connection with general
relativity and thermodynamics. "(In this ether) fields fluctuate and
particles are very small peturbations...consistent with the general
relativity theory of gravitation. It is in this vacuum, which
undergoes random fluctuationsin constant turmoil, a quantum textured
ether, that matter creation occurs." Moniz presents his theory in
the context of geometrised Einstein-Minkowski relativity, and makes
no use of the Poineare-Lorentz exposition. This is to be applauded:
too many present day ether theorists give the impression that they
are anxious to replace the EinsteinMinkowski programme by the
Poineare-Lorentz theory (suitably developed to include gravitation),
with the geometrised formulations reduced in status to "illusions"
of a reality better expressed in quasi-mechanical or electromagnetic
terms. Moniz demonstrates that theories of the physical vacuum, with
the ether pictured as a chaotic medium (thermal or otherwise), can
be presented perfectly well entirely within the context of
geometrised formulations. An unduly narrow and exclusive insistence
on the Poincare-Lorentz formulation might foster the impression that
those who use the ether concept are hostile to the whole spirit of
modern mathematical physics, thus reviving the ether-relativity
polemic at a time when it is being consigned to history, and the
fruitfulness of the ether concept is gaining widespread recognition.
This is why the Einstein relativistic ether is a good place to start
the whole discussion of modern ether physics (with its static and
dynamic images leading into the exploration of the ether concept in
the context of frame space-times). It starts with the compatibility
of ether and general relativity, and works towards the particular
models of ether, physical vacuum, zero point field, etc. later,
rather than the other way round.

What would be very valuable, and is long overdue, is a general
review of the physical vacuum type theories (Cavalleri, Winterberg,
etc.) with the aim of achieving some workable synthesis, and the
seeking of a common analogue. The vortexsponge would appear to be
the most promising theory of how the vacuum phenomena are best


One theory worthy of note ~ the solid continuum model of the
physical vacuum - has been developed by Dmitriev. This is a
comprehensive theory, which sets out to model all the major
phenomena which a late 20th C model needs to cover, and is
remarkable in that it uses a solid elastic continuum, with point
"defects" or singularities to represent matter. This type of model
has a long history, going back to the mid-19th C when MacCullagh,
Green, Kelvin and others considered elastic solidethers, and when
Burton suggested that material particles might be represented as
strain patterns in a solid ether, but it is very rare to find them
being employed today. This is not due to any inability to use them
to provide adequate models. It is rather that by the end of the 19th
C it was appreciated that vortex-sponge type ethers, as improved by
Kelvin, Lorentz and Larmor, could do all that the solid continuum
analogue could do, and were more easily employed to represent
fundamental physical phenomena. Dmitriev fully appreciates this,
having made a thorough survey of the vortex-sponge -which he employs
extensively - and it should be realised that the two are equivalent
mathematically in many instances. They can often be interchanged.
Dmitriev remarks that the YangMills theory of physical fields can be
used to create a complete theory of a solid body with defects or
singularities, and that he has reversed the procedure to devise a
theory of physical fields and particles along the lines of the
elastic solid ether. There is no empty space: all space is occupied
by physical vacuum or ether, through which all interactions are
passed, including electromagnetic waves and gravity waves. Beginning
with a linear-elastic substratumit is demonstrated that this
substratum is Lorentz-invariant as a consequence of its almost
incompressible character. Dmitriev concludes that we inhabit a
practically static universe. Particles of matter are modelled
(approximately) localised energetic excitations (solitons) in the
solid et~er (ideally, a nonlinear medium should be used), and models
of quantum particles, gravitation and general relativity's effects
are outlined. General relativity theory is treated as a sub-algebra
of the non-linear theory of elasticity. By considering a solid
continuum model with internal rotation (a 19th C concept) the
equivalence with the vortex sponge is made apparent, and several
vortex sponge. and dipole models are considered for modelling
microphenomena, and for interpreting the lack of symmetry in the
macroscopic world. As with Winterberg's model, Dmitriev's in
terpretation of the universe is hierarchical with six "levels" of
phenomena: classical mechanics; general relativity and quantum
mechanics; the solid substratum; the solid substratum with internal
rotation; the vortex-sponge, regarded as chaotic turbulence in the
primary medium; and the primary medium , which is an ideal
incompressible fluid. One cannot help but think that the picture
would be clarified and simplified if the whole picture was presented
in terms of the vortex-sponge alone.

Finally, one can recommend the writings of Rowlands for an incisive
and comprehensive review of the several approaches (classical and
non-classical) to interpreting relativity, quantum mechanics, the
zero point field, etc. He compares discontinuous theories
(Heisenberg's quantum mechanics and Einstein's special relativity),
with continuous theories (Schroedinger's quantum mechanics, and the
Poincare-Lorentz theory) and concludes that the major divergencies
in interpreting the formal structure of theories are beyond the
scope of measurement. Amongst his interesting remarks (too numerous
to list here) is his claim that the infinite energy of the vacuum
field (a problem in Winterberg, Cavalleri et al.) should not be
regarded as a problem to be solved by cut-off, but should be
accepted as true "and suggestive of a medium along the lines of
Dirac's infinite number of filled energy states, and related to the
exclusion of the negative direction of time. Vacuum energy in this
form would certainly remain undetectable by direct.means." Likewise
the ether of Heisenberg's version of quantum mechanics is a virtual
ether unattainable in the normal sense and a product of the
uncertainty of fixing absolute position in space. Realists would
criticise this approach to modelling and theory building, but it is
as well to realise that theories (and analogues)are constructs of
the imagination, invented by us to integrate, interpret and
correlate scientific observations. They are provisional instruments,
and should never be interpreted in a naively realistic spirit.


An ether exposition of fundamental, small scale phenomena, embracing
the structure of microparticles and quantum mechanics, which is
compatible with relativity exists in outline. The most promising
make use of a frame-space ether identified with the zero point
field, or a quantum soup, or Brownian gas. Analogues interpreting
the micro-phenomena underlying the activities of the physical vacuum
take the form of Planckian ethers, chaotic turbulence composed of
quantized vortices, and other variations of the vortex-sponge.

The situation with respect to ether theories of matter and vacuum is
much more complex that that of ether theories in the context of
cosmology because of the much more intricate and multifacted
phenomena to be described: hence the proliferation of alternative
theories and analogues. Instead of adding to the alternatives, it
would be better if physicists could compare their work with that of
others, and work towards a fruitful synthesis. Can one best theory,
and one best analogue be identified?

The reviewer believes the vortex-sponge to be the most promising. It
began as an analogue for an ether interpretation of General
Relativity, developed by Hartley in the 1940s and 1950s on the basis
of work done earlier by Kelvin, Larmor and Lorentz. Only much later,
in the last few years, was it realised that this vortex-sponge can
be used in theories of the zero point field; chaos theory, and
applications outside traditional physics. For example, the
possibility of enduring patterns emerging by chance in chaotic media
is being considered by biologists, and specialists in
evolutionarygenetics, as an explanation of how self-organising
matter and life forms) might have emerged. The interaction of
molecules with their environment has lead chemists towards the study
of the physical vacuum, chaos and "ether", and advances in
vortexsponge theory might come from outside physics, from quantum
chemistry or microbiology. This work complements the work of
physicists working at the atomic, and sub-atomic level, as much of
it deals with molecular-scale phenomena, though the study of energy
interchanges with the surrounding void, by which complex, encoded
patterns are built up in time, has led the quantum biochemist to
enquire as to what physical activities are taking place in this
supposedly empty space.

The laboratory detection of phenomena, predicted by the earlier
vortex-sponge analogues, in supercooled liquids like helium has
greatly enhanced the status of models which can no longer be
dismissed as being of no use in the physics of experiment and
measurement. Vortex-sponges have now been observed, and this has led
to a growing interest in the past and present development of the
model. It is interesting that the pioneers of the very low
temperature work which resulted in detection of quantum mechanical
behaviour in supercooled helium did not know of the vortex-sponge
until physicists like Kelly and Winterberg, and others who studied
the analogue, informed them about it.

The reviewer's personal opinion is that an overall synthesis might
be achieved by accepting Einstein's relativistic world-ether as the
static, geometric picture of the space-time continuum of events,
which in its dynamic formulation appears as the frame space-times of
experimental physics. Here, the cosmology and relativity of
Prokhovnik, Builder and Paparadopoulos, represent the most promising
approach. If the physical activity of the space of the reference
frames is to be modelled in terms of ether, Winterberg's theory has
a claim to being one of the most comprehensive, and it is compatible
with Prokhovnik et al., identifying the fundamental frame of
reference (filled with ether) with the universe galaxies.

However it must be appreciated that many physicists, mathematicians,
chemists, biochemists, and engineers are not interested in "physical
modelling", and are content to accept mathematical expressions
provided they solve problems. They accept that physics has become
mathematics, and regard ethertype modelling as archaic. Others have
little patience with "grand comprehensive theories" which seek to
unify all physics, whether these theories are mathematical, like
superstring theory, or physical, like the all-embracing ether
theories of Kelvin. They argue that the great advances of modern
physics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, "big bang" cosmology
and nuclear physics (with its impressive practical applications) did
not wait to be integrated with each other before developing to
successful maturity. What is more, mathematics formed them - not
physical considerations in the traditional sense. Perhaps physics is
more like engineering than physicists care to admit: engineers use
which theory is needed to solve a problem - they don't trouble to
integrate all of it into one grand comprehensive model. Whilst
disagreeing with these views, I do not think they can be simply
thrust aside.

One must not present the physical interpretations as alternatives to
the mathematical, but as supplements, and the ether formulations
would be greatly strengthened if the vortex sponge, with its wave
particles and wave packets, was geometrised and given a space-time
continuum formulation, as Jennison has done with his model of an
electron. I suspect the result would be very like some of the
pulsating space-time pictures associated with geometrodynamics.

Finally, it can at least be said that if a grand comprehensive
unifying physical picture of modern science is sought, relativistic
world-ether theory is one way of getting it, though it is not the
only one.

[Only registered users see links. ]

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Old 01-06-2004, 06:40 PM
Uncle Al
Posts: n/a

Laurent wrote:
[snip 760 lines of reprehensible crap]

1) Put it on a Web page and post a link, you unmannered jackass.

2) Phys. Rev. Lett. 88(1) 010401 (2002)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 060403 (2003)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 42(9) 549 (1979)
Phys. Bull. 21 255 (1970)
Europhysics Lett. 56(2) 170 (2001)
Gen. Rel. Grav. 34(9) 1371 (2002)

3) [Only registered users see links. ]

You see yourself this way,
The entire remainder of the planet sees you this way,

4) If empirical reality says you are a jackass, then you are an
empirical jackass,
Experimental constraints on General Relativity.
Nature 425 374 (2003)
[Only registered users see links. ]
Relativity in the GPS system
[Only registered users see links. ]
Deeply relativistic neutron star binary

Uncle Al
[Only registered users see links. ]
[Only registered users see links. ]
(Do something naughty to physics)
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Old 01-06-2004, 08:53 PM
Franz Heymann
Posts: n/a

"Laurent" <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message
news:[Only registered users see links. ]...


I presume you obtained Duffy's permission to quote what looks like the
totality of a paper by him.

And what on earth persuaded you to copy the whole paper instead of just
giving the URL?


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Old 01-07-2004, 09:05 AM
Posts: n/a

"Laurent" <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message
news:[Only registered users see links. ]...


That is not a generalisation but an oversimplification, if not a

The above describes a kind of Stokes ether concept, which was generally
discarded when no "ether wind" around matter could be detected - wasn't that
long before 1916?
Lorentz also claimed that that concept was shown to be wrong in theory (I
did not see the evidence for that).
It have the impression that from ca. 1904 Lorentz' ether concept became
rather well known, in which matter is a kind of waves in the ether.


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Old 01-07-2004, 04:01 PM
Posts: n/a

"Franz Heymann" <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message
news:btf792$gcv$[Only registered users see links. ]...

I don't need permission.

Perhaps you should contact Mr. Duffy about this, maybe you can make
him sue me for admiring and diffusing his work.


So that the lazy ones would be more inclined to, at least, read some
of it.


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Old 01-08-2004, 10:27 PM
Bill Hobba
Posts: n/a

Laurent quoted:
'The ether concept is not incompatible with General Relativity and the
geometrised approach to any department of physics. The Poincare-Lorentz
programme is seen, today, as a physical interpretation in terms of rods and
clocks, and sometimes using analogues of the physical vacuum, of a formal
structure which can be given a geometrised expression following Einstein,
blinkowski, Freundlich, Weyl, and more recent geometers. In fact, starting
with the relativistic world ether of Einstein is probably the best way of
introducing any review of the ether in present day physics.'

No the aether is not incompatible with SR or GR. However the problem is
none (in the 19th century sense) has ever been detected. The vacuum of QM
(which is defined as the no particle state) can equally be defined as the
aether. Certainly vacuum effects have been detected so one may say the
aether has been detected (based on the non generally accepted definition
mentioned previously). But be careful here. The faulty logical processes
of some aetherists then male a leap that logic does not allow them to - they
associate the vacuum state with the aether theories of Lorentz or Maxwell.
Such is not permissible because the vacuum of QFT is a quantum state so does
not obey classical mechanics principals hence the Maxwell aether can not be
the vacuum state. Also the vacuum state conforms to the POR which means it
can not be at rest relative to a preferred frame as is required for example
by Lorent's aether. BTW for the record I do not believe in the aether -
even the aether of the vacuum because such is to far removed from its
original formulation to have any real value. And as for Einstein's comments
on the matter he stated he hoped it would guide future directions on
physics - we now know the answer to that - it was of zero value.


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Old 01-09-2004, 11:14 PM
John Sefton
Posts: n/a

Uncle Al oozed:

Reprehensible is a word that fits you well.

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ether , matter , mechanics , models , quantum

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