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taeto last won the day on August 1 2018

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  1. That is an interesting comment. I cannot come up with many examples of "opponents" of relativity from the first half of the 20'th century who were obviously anti-semitic. It did not really kick in as a popular item until late. I could volunteer numerous examples that I have encountered and/or engaged of current day anti-Einstein cranks who are very openly anti-semitic (as well as anti-Cantor cranks, for that matter). These days, it seems a vastly more popular thing. Admittedly, it is usually easier to identify a crank in our time, because it has to deny a hugely larger compound of observational evidence than was present 75 years ago. In previous times, they seemed somehow more timid and less attracted to public exposure. So that might skew the statistics.
  2. Now I suspect that you are just trolling me. The point is, that in the pre-1930 discussion there might be present a concept of a kind of "pure vacuum", really literally with nothing in it, no permittivity, no permeability, no stuff whatsoever. Just like school children are taught today everywhere. Which we well know nowadays is not the case, but I want to keep it open that at least some people at that time might have believed this to be the case. Einstein definitely had lots of evidence to support that the actual vacuum has nonzero permittivity and permeability. He obviously had no experimental evidence to support what a hypothetical "pure vacuum" without QM phenomena happening would behave like, because such a thing did not exist then either.
  3. Is "an ideal vacuum" a perfect vacuum in some classical sense, or in a QM sense? Those are distinct, no?
  4. The problem with that, I think, is that there is no "uncontaminated" vacuum between the plates. If there were, the experiment might come out differently than what it actually does. Now, in 2019? Why is that relevant?
  5. Remember we are talking pre 1930. Did Einstein at that time have reason to believe in a "pure" vacuum, of the really empty kind, or in a "contaminated" vacuum, of the QM type? And if he was certain of which, then what is the experimental evidence which he would have had?
  6. I thought that permittivity and permeability would be observed physical quantities. How would you gather mathematical evidence of their quantitative values? Anyway, Eise already presented mathematical evidence, to argue that if either magnetic permeability or electric permittivity vanishes, then the speed of light becomes infinite.
  7. I suspect that you miss the point. The actual vacuum has positive magnetic permeability and electric permittivity. Which we can both measure. The imagined "perfect" vacuum presumably has no magnetic permeability nor electric permittivity, hence the speed of light is infinite therein. If you for some reason believe that a vacuum could conceivably act like that, then you would have to admit that there would be no absolute bound to the speed of light. The suggestion seems to be that the actually observed vacuum is a "contaminated" version of such an idealized vacuum. The actual vacuum has stuff in it which slows down light to a finite speed. We do actually observe such a "contamination" in the shape of QM effects.
  8. Thank you very much Eise, for a very nice account! Your conclusion here is consistent with what I would have expected. Which is why I raised the topic, since I was very surprised to learn that there were knowledgeably people even in this forum who thought differently. Of course I also appreciate their thoughts on this question. And yet: Not all authors would have thought that Einstein's idea of the invariance of the speed of light only goes back to the Michelson-Morley experiment. I mentioned that Emanuel Lasker was in continuous contact with Einstein, so this would not have been an issue for him. In the same vein, misunderstandings about SR, or strict adhesion to Kantian principles, can be ruled out on the same grounds for that particular author. And I do not think that the positivism issue comes up strongly when you are in a discussion with a pure-bred mathematician, as in this case. Although it could be debatable in special cases, but I do not think in this one. I have met mathematicians who seem a little quirky. Einstein and Lasker would have had hours and hours of friendly chat about relativity. I will try to make a guess of what a central point might have been, and maybe it would not have been a trivial one for either of them. I suspect that the statement "light travels with speed c through vacuum with respect to every inertial frame of reference" would have the same meaning to both of them, in terms of experimental validity. It is what you see and measure. I also suspect that Lasker thought that Einstein expects that vacuum is a complete void, literally with no content whatsoever. And Lasker expected that light would move with "infinite speed" through a complete nothing. Today we are in a comfortable position to say that if Lasker was right about what Einstein thought about a vacuum, then Einstein would be wrong, because of the effects of QM. I am not sure whether we can say that Lasker was wrong about assuming how fast light would move if there is "nothing" in place of an actual vacuum, he might have been right?! If my suspicion is right, then Lasker would be wholly justified, based on the explanation that were available to him given by Einstein himself, to be critical of relativity. It comes down to Einstein's level of agreement or disagreement with QM, so far as I can see. But always happy to be corrected.
  9. Thanks studiot, and also strange, BeeCee, swansont, Eise, MigL, for many thoughtful comments and information! Lasker: practically a neighbor to Einstein in Berlin. They were fairly close friends for nearly a decade, and both being jewish, they fled Germany as soon as they could in 1933 after Hitler came to power. Surely Lasker would be very far from being "one of those opposed to Einstein" in an obvious sense. That in my view makes Lasker's contribution to the pamphlet interesting, because he is not obviously one who would go Einstein-bashing just because it was a free-for-all at that time, or with racist/religious motivation. And it is hard to dismiss him as an idiot, like you probably could do now with some of the other contributors. I am interested in the fact that he was a close friend of Einstein, and he contributed to a collective criticism of Einstein. Which is what you would expect a serious scientific mind to do, I am sure you agree? Disagreement or not about science should be independent of friendship. The timing was a bit iffy, admittedly. The threat was perceived differently by the potential victims. Some got out in time, like Lasker and Einstein, who were among those with the best resources. Still, the both waited until late 1933. If already 2-3 years before, or even earlier, they were hard under pressure, why would they wait until Nazi Germany came into full effect? Especially if the thugs were already preventing them to publish their own thoughts, and instead forcing them to write ridiculous pamphlets in support of nazi ideas? The nazis certainly had quickly built a reputation for violent and criminal behavior. Hitler himself spent time in prison even before the 20's had started. The story is that Lasker was quite open about not liking the constant speed of light in vacuum, because of the implications to the relativity of simultaneity in particular. That is why I call it a "philosophical" problem for him, it seemed to him an unnatural consequence, however much supported by the mathematics, with which of course he had to agree. For possible comparison, Hubble did not like the ideas of expansion of the universe, and tried to ridicule "the big bang". I just imagine that the idea made him feel uneasy. But I would not call him a "crank" for that reason. Despite there likely being more evidence in his disfavor than there was available earlier to Lasker (who I imagine would also be well-informed, as he was in constant dialogue with Einstein). Fair enough. I am actually the one who speak in favor of the accepted explanation in the case of Lasker's contribution, that he was genuinely worried about some of the consequences of relativity, and therefore he chose to write his small piece. It was BeeCee who came up with a fairly extraordinary claim, with no extraordinary evidence, that he had to make up something to make Einstein sound bad, or there would be consequences, because Nazi Germany. Some of the other 99 contributors probably had ulterior motives, I am not disputing it. I should have expanded some more. There were 100 authors to this publication, and I believe that Einstein acknowledged this. One of them was a close friend and fellow scientist, also jewish, and a prominent figure in his day. This seems special. Maybe some authors were more than willing to chime in, maybe driven by animosity, or because the times were so that it was convenient to bash the jews, or just because they didn't really care or understand the physics anyway. But Lasker would seem the most unlikely to fall in any of those categories. But was he really under tough pressure to make an attack on Einstein. Or did he just voice his honest opinion. I find it interesting, because if Lasker actually didn't believe in relativity despite having had nine years to his avail of discussions and explanations by Einstein himself, then maybe there was or is something about relativity that is genuinely difficult.
  10. Fine. So now you require that I trace down for every one of the 100 contributions to this anti-Einstein pamphlet, who wrote it and why, otherwise the question is not even qualified to be considered in this forum? I chose to focus on one contribution, which was clearly thoughtful and made by a fairly clever chap, who was unfortunately unaware of observations that were forthcoming about 30 years ahead of time. If such a question is really abhorred in the forum then I request that this thread also be closed down as swiftly as the other one.
  11. I oppose rather strongly to the above characterization of a "crank". If there is no or a very little experimental evidence, it is not reasonable to deem someone a "crank" who somehow has a philosophical or other reason to suggest a different interpretation of the evidence which is available at that point in time. I have encountered a number of actual cranks, and they are either ignorant of experimental facts or attribute their knowledge of said facts to pure conspiracy. None of that needs to be present in a criticism of relativity between 1905-1931 which could only be resolved into the 1970's by experiment. In the particular case in question, the contribution to the publication was authored by Einstein's good friend Emanuel Lasker, who, as his wife, was also jewish. Both Einstein and Lasker fled Germany in 1933, soon after Hitler came to power. Both Lasker and Einstein were eminently prominent figures. If anti-semitism was so strongly prominent in pre-Nazi Germany, stretching back to 1931 and even before then, enough that the nazis could coerce Lasker into writing some kind of nonsense crank criticism of relativity that he did not believe in himself, why could the nazis not, even simpler, try to make Einstein himself repent his relativistic jewish sins in writing? Yes, Lasker had a wife, true, that might help for repression. But Einstein had a daughter too, right?
  12. Yes, that was the thread. No, it actually seemed to me that someone else than the OP was making stuff up, and the moderator did not intervene with the made up stuff, even though it was pointed out. The OP certainly had some quirks in that thread, so I cannot disagree with the closing of it. I just wondered how to continue the discussion when you are cut off like that. Because obviously if you have to start a new thread, it becomes a lot of work to repeat all the context and the arguments that were present in the closed thread. Though in this case it was a fierce opponent of the OP against another opponent to the OP kind of debate.
  13. I believe that you are ahead of Euler by now. He had hundreds of theorems and lemmas, but no "laws".
  14. I got encouraged, I think, to open a new thread on a topic that was sub-sub-topic in an already closed thread. I was just very curious about the historical facts and how people think about questions like this. It is well-known that a publication surfaced in 1931, in Germany, supposedly containing the writings of 100 people slash scientists(?) each of which attempted to criticize Einstein slash RT slash GR. Einstein replied, sensibly, that if anything is actually wrong with relativity, then a single opponent with a valid objection should be quite sufficient. This seems to not have swayed the Einstein cranks one bit, as they do actually still have a penchant to reference those same contributions, as if their seemingly common occurrence shows valid evidence against GR. The question is what motivated the 100 supposed authors to make their contributions to this publication. I heard for the first time the suggestion that they would do this as a result of pressure from the Nazi party slash individual Nazi party members. So even though only the period 1933-1945 really qualifies as the "Nazi Germany" rule, it would have very much applied also a few years before, in 1931. In fact, one of the authors of the publication was Emanuel Lasker, a long-year world champion of chess and a respected professional mathematician at the time. Lasker published his own objections to relativity at least as far back as 1928 as well, though mostly philosophically inspired. Again it was suggested, to me surprisedly, that he did this only through pressure from the nazis. This gets very interesting. Both Einstein and Lasker were hugely prominent figures in Germany. They lived nearby from each other in Berlin and were good friends. It was only in Bavaria that the nazis had anything like moderate influence. The Nazi party had about 1% representation in the German parliament, and no measurable support in Berlin before 1929. It would be historically interesting if they were already in 1928 in a position to influence the publications of reputable scientists. What would be the mechanism by which this is possible?
  15. Okay then, but thanks! I will just open a new thread, I guess that would be the default. I got genuinely curious about the unresolved discussion that was running in the closed thread.
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