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CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Notes on Relativity by Edward Hoerdt [refresh]
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Author Edward Hoerdt wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 15:33 GMT
Essay Abstract

The following is a personal assessment of a personal question the author has had of Einstein’s Relativity Theory, particularly the foundation on which it was based, namely the Michelson/Morley Experiment of 1887 that tried to detect the effect of Ether on the speed of light. The author tries to point out that there was a basic flaw in their calculations that led them to conclude that the speed of light is constant no matter what the conditions. The paper was actually written in 1996 but lay dormant until now when opportunity arose with FQXI to make public, if possible. The original paper also touches on General Relativity, but it is here omitted due to space limitations.

Author Bio

Edward Hoerdt is an architect by profession, having studied at Harvard for his Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree. While at Harvard he worked for the office of Buckminster Fuller (and Sadao) who encouraged him to doubt his elders and the status quo.

Download Essay PDF File

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Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 20:27 GMT
Hi Edward,

Many of us do agree with you that SR may not be the ultimate and correct theory.

The Michelson-Morley experiment  never has been analysed in full, for the good reason that it actually raises a paradox. If the number of crests, of the light wave, are counted between the mirrors then these are different to observers in different reference frames.   As this number is a physical state, then the first axiom of SR is contradicted.

The full analysis you can find in my essay.


Anton  @ (  ../topic/1458  )

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Edward Hoerdt replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 07:07 GMT
Hello Anton!

Thank you for your message. Please forgive this belated reply as I had been busy with my professional work.

I have read your essay. Congratulations on your beautifully documented and "naratived" style. It was fun reading it.

Not trained in the language you speak as a scientist, I must admit I could not follow your relatively complicated equations towards the end, such that I am not in a position to comment on your essay.

I hope this would be the beginning of a friendly relationship in physics.


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 05:11 GMT
Hi Edward,

Interesting essay. I agree with you that the relativity of simultaneity is not interpreted in the right way; usually it is viewed as a "transformation of the Lorentz group," but I tend to think it has to do with different possible orderings of events than don't causally influence each other. I discuss this in my essay On the Foundational Assumptions of Modern Physics. Don't get me wrong; I have a lot of admiration for Einstein in general, but Einstein himself would have gotten nowhere if he hadn't questioned those before him, so we should do the same today!

Also, could you say a few words about your view of general relativity, since space considerations prevented you from including that part of your paper? Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Edward Hoerdt replied on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 02:50 GMT
Hello Ben!

Thank you for your message.

I am now in the process of editing my paper including General Relativity to be presentable. I will forward you it as soon as it is finished.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 07:06 GMT
Hi Edward,

Since the number of essays is approaching 300, you will perhaps not expect compelling support with Fig. 5 of an essay devoted to even more basic questions .


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Gurcharn Singh Sandhu wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 09:30 GMT
Dear Edward,

I appreciate your concerns with Relativity and I liked the detailed analysis presented in your essay. But finally, do you conclude that the two founding postulates of Relativity are wrong?

All authors in this contest have presented their viewpoints in different styles. In the grand maze of the unknown it is important to consider all possible alternatives and different viewpoints for building a consolidated common approach.

Kindly read my essay titled,"Wrong Assumptions of Relativity Hindering Fundamental Research in Physical Space". Do let me know if you don't get convinced about the invalidity of the founding assumptions of Relativity or regarding the efficacy of the proposed simple experiments for detection of absolute motion.

Best Wishes

G S Sandhu

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Edward Hoerdt replied on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 03:35 GMT
Dear Gurcharn,

Thank you for your message. Yes, I can only conclude from my essay that the 2 postulates of Relativity must be wrong, especially in consideration of the "nonlocality" phenomenon.

I have read your essay with much interest. Congratulations! Although we differ somewhat in our approach, we stand together in our results.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 11:15 GMT

You resurrect Newton's emission theory of light when you write: "What the Michelson*Morley Experiment demonstrated was the fact that the Principle of Relativity applies to the electromagnetic phenomenon of light just as well as it applies to particles with mass... (...) lf indeed light velocity does not depend on the velocity of its source or of it's receiving end, then the Principle of Relativity does not apply to light, just as it does not apply to sound. However, the Michelson*Morley Experiment clearly and only indicates that the Principle of Relativity does apply to light, and hence the velocity of light must be dependent on the velocity of it's source, or receiver, or both, and hence not absolute but relative."

See this:

Relativity and Its Roots, Banesh Hoffmann: "Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether."

Pentcho Valev

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Eckard replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 12:06 GMT

Did you refute my explanation of Feist's result?


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Author Edward Hoerdt replied on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 06:52 GMT
Hello Pentcho!

Thank you for referring me to Hoffman's article. I was not aware of it. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone in my thinking.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 08:39 GMT
Dear Edward

Congratulations for publishing your study at fqxi. This is a good place to get a lot of opinions from readers of different backgrounds ranging from the interested layman to the university physics professor. I have not read Michelson Morley's original paper, and wonder how they presented their experimental results and analysis. Did they actually go through the path calculations or merely show that the interference pattern does not change?

Another point that has been discussed and debated is whether Einstein wrote Special Relativity in order to explain the MM experiments and its "no ether" results, or just to answer puzzling questions about electromagnetic dynamics?.

It is important to check and re-analyze these pivotal experiments and theories (as you did) because they were made with definite assumptions about matter and the vacuum, light and motion. Do these assumptions still apply? If there is an ether, is matter opaque to it, like a stone in water, or, as I have treated it in my Beautiful Universe Theory, matter and space and radiation are all made of the same thing?

Fascinating questions that will keep us all busy.

I hope you will inform readers here about your fascinating work on modelling atomic structure where your architectural instincts and Bucky's ideas are allowed to develop in full play. Have fun.

With best wishes,


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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 17:43 GMT
Dear Edward Hoerdt,

Continuum of matters described in Coherently-cyclic cluster-matter paradigm of universe, expresses the Luminiferous aether as an unstructured grid of tetrahedra, in that the wave mechanics differs.

With best wishes,


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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 17, 2012 @ 21:21 GMT

Congratulations on a professional analysis and clearly written essay, from an optical physicist/astronomer whose also a fellow Architect. However. I've also been working on a solution to the SR paradoxes, and found a full ontology offering a more simple and consistent solution to your D23 (train, light flash) case.

First I must express agreement with your hypotenuse case,...

view entire post

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Edward Hoerdt replied on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 09:37 GMT
Peter, thank you for your kind message. Unfortunately I have not been able to read your essay/s yet due to a number of "deadlines" I must meet for my architectural work. I hope to read them sometime soon.

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 21:45 GMT
Dear Edward Hoerdt

I also have the same outcome as you when study the nature of light.

Glad to know you, please share your expectations with the truth.

Kind Regards !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Vijay Mohan Gupta wrote on Oct. 2, 2012 @ 19:34 GMT
Dear Edward Hoerdt

As normal, interpretation of experimental can vary depending on orientation of group analysing the result. In this case (Michelson/Morley Experiment), it was simple that the expected effect of drag was not noticed. The interference patterns were missing. There was no change in interference pattern on rotation etc. as well. The mathematical/geometrical representation of finding is different matter.

The first conclusion by Lorentz was the Lorentz transformations. Einstein read it to mean as invariance of speed of light. Further he raised the invariance of speed of light as invariance of laws of universe relative to observers. (This can be said to be birth place of thoughts on symmetry - from geometry to invariance with transformation). This raised speed of light to be universal truth statement.

As a PicoPhysicist, I agree with Einstein's interpretation of invariance of speed of light as universal truth. PicoPhysicist job is not only to understand but also absorb the same into Unary law 'Space Contains Knergy'. This integration of SR with PicoPhysics is brought out in my essay on 5-Dimensional universe in mapping time dimension of Knergy onto one of Euclidean dimensions of space.

If we try to measure time and distance independent of each other, we will find answer as negative. That is what PicoPhysics mapping of Chronological dimension of Knergy onto Euclidean dimension (direction of displacement) results to - dependence of measurements of time and distance. Further PicoPhysics differ from SR in definition of simultaneity. While SR deals with measurements PicoPhysics defines simultaneity in relation on Konservation of Knergy of identity of photon.

Thus in PicoPhysics Plank's constant, Speed of Light and Hubble's constant are three fundamental constants of nature.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Vijay Gupta

Proponent - Unary Law Space Contains Knergy

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 04:12 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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