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Dunash
2002-Feb-06, 08:50 AM
Is this article wrong?
Didn't JJ Thompson write the formula first in 1881?!
http://www.rense.com/general19/ital.htm

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-06, 09:05 AM
Check out this article (http://www.rense.com/general3/myth.htm). Apparently, Jeff Rense accepts some articles at face value, and publishes them on the webpages, and allows others to criticize them.

Rob Thorpe
2002-Feb-06, 02:47 PM
On 2002-02-06 03:50, Dunash wrote:

Is this article wrong?
Didn't JJ Thompson write the formula first in 1881?!
http://www.rense.com/general19/ital.htm


Not quite.
JJ Thompson had another constant in E=mc^2, I think it was either 2/3 or 3/2. Lorentz also wrote it down before Einstein again with another constant.
The idea of mass-energy equivalence had been thrown around for years before Einstein for example by Poincare.

Chip
2002-Feb-06, 04:16 PM
By way of analogy, in music -- Bach used the exotic sounding augmented 6th chord many years before Beethoven, (who also used it occasionally,) then Wagner used it in a different way in Tristan und Isolde and revolutionized music yet again.

Concepts of mass/energy (as well as relativity) predate Einstein. But Einstein used these and other concepts to create staggeringly original and relevant theories that are testable and observable in nature.

Though Einstein was not infallible, his deserved stature and fame as a popular icon in the national conscious still draws criticism ranging from simple critical analysis of his theories, to irrational envy, to darker ulterior motives based on his ethnic, political, or religious affiliations.

Donnie B.
2002-Feb-06, 06:14 PM
On 2002-02-06 11:16, Chip wrote:
Though Einstein was not infallible, his deserved stature and fame as a popular icon in the national conscious still draws criticism ranging from simple critical analysis of his theories, to irrational envy, to darker ulterior motives based on his ethnic, political, or religious affiliations.


I don't dispute any of the motives you mention, but it seems to me you omitted the most common one. Einstein (as a symbol of modern science and cosmology) represents a threat to those whose inflexible, faith-based worldviews are incompatible with said science and cosmology.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Donnie B. on 2002-02-06 13:17 ]</font>

Chip
2002-Feb-06, 07:05 PM
On 2002-02-06 13:14, Donnie B. wrote:
Einstein (as a symbol of modern science and cosmology) represents a threat to those whose inflexible, faith-based worldviews are incompatible with said science and cosmology.


Well put. Not that someone who puts forth an alternative theory or modification is "out to get" Einstein. However, there are those who seem to attack him openly or cloaked within their own theory, ulterior motive, or revisionist history.

lpetrich
2002-Feb-06, 10:47 PM
I think that the story is more complicated that that. There is a certain genre of physics crackpottery ("Down with Einstein!" in Martin Gardner's _Fads and Fallacies_) that involves rejecting the theories of the biggest names in physics.

Thus, during the 19th cy., there were several physics crackpots who rejected the existence of gravity; though when pressed, one of them claimed that gravity exists, but does not extend all the way to the Moon (story from astronomer Simon Newcomb). Also, there were some who rejected the wave theory of sound, arguing for a particle theory instead. They'd argue about how difficult it is to keep a great mass of air in motion, as if emitting lots of sound particles is no real difficulty. In fairness to that genre of crackpottery, according to quantum mechanics, sound is quantized, thus acquiring particle properties. But sound still has wave properties, so the crackpots still lose.

Moving to the 20th cy., lots of these crackpots turned to attacking Einstein and relativity; especially amusing was the case of a certain George Francis Gillette, whose "spiral Universe" is extremely funny. Many of these crackpots see themselves as restoring the honor and reputation of Newton, whom they consider unjustly rejected. GFG's "spiral Universe" "out-Newton's Newton", for example.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lpetrich on 2002-02-06 17:51 ]</font>

Chip
2002-Feb-07, 04:13 AM
OK. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

I like your phrase "crackpottery." Nice imagery!

At the turn of the 20th Century here was also a group of people then termed "paradoxers." Their mission seemed to have been to confound modern science in the manner you have outlined. They pestered astronomers in those days as well.

ToSeek
2002-Feb-07, 01:27 PM
Another theory crackpots seem to go after, almost universally, is the Big Bang Theory. I don't know why.

Wiley
2002-Feb-07, 04:59 PM
Here's a question for y'all. Was Einstein aware of the pre-1905 formulas of the form E = K mc^2 where K is a constant?

This question is not as silly as it sounds. First, Einstein was notoriously bad at keeping up with the literature, and second, while working as a patent clerk, he did not have ready access to the literature. According to Pais's biography, Einstein was unaware of Lorentz's work after about 1890 (I'm going from memory so this date is approximate).

So did Einstein develop E = mc^2 in ...ahem... a vacuum?

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-07, 05:07 PM
Some vacuum. He studied graduate physics under some of the great ones. Still, what we're talking about here was fairly speculative.

He'd read Mach, though, and though he always claimed to not have read about the MM experiment, he seems to have been familiar with works that derived from it.

Wiley
2002-Feb-07, 06:03 PM
On 2002-02-07 12:07, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Some vacuum. He studied graduate physics under some of the great ones. Still, what we're talking about here was fairly speculative.


I always find it amusing that crackpots like Joe Newmann and CNN always portray Einstein as simple patent clerk with no formal education. As you point out, at ETH he studied under some of the great ones, but in the biographies I've read, I never got the feeling he was truly mentored by them as they never mentioned who is doctoral advisor was. But absence of proof is not proof of absence.

And yes, it speculative. But that's why its fun. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif



He'd read Mach, though, and though he always claimed to not have read about the MM experiment, he seems to have been familiar with works that derived from it.


If he was not aware of MM, the in his intro to "On the electrodynamics of ..." which experiment(s) is refering to? To refresh your memory...



Examples of this sort, together with the unsuccessful attempts to discover any motion of the earth relatively to the ``light medium,'' suggest that the phenomena of electrodynamics as well as of mechanics possess no properties corresponding to the idea of absolute rest.

ChallegedChimp
2002-Feb-08, 12:09 PM
Just a dumb monkey question, but after nearly one hundred years... why is Einstein's Theory still a Theory and not a Law? What is it that we cannot test to prove whether E=MC2 (haven't got that little 2 on me keyboard)is true or not? It seems we base a lot of our physic knowledge on this theory but haven't proven it yet? Erm... we are 99% sure this is the truth, and we base all our knowledge in the area on it, but what happens if the Cosmic lottery hits and it ain't true? Seems like we could prove it. Kinda like the Theory of Evolution I guess (which we could prove if Mother Nature wouldna take so long to get quality in her product) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif
Just a dumb monkey question from the peanut gallery.

informant
2002-Feb-08, 01:19 PM
If I may...

You can't "prove" a theory about nature.
All you can do is test it. If it survives enough tests, you start to get convinced that it's probably true. But this is just common sense, not proof.
Newton's physics was "true" all though the 19th century, and then all of a sudden everything changed. Of course it had never really been proven to be true; it had just been *put to the test* a large number of times, and passed.
Then, one fine day, it didn't pass the test.
Maybe one day that will happen to Einstein's Relativity Theory too. It's always possible.

Simon
2002-Feb-08, 04:33 PM
Well said. I believe the definition of a theory is "a statement that makes a prediction which can be disproved."

Wiley
2002-Feb-08, 05:21 PM
There is confusion between the scientific definition of theory and the colloquial definition. (Anyone who has debated a creationist can attest to this.) The latter is more akin to hypothesis or conjecture while a scientific theory (to me, at least) has three parts:

1.) Accounts for current observations.
2.) Can be used to make predictions.
3.) Is falsifiable.

This is pretty much what you said Simon, only a little more wordy.




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Wiley on 2002-02-08 12:23 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-08, 10:42 PM
On 2002-02-07 13:03, Wiley wrote:
If he was not aware of MM, the in his intro to "On the electrodynamics of ..." which experiment(s) is refering to?
That's what I meant. Clearly, he was at least familiar with the derived literature. Whether he was familiar with MM directly is almost irrelevant--but he said he wasn't, I think.

Wiley
2002-Feb-13, 03:54 PM
On 2002-02-07 12:07, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Some vacuum. He studied graduate physics under some of the great ones. Still, what we're talking about here was fairly speculative.


Howdy Grapes,

I did little research. And great ones were Weber and Minkowski. The former he hated and the latter he liked. Although neither was a mentor in the way that is common today.



He'd read Mach, though, and though he always claimed to not have read about the MM experiment, he seems to have been familiar with works that derived from it.


In his Kyoto address in 1921, Al said that he studied Lorentz's 1895 paper, which mentions the MM experiment and the null result. So he had indirect knowledge of the experiment at the least. My guess is, knowing of the negative results of Fizaeu's experiment and stellar aberration, Einstein accepted Lorentz's telling of the MM experiment and never (pre SR) develved deeper.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-13, 05:09 PM
On 2002-02-13 10:54, Wiley wrote:
Although neither was a mentor in the way that is common today.
I dunno about common today, I hear plenty of horror stories about graduate research and relationships with advisors.

The main point is that Einstein did his work in a vacuum, and yet he didn't. He was married to a fellow physicist, who understood some of his work. Just imagine that pillow talk.

If you're going to create a new, and successful, form of mechanics, it's probably best to be a little bit isolated, don't you think? The idea alone is isolating. Still, he wasn't "just" a patent clerk. He was credentialed to teach graduate physics courses at university, right? He just didn't have a job.

Wiley
2002-Feb-13, 07:10 PM
On 2002-02-13 12:09, GrapesOfWrath wrote:


On 2002-02-13 10:54, Wiley wrote:
Although neither was a mentor in the way that is common today.
I dunno about common today, I hear plenty of horror stories about graduate research and relationships with advisors.

<-- snipped disturbing images /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif -->

If you're going to create a new, and successful, form of mechanics, it's probably best to be a little bit isolated, don't you think? The idea alone is isolating. Still, he wasn't "just" a patent clerk. He was credentialed to teach graduate physics courses at university, right? He just didn't have a job.


Weber promised an assistantship to Einstein, but never delivered. This seems to the root of Einstein's antipathy towards Weber. Minkowski tried to get Einstein an assistantship, but for some unknown reason it never materialized. So, yes he was definitely qualified to teach; he just didn't have a job.

Enter friend Grossman. Grossman got his father to pull a few strings and got Einstein a job as a patent clerk, 3rd class. Towards the end of 1905, he was promoted to 2nd class. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Wiley on 2002-02-13 14:11 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-14, 02:04 PM
On 2002-02-13 14:10, Wiley wrote:
Enter friend Grossman. Grossman got his father to pull a few strings and got Einstein a job as a patent clerk, 3rd class. Towards the end of 1905, he was promoted to 2nd class. :)
They say he would have had a great career there if he'd just stuck with it. But that's modern employee loyalty for ya.