Smile Without the Cat of Relativistic Mechanics


Maybe a lot of you have read Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland. Little Alice meets a miraculous cat that smiles and slowly disappears, starting with the tail and ending with the smile…

“I have seen many cats without a smile, but I have never seen a smile without a cat !… It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen !” Alice thought.

So amazed were the physicists who, due to the birth of Theory of Relativity, have farewell to the luminiferous aether. Indeed, the principle of Special Relativity, which refers to all the laws of nature, destroys the role of the preferential Inertial Frames of the luminiferous aether. Thus, the principle of constant speed of light in vacuum in relation to any Inertial Frame make useless the role of material support of aether.

The real world is no less miraculous than the world of fairy tales. Electromagnetic waves without aether like the smile without the cat, however paradoxical it would seem.

According to this conception, electromagnetic waves represent a special form of motion matter which, like any other form of matter, can move into free space. We just have to admit that, unlike the movement of the planets that follow the laws of the mechanics, the wave movements follow the Maxwell’s laws. There are also forms of matter that move in accordance with laws that differ from mechanics or Maxwell’s laws. It is the movement within the atoms that is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics.

In September 1905 the Annalen der Physik magazine published an article that was titled modestly On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. The author was a young physicist unknown in the high life of academies and was a clerk at the Patent Office in Bern.

It’s about the act of birth of the Special Relativity signed by Albert Einstein. The article begins with the statement of two fundamental principles:

1. The laws of nature are the same in all Inertial Frames.

 2. Speed of light in vacuum has the same value in all Inertial Frames.

Here are the foundation stones of modern physics ! Two clear principles emerging from careful analysis of nature and experimental results. And an admirable intellectual courage to face the army of sketics. Starting from these principles, Einstein revolutionized the Newtonian concepts of space and time and put them in connection with the real unfolding of the processes in nature.

Toma Vescan,  

Lumina, gravitatia si relativitatea

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