Copyright, Harold Aspden, 1997

Abstract: On July 31, 1997 Rickard Iberg, a 22 year old computer science student in Sweden, who had seen the TUTORIAL NOTES section of my Web pages, sent me a message in which he posed certain questions concerning speed-of-light topics in connection with Einstein's theory and concerning my aether theory. My answer to those questions may be of general interest and so I have compiled this Feedback Note.


Rickard Iberg was quite enthusiastic about what I have disclosed in these Web pages and he posed the following questions, each with a suggested answer. I will now do by best to give a useful response to each of those questions.

A general observation I do make, however, is that, when I embarked upon the task of preparing what I wish to present on the Web, I was not sure how best to begin. You see, I seek to span an important field of energy technology, whilst bringing some really fundamental physics into the picture of things. Not everyone is interested in Einstein's theory and, indeed, my only interest in that subject arises because it has been thrust into my research path as an obstruction aimed at halting my efforts. Einstein's theory contributes nothing to the advance of technology but a great deal to inspiring science fiction writers. I chose the 'aether' as my platform because I decided to 'nail my colours to the mast' as it were and make no pretence in presenting my scientific case in a disguised form. I did that knowing that so many of those who teach physics, if questioned about the 'aether' will turn away in disgust, whereas inwardly they harbour doubts they dare not voice to their peers or their students. Perhaps they might read my Web pages protected by the cloak of anonymity that Internet presents to the general browser.

However, much as I wish to escape from the aura of Einstein's theory and its well trodden pathways concerning the speed of light and the timing of lightning flashes, time dilation, twins aging at different rates and the like, those are the topics that students dwell upon when they hear that Einstein's theory is being challenged. This is my response to the questions which Rickard Iberg has raised.


THE FIRST QUESTION "Is the speed of light constant?"

His suggested answer was: 'In one sense the answer is trivial. Since it defines the speed of propagation of energy/light in the aether it is constant, just as the speed of propagation of sound waves is constant. The question is really: If two observers are moving relative to the aether, if they check the time it takes to travel from one to the other, will the speed differ from c?' He then noted that my comments on 'optical sensing' in Lecture No. 5 suggests a 'yes' and a 'no' to the original question and 'yes' to the modified question, but added: 'I thought I'd ask just in case, since it is so important to get this right.'

Now, I would like to ask why the question is 'so important' because I suspect it is only important because Einstein made it important, even though it has no relevance whatsoever to anything of real importance in technology or cosmology. What I mean by this is that there is nothing to be gained by discussing the constancy of the speed of light within a philosophy that admits that space and time are variable.

Having said that I will now contradict myself, much as Einstein did so many times in his reasoning. Yes, I do know of an instance where the constancy of the speed of electromagnetic waves has importance technologically. I do not mean in connection with radar. If the speed of wave propagation varies by a few parts in a million owing to gravitational potential or the like, it will hardly have much impact on that technology. No, I have in mind something else.

Suppose you were a radio enthusiast in a hilly part of Switzerland and were working in your back garden well away from your house, listening also to your favorite radio program. Suppose that was a transmission over a fairly long distance, broadcast from the BBC in London. The transmission was long wave, amplitude modulated, but your main receiver for that transmission was equipment coupled to your main antenna in your house and you had arranged for retransmission by F.M. (frequency modulation) to the small receiver where you were working at the end of your garden. (This is better than supposing you are a young Einstein interested in lightning flashes as you sit on a moving train).

Now suppose that, all of a sudden, the perfect transmission you are getting by that radio system that is your pride and joy suddenly becomes noisy and incoherent owing to very bad signal distortion. You run back to your house to find that the A.M. long wave reception is still coming in with clarity and perfection, but your F.M. link is still suffering from that distortion and noise. You think something is wrong with your relay equipment, but before you have time to explore that problem your house is shaken by an earth tremor which you later discover has spread from an major earthquake many miles away in Northern Italy.

Upon recovering yourself from that shock you discover that your radio equipment is, in all respects, then functioning perfectly as if nothing had happened. You are then so concerned at this combination of circumstances that you write a letter to the editor of a scientific journal in U.K. drawing attention to these events. You would not do that unless you were very sure that here was a phenomenon that needed some attention.

Now I am not inventing this story. It happened in real life and is a fact of scientific record. See the reference to my paper: 'Earthquake-related EM Disturbance', Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, v. 28, pp. 535-536 (1987), [1987] in the Bibliographic section of these Web pages. So, I invite you to draw some conclusions from this. What scientific factor could have left the long distance amplitude-modulated signal transmission unaffected whilst distorting the short-range frequency-modulated transmission at that Swiss venue? Why, indeed, is F.M. radio so good compared with A.M.? The answer is that signal frequency is something definite and it holds true for normal signal transmission provided one is not involved in motion producing Doppler shifts and provided the speed of wave propagation is constant. That applies to F.M. As to A.M. (amplitude-modulated transmission) with long waves the speed of propagation is not so critical, because the energy conveyed by those waves is what matters and that is a more sensitive function of signal amplitude.

Have you drawn the obvious conclusion? Could it not be that here was a situation where the speed of light at that Swiss location was fluctuating transiently owing to the effect of that Italian earthquake? The redeployment of large amounts of mass as the earth shifts to adjust to the effects of an earthquake could shake the aether violently over quite some distance and so affect the speed of light. However, an earthquake cannot shake Einstein's theory and cause that redeployment of mass to affect the speed of light because Einstein declared as a founding principle that the speed of light is constant, and even though his General Theory allows mass to deflect light, one cannot go against the constancy of c as its the basic doctrine!

Given that Einstein has convinced the world of science that the speed of light is constant, that radio phenomenon has to be regarded as one of those unexplained effects that occur in Nature from time to time. That Swiss radio enthusiast was probably being too enthusiastic, or was he? Such clues are ignored at our peril, especially if they could lead to a technique for detecting impending conditions leading to an earthquake disaster.

So, I will now give the short answer to that first question. The speed of light is indeed constant, except when Nature ripples the aether to cause it to change. If you say there is no aether then you answer the question with a resounding 'Yes'. If I then say that the speed of light in air, in glass, in water etc is always reduced below that in the vacuum, you are not impressed, even though it is evident that the speed of light does vary according to the medium through which it propagates. You still may say that there is no aether and so the speed of light in vacuo cannot change, though I can then ask why that speed is not either zero or infinite, because nothing controls it and so it must have an extreme value!

Such an answer is not what you expect, because I am expected to debate the subject from the same stance as that adopted by Einstein. So, let me jump into the true vacuum and consider the gravitational deflection of light. Yes, Einstein's theory tells us that light is deflected as it grazes past a star. Rather it tells us that light is deflected by twice the amount expected from applying Newton's theory to light as if light is carried by corpuscles affected by the action of gravity. The space through which that light travels is as good a vacuum as you can get in Nature, yet the light is deflected. Now, how can light, which travels in rays with a planar wave front, be deflected unless the nearside speed is faster than the offside speed as it grazes past that star? It cannot change direction unless some parts of the ray of light are moving faster than other parts in its motion through the vacuum.

However, now suppose you are a physicist well versed in the subject. You will say that the speed can still be constant but space itself is distorted by the presence of matter. In making that statement, however, you are now altering the language of the subject. You see, speed depends upon two parameters, distance and time and if you are not prepared to hold faith with the constancy of time or your standard of distance measurement as something independent of time or the speed of light, you are rolling along a jelly-like track that can lead nowhere.

Let us go back to the original question. It is more logical for me to say that the speed of light can vary than to assert that it must always be constant. I believe in the existence of an aether and if I can see that as capable of being disturbed I can also understand how the speed of light can change. Rickard Iberg talks about two observers moving relative to one another and asks whether the time a flash of light takes to go from one to the other will differ from c. I interpret this question as asking whether the speed of light, c, depends upon the speed of the observer. Well, it does not according to Einstein's theory and it does if the observer moves relative to the electromagnetic frame of reference, which in turn is rooted in that aether.

You see, here Einstein declares the position and leaves you to argue against his postulations, whereas I say 'yes' or 'no' depending upon the facts of Nature. If the aether provides that frame of reference and that frame can move with an observer, then that is one scenario, but if that frame is at absolute rest, then that is another. I have reason for believing that there are circumstances, usually the prevailing circumstances, where aether lattice structure defining the electromagnetic reference frame can move with the observer and other circumstances where this is not the case. An observer at rest on body Earth moves around the Sun with body Earth but the aether structure of body Earth will move around the Sun as well. Einstein avoids such questions. He ducks the issue. It is easier to say that light speed is referenced on the observer, even though the observer rotating with body Earth about the Earth's axis can detect that speed of Earth rotation by light speed interferometry measurements! In fact, Einstein got part way into the turmoil of these issues and then deserted the sinking ship, leaving you to sort it all out yourself.

The problem really comes from that word 'aether' when interpreted as something which, by definition, is the frame of reference for the constant speed of light. If the word 'aether' means that something that fills the space devoid of matter, the medium in which energy can be stored as an electric or magnetic field, then there is need to provide answers without regard to any philosophical notions, whether those of Einstein or anyone else. When we talk about the 'sea' we know we are talking about something generic in form. It comprises, in the main, water, H2O, but we do not just use the words 'the sea' or 'water' as the sole descriptive feature. We well know that there can be currents and that there can be waves and that there can be ice floes or iceberg's and we are not too upset as scientists if we notice that something in the ocean is moving at a speed different from the 'sea' as a whole, which stays absolutely fixed in position between the bounding continents.

I can visualize a disturbance, as by the wind exerting pressure on those icebergs and blowing them South, where they melt, whilst currents in the water keep an overall equilibrium by moving some of that H2O in the Northerly direction. If something equivalent to those icebergs (a fluid-crystal formation or aether lattice structure) exists in the aether and we cannot 'see' it, then the speed of light is bound to be affected by such a phenomenon. It takes a little effort to wrap this up into a mathematical picture which physicists can digest and we know that scientists such as Samuel Earnshaw [1986f] worked on that in the early part of the 19th century, but something did, indeed, go wrong in the early part of the 20th century when Einstein's indigestible mathematical concoction was swallowed hook, line and sinker by the few physicists who went fishing in the aether sea! They lost sight of reality.

To pursue this argument we now move to Iberg's next question.


"About the 'optical sensing experiment' (in Lecture No. 5) mentioned above, I thought the aether moved with the Earth with the same motion, hence the outlined Michelson-Morley experiment. Correct?"
'Suggested Answer: I get a feeling from the text that the aether just moves with the earth partially, and that therefore it is possible to detect the partial disconnection.'

Now, here I am being drawn into deeper water. I want to build my Web pages on the prospects of new energy technology as developed from an understanding of electrodynamics, gravitation and ferromagnetism, which in turn do depend upon the aether, but I do not want what I have to say on the subject to be dominated by details concerning the anomalous features of light speed measurement and its bearing upon that aether picture.

I hope I can rely on simply saying that the aether has a way of forming itself into a structured system, as does a metal when it cools to form crystals. I seek further to secure an understanding that the aether behaves like the kind of fluid crystal we see in the displays used on pocket calculators. It is not cooling that forms the crystal, but electric field action. Then I say that when matter is present with its halo of electrical action then the aether coextensive with that matter crystallizes and moves with the matter. Whether there is one large crystal or numerous tiny crystals all sharing the same motion is not really significant, but one can be sure that the dynamic state of matter can affect the aether in that respect. Now, you can say that this is mere hypothesis, but my answer to that, as can be seen from the Tutorial Notes in these Web pages, is that I get specific qualitative and quantitative results from the analysis of this aether model and they fit observations of photon properties qualitatively and, indeed, quantitatively, the latter with part per million precision.

So, what about those experiments on the speed of light? Well, which experiments are we talking about; there are so many? Michelson-Morley proved that the round-trip average of the speed of light in tests in an Earth laboratory does not depend upon the Earth's motion around the Sun. Conclusion: Body Earth carries its aether lattice along with it.

The Michelson-Gale experiment, some 30 or so years on from that experiment with Morley, did detect that the Earth was rotating and it did this by measurement of the effects on the speed of light in the laboratory. Conclusion: The speed of light is referenced on the aether lattice which moves with body Earth, but if one rotates that lattice it will not rotate the light rays. In other words it is the mass density of that aether lattice which determines the speed of light and that density does not change when the aether lattice rotates with body Earth.

A one-way light speed experiment performed on a rotating disc [D.C. Champeney, G.R. Isaak and A. M. Khan, Proc. Phys. Soc.,, v. 85, 583 (1965)] did show that the speed of light from the centre to the perimeter of that disc did not vary by more than a few metres per second. Conclusion: That simply meant that the effect of the Earth's rotation had been eliminated from the experiment, owing to rotation of aether lattice with the disc.

It was R.V. Jones, Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond., v. A328, 337 (1972), who passed a light ray through a rotating glass disc to see if it dragged the light ray sideways. It did. This is easily explained as an aether phenomenon, (see pp. of my book 'Physics Unified' but is one of those experiments on which Einstein's theory is silent.

Incidentally, in that book, on p. 56, I show the following Figure:

Optical experiments by observer A spinning with a rotating platform at speed v1 about its axis may detect this speed v1 but not his speed v2 about the Earth's axis. Nor, similarly, will observer B moving with the Earth about the Earth's axis be able to detect the Earth speed v3 about the Sun, but observer B could well be able to detect his speed v2 about this Earth axis.

"What experimental evidence do we have that the speed of light is constant? (Such evidence is crucial to the Theory of Relativity so it is important when arguing with relativists to know what evidence we really have)".
'Suggested Answer: I did a little research myself and found this:
Apparently the measurements indicate that the speed is dropping(!), which could be an indication that the motion of the Earth relative to the aether is changing over time.'

Here I must confine my remarks to the main issue as I see it, which is whether the speed of light is constant in vacuo, regardless of the direction in which it is measured. It seems too speculative to ponder on the question of cosmological time variations. I have just referred to one of my sources and see a listing of 30 measurements by different observers and different methods at intervals from 1947 to 1967 to find that the value measured was 299,792 km/s with an error estimate of 4 km/s in 1947 using cavity resonator techniques and 299,792 within an error estimate of 0.11 km/s in 1967 using microwave interferometer techniques. Michelson in 1926 used a rotating mirror technique and measured 299,798 within an error of 22 km/s. Earlier, in 1875, Cornu Helmert had used a toothed wheel experiment to measure 299,990 km/s within an error of 300 km/s. So I cannot see much point in looking for change of c over a long period of time.

As to tests aimed at sensing change with direction, the Brillet and Hall experiment is one that impressed me. [1982e] Note that all such tests are performed to see if there is a detectable anisotropy of light speed, which itself tells you that those who perform the experiments are not 100% sure that Einstein's theory can stand! It seems that you can get institutional funding aimed at tests which prove Einstein's theory, whereas funding to test an 'aether' project would not be forthcoming. If one can be so sure that there is no aether, because Einstein's theory stands supreme, then why test Einstein's theory?


"Can the aether move linearly?"
'Suggested Answer: No, the aether can have a linearly moving wave which would make the aether substance move linearly forward but then back again to equilibrium. Analogy: sound wave in air displaces air particles temporarily which could be defined as a temporary linear motion.'

Here, you are thinking of the aether as they did back in the mid 19th century. It is not really like a jelly! The aether is physically something that does have a mass density, but if it moves linearly at a steady speed whilst something coextensive with it is moving the opposite way, also at a steady speed, you need not experience any accelerating forces owing to that linear motion. This is why I referred above to the fluid crystal. If the aether has a uniform mass density it will not have a net linear momentum, but it can have angular momentum as a sphere set in rotation. Here is your route to cosmological phenomena and here also is the angular momentum h/2(pi) of the photon, as the smallest unit of aether structure that can spin about a central aether charge.

"The quon/sub-electrons that make up the aether lattice are moving synchronously in a plane (two-dimensionally). Is it possible to change the direction of the plane locally?"
'Suggested Answer: Yes (or so my intuition tells me)'.

The universal jitter, meaning that synchronous motion, is a motion at all times orientated about a fixed direction in space, so far as the action of gravitation extends. This means that that direction is fixed, at least throughout a whole galactic domain which measures a few hundred light years across. If you have some parts of the aether spinning about one axial direction and other parts about another, then gravity between the two regions is upset. That synchronous motion has to be as universal as the range of gravitation. I do not believe that gravitation is a force acting over the full span of the universe, which is why the Big Bang scenario and the so-called Mach principle appear to me as nonsense.

I have yet to put a great deal of material on my Web pages, including my analysis of the gravitational potential of the aether itself. It has mass but that mass does not assert gravitational forces on matter, nor are there gravitational forces (as such) in the interaction between those quons. You see, the force of gravity is an electrodynamic effect and it reveals itself as a distortion influence in the aether medium when matter is present, but otherwise it is an effect merged with the electrical interactions within the aether and that is covered by the energy equilibrium criteria of the electrical system.

The gravitational potential of the solar system acting on the mass of an aether particle close to body Earth involves energy deployed from the gravitational action and put into the thermal (kinetic energy) state of that particle. As a result, using Boltzmann's constant one can calculate the temperature of the aether near to body Earth. It is 2.7 K, the so-called cosmic background temperature, which cosmologists believe is a residue of their Big Bang. Now, if gravity did extend to the enormous range of billions of light years, the gravitational potential of all that stellar matter in the universe as measured in the vicinity of Earth would be so enormous that I would have to rule out all question of a gravitational interaction between aether and matter. My aether particle mass would then pose problems. I have, however, that clue concerning the 2.7 K cosmic background to assure me that I am right in limiting the range of gravity to those space domains that are a few hundred light years across. See my book 'Modern Aether Science' for further evidence as to the pattern of geomagnetic field reversals when those domain boundaries are crossed. Further, however, and here is something I have not written about in the past, ask yourself why spiral galaxies form. Why do not the stars, each one formed in its own galactic domain, owing to that limited range of gravity, all come together in one cluster (the Big Crunch as Professor Hawking terms it)? The answer is that they can only act gravitationally on one another when they have crept into the same galactic space domain. So they tend to form a chain with loose links that periodically tug them into line as the leader winds itself into a ball clustered in one such domain at the heart of the resulting spiral.


"When calculating the gravitational forces between two masses should one include the 'weight' of the kinetic energy?"
'Suggested Answer: No. There is a 'mass' increase due to kinetic energy, but gravitation is only based on the crystallized form of energy that makes the actual matter.'

I cannot pretend to know all the answers to questions such as this. There is not much to go on. One wonders if the kinetic energy of electrons in atoms might contribute to the weight of the atom, but who knows what is the correct answer? An answer I would give is that, when an electron, for example, is accelerated, the energy added as kinetic energy appears, statistically, as the presence of electron-positrons pairs which have a transient existence. These pseudo-particles constitute matter and they have electric charges which means that they possess mass and so must gravitate. So I say 'Yes, the kinetic energy will gravitate, not as kinetic energy as we understand it, but as the matter version produced according to the E=Mc2 formula.' That does not mean that I adopt Einstein's theory! I have derived E=Mc2 from energy conservation principles and by adaptation of the Larmor energy radiation formula. [I shall deal with this when I add Essay No. 6 to these Web pages.]


"You say that there is no need for particle-wave dualism used in the atom model. What is your version of the story?"
'Suggested Answer: Since electrons do not radiate energy that comes from the intrinsic mass, there is no need for particle-wave dualism.'

I shall need to go into this subject in much greater detail in my Web pages than I can here in this response. My story, simply, is that energy transferred by electromagnetic waves is not that carried by corpuscles moving at the speed of light. Photons do not travel. Photons are events involving the spin of a small unit of aether lattice. This spin sets up the vibrations which propagate as waves through the aether. There is no 'dualism' in the sense that physicists can use wave theory or the corpuscular photon theory to explain the same result two different ways.

The aether can respond to the interception of waves by matter and shed energy from its local reserves to make it appear that that energy has come from a remote source at the speed of light. In fact, the aether is like the sea, in that if it sheds some of its activity at B because it is activated at A, it can find equilibrium by the slow flow of its substance from A to B.

The real question here is that of wave functions in the atom, for example, and how these affect the electron distribution. This is not quite what is meant by wave-particle dualism, but I do not want people reading this to think I am opposed to everything in quantum theory. The Schroedinger equation can be derived using aether theory. I do that in both 'Physics without Einstein' and 'Physics Unified'. This equation has solutions in polar coordinates which give probability functions allowing one to define states corresponding to different quantum features of electrons and thereby involving the Exclusion Rules as formulated by Pauli. Nevertheless, my way of deriving that wave equation does build on my model of the photon as a standing state of aether lattice spin or an 'event' within the atom. The transitions of the electrons in jumping from photon event to photon event set up the external waves which signal the radiation by the atom. The wave equation governing atomic structure is not the same as the electromagnetic wave emitted by the atom. I will soon be adding to my Web pages a commentary on the Pauli Exclusion Principle.


"What is the aether explanation for the successful antigravity experiment at Tampere University, Finland?"
'Suggested Answer: Your research note on rotational discs should cover this.'

You refer to my Research Note 12/97. That was about the Sandy Kidd antigravity machine and was written because of an enquiry I received from Ron Thompson who was involved in Sandy Kidd's book on the subject. As to the Tampere University report, I recall writing something about that, not on these Web pages, and saying that the antigravity effects noticed on floors in the building above those spinning discs were caused by aether turbulence set up by precessing ghost-like 'thunderball' effects. You see, the idea I have concerning anti-gravity phenomena is that gravity comes from the gravitons that sit in the aether in a jitter frame that is separate from, but dynamically in balance with, the matter frame. This means that if one can do something with a spinning flywheel that can confuse that graviton system in dynamic balance and cause it to come loose from its coupling with matter, then that can result in a loss of weight.

The feature in the antigravity research that can cause this effect is the forced-precession of a flywheel. Make it precess in a way different from its natural precession. It will then, I believe, shed the aether spin which has built up in the wheel and that spin affects the coupling between matter and the system which gives matter gravity. So, if the spinning aether comes loose and what are, in effect, weak 'thunderballs' drift upwards from the spinning system, passing through the floors, as can thunderballs, which are mere aether, then they will affect the gravitational properties of matter on the floors above.

Now, all this sounds like science fiction, and I do not feel comfortable when I speculate in this way. I like to have closer knowledge of the facts and see some tangible data which make better sense of what I am proposing before I write about such matters. However, you have asked for comment and this is my answer.

I do say that no one should try to extrapolate what they think they know about gravitation to far-off notions about Creation and the Big Bang until they really can secure their foundation by deriving the Constant of Gravitation using the theory to which they are addicted. Until then they should just pay attention when discoveries revealing anomalies in gravitational effects are demonstrated and try to verify and interpret those findings.

For my part, I see gravity of an element of matter as something arising from a particle form coupled with that matter and I am willing to accept that circumstances could arise where that coupling could be severed and lead to what amounts to a loss of gravity in that matter.

My theory of gravity, by which I evaluate G theoretically, has that feature built into it and so I listen when someone says there is an experiment that evidences an anti-gravitational phenomenon.

This concludes my Feedback on the questions raised by Rickard Iberg.
Harold Aspden September 30, 1997