Feynman, R. Krauss, L. The Physics of Star Trek. New York: Harper-Collins, Electromagnetic Waves. History and Terminology.
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It lies, we may say, in an especial manner on the borderland between what is known and what is unknown. In the study of it it is quite conceivable that great discoveries may be made, and, in fact, great discoveries have already been made, and I may say even quite recently, and we do not at present know how much additional light on the system of Nature may be in store for the men of Science; possibly even in the near future, possibly not until many generations have passed away.
I will assume, as what is familiarly known to you all, and what is well established by methods into which I will not enter, that the heavenly bodies are at an immense distance from our earth. More especially is this the case with the fixed stars. Their distance is so enormous that even when we take as a base line, so to speak, the diameter of the earth's orbit, which we know to be about millions of miles, the apparent displacement of the stars due to parallax is so minute as almost to elude our investigation.
Nevertheless that distance is more or less accurately determined in the case of a few of the fixed stars. But the vast majority, as we have every reason to believe, are at such an enormous distance that even this method fails with them. Reprints and Permissions.
The Luminiferous Ether. Nature 48, — Download citation. Issue Date : 27 July By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Advanced search. Skip to main content. Register your interest. Download PDF. Rights and permissions Reprints and Permissions. About this article Cite this article The Luminiferous Ether.
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Albert Michelson was a Polish immigrant who grew up in the hard-scrabble atmosphere of the California gold rush. He relied on an appeal to then-President Ulysses Grant to gain admission to the Naval Academy, where he became a championship boxer. She also plays the banjo. Co-host Annie Minoff is here to tell us about it. And recently, we started thinking about all the scientific theories and ideas that we used to think were true. What if we ask, well, why did we think these things? What convinced us that they were true?
The Luminiferous Ether
Luminiferous aether or ether  "luminiferous", meaning "light-bearing" was the postulated medium for the propagation of light. The assumption of a spatial plenum of luminiferous aether, rather than a spatial vacuum, provided the theoretical medium that was required by wave theories of light. The aether hypothesis was the topic of considerable debate throughout its history, as it required the existence of an invisible and infinite material with no interaction with physical objects. As the nature of light was explored, especially in the 19th century, the physical qualities required of an aether became increasingly contradictory.
Revisiting A Once-Great Scientific Idea