Relativity: Fact and Fiction

von Bruce Harvey 

Relativity: Fact and Fiction
A causal theory of Special Relativity based on the work of Lorentz and Poincaré
Bruce Harvey
NPA, 2006

We examine the two theories of Lorentz-Poincaré relativity and Einstein’s special relativity. One a causal theory based on Maxwell’s Equations, the other pure mathematics derived from a philosophical assumption.
The historical roots of special relativity are examined and evidence given to suggest that Einstein’s theory was plagiarised from the work of Lorentz Poincaré and others. Based on the ideas of Lorentz and Poincaré, we develop the theory with full mathematical rigor from Maxwell’s equations through contraction in length, increase in mass, effect on clock rate and clock synchronisation errors to derive the Lorentz transforms from the stationary to a moving systems. We show that Poincaré’s group theory analysis does not yield a group, but then prove that the use of the Lorentz transforms is valid between any two moving systems. We examine the differences between these two theories and highlight the flaws in Einstein’s theory. Our understanding of the nature of magnetic fields, the nature of the background and the calculation of kinetic energy are discussed.

The theory of relativity was not invented by Einstein. It evolved through the work of a number of men over about fifteen years. Anyone interested in the history should read the two volume edition of Whittaker’s ‚History Of The Theories Of The Aether And Electricity’1. The two leading men were Lorentz and Poincaré.

All the elements were in place in early 1905 and available to Einstein when he wrote his 1905 paper. He took Poincaré’s relativity principle and produced some neat mathematical fudges to derive the relativity equations from it. Whittaker points out that Einstein’s only original contribution was the relativistic Doppler effect1i.

The theory was developed in response to the failure of experiments to detect the earth’s motion though what Maxwell had described as „the luminiferous medium“ which he understood to be the seat of the electric and magnetic fields2i. Just what the ‚luminiferous medium‘ was remains a mystery whatever name it is given.

Maxwell proved that the speed of light depended on the electrical and magnetic properties of the æther (luminiferous medium) called permittivity and permeability determined the speed of light. Some speculated it should be possible to detect the earth’s motion through the æther by experiment but both electromagnetic and optical experiments had failed to detect anything. Most notable of these was the Michelson-Morley experiment which needs no further description. Fitzgerald had proposed that the null result could be explained if matter contracted in the direction of motion. The crucial development came with JJ Thompson’s discovery of electrons and the identification of beta rays as high speed electrons. Experimental attempts to measure the charge and mass of beta ray electrons showed that they travelled at near light speed and appeared to increase in mass with speed. Lorentz attempted to tie these two factors together in a single theory which predicted the contraction in length and explained the increase in mass. By 1915, more accurate experimental data on the mass increase confirmed Lorentz’s theory, but in 1905 the data favoured a rival theory of Abraham3i.

By its self, Lorentz’s theory is about a contraction in length and an increase in mass. Poincaré pointed out that these would result in a slowing of clocks1iii. He suggested that clocks could be synchronised by light pulses and showed that this resulted in synchronisation errors. Putting these factors together gave the Lorentz transform equations. These had originally been derived by others1iv and shown to preserve Maxwell’s equations. It was Poincaré who first speculated that the effects of motion through the æther conspired to make any attempt to detect the motion impossible and described this as the relativity principle1iii. The question was how?

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