Measuring Lightspeed, a History: How Einstein Abolished the Aether

Measuring Lightspeed, a History: How Einstein Abolished the Aether

April 12, 2019


550 E. Tyler Mall
Tempe, AZ 85281


Bateman Physical Sciences Center, F Wing 101

Date and Time

April 18, 2019, 4:00 pm (Length: 1 hour 0 minutes)

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John Spence, PhD, Regents Professor, Physics Department, Associated Faculty, Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery

From the ancient Greeks, through Roemer, Bradley, Fermat, Fresnel, Maxwell, Fizzeau, Foucault, Lorentz, Hertz, Michelson and Einstein, the measurement of the speed of light and the search for the Aether to provide an absolute frame of reference has been one of mankind's greatest intellectual adventures. It has had the most profound consequences (e.g., E=mc2) and resulted in some of the most impressive experimental achievements in all of science. I'll review the history, including Maxwell's Lorentz-invariant theory (derived using a Newtonian Aether!) and superluminal schemes based on EPR. I’ll show how this most important and ubiquitous constant "shows a clear manifestation of the unity of our physical world".

This is part of the ASU Department of Physics Spring Colloquium.

Refreshments will be served in the hallway from 3:45–4 p.m.