Mountain Man's UseNet Archive

Testing the Theory
of Relativity

Introducing ...

The Painted Pony

- Brian Jones & Gerald Lebau

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Spring of 1996

Date: Mon, 09 Sep 1996 03:33:28 GMT
From: bjon@ix.netcom.com (Brian Jones)
Newsgroups: sci.physics
Subject: What is the Theory of Relativity?

KISS-TPP Proposed SRT Test

[Creator: Gerald I. Lebau]

Primary Statement:

For SRT (Special Relativity Theory) to be scientific, it must be falsifiable.

This means that SRT must be testable. There must exist at least on way to test this theory. The word "exist" denotes "current existence," for those who may miss this critical distinction. All past and prior tests are irrelevant. This includes the Michelson-Morely experiment, the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment, experiments done in any particle accelerator, and any and all other previously performed experiments.

In other words, SRT is not a scientific theory unless it is currently testable by an entirely new experiment never before performed. SRT cannot "rest on its laurels," so to speak.

To put this in layman's terms: It must be possible to show on paper a procedure that has the potential, given all that we now know, to contradict SRT. Otherwise, this theory is not a scientific (or proper) theory.

The sole purpose of this little paper is to present just such a test of SRT. (The letters KISS-TPP refer to two simple things. TPP refers to the fact that this test involves a spinning disk or wheel, recalling the song Spinning Wheel with its phrase Ride a painted pony, etc. TPP = The Painted Pony. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid, referring to the fact that this is a highly simplified version of TPP.)

A Crucial Query: What would constitute a current test of SRT?

General Answer: Everyone would agree that any experiment whose results varied with an inertial observerís velocity would do the job.

Specific Answer: Since it is well-known that SRT calls for lightís unidirectional speed to always be ďcĒ for any and all inertial observers, any experiment having the potential to yield a value other than ďcĒ would constitute a proper SRT test.

For the layman: If you can show _on paper_ a way that lightís one-way speed could turn out to be other than c, you will have designed an acceptable SRT test.

Another Crucial Query: Why is the one-way speed of light always c in SRT?

Einsteinís Answer: [From Einsteinís book, Relativity, Crown Publishers, page 32]

"The relations [of the relativistic Lorentz tranformationís primed and umprimed coordinates] must be so chosen that [light's one-way speed is c for all inertial observers].

And after Einstein had presented the equations of the relativistic Lorentz transformations, following the above dictate, he wrote:

[ibid., pp. 33-34] .... "A light-signal is sent along [reference-body Kís] positive x-axis, and this light-stimulus advances in accordance with the equation x=ct, ie with the velocity c. [Applying the relativistic Lorentz transformation equations yields the same one-way light speed for the second observer Kí]. We thus see that the velocity of [light] relative to the reference-body Kí is also equal to c. Of course this is no surprising, since the equations of the [einsteinian] Lorentz transformation were derived conformably to this point of view.

For the layman: In special relativity, lightís speed is always c for all observers simply because Einstein sets all clocks to record this speed no matter how fast the observer may be moving in the absolute sense.

Especially note Einsteinís phrase: ...derived conformably to this point of view. This means that his famous transformation equations (ie. those relating one SRT observer to another as to their observations) were designed to comply with Einsteinís rule that lightís one-way speed must be found to be c by all observers.

Question: How did Einstein set his clocks
to make light's one-way speed be c for all?

Answer: Einstein, being a pretty bright man, realized that any one-way speed calls for two (2) clocks. He also saw that HOW the clocks are set in relation to each other actually controls the value of this measured one-way speed. Therefore, all Einstein had to do was to set clocks in his theory (i.e., on paper) to yield that special value c for the one-way lightspeed. Of course, each and every einsteinian observer must have his clocks set differently, but who cares, because they now all get c for the one-way speed of light, just as SRT requires, it being a theory that doesnít allow anything to vary with the observerís movement (or specifically, anything that would reveal the observerís absolute motion).

For the layman: To make clocks comply with his theory of relativity, Einstein manually sets all clocks to cause them to read the same time for any one-way light ray trip. Remember, each clock reads a different time even for a single observer, and no other observerís clocks will agree with any of these, except by sheer coincidence. This is why, in SRT, one observer may see two events as being simultaneous, whereas another will see the same two events as occurring at different times. Itís all due to Einsteinís way of setting clocks. He sets them to get c, as we have found, and this makes them all read differently.

We therefore see that SRTís c for all is not really a natural law, not a law of physics. By his own admission (given above), Einstein actually manipulates his clocks to force the value c in the case of lightís unidirectional speed relative to the inertial observer.

Since this is not a law, or not an experimental result at all, it is not binding.

Since nature has not (contrary to that which has been written in more than one relativity book) dictated the value c for the one-way lightspeed, this leaves the door wide open for other values to be considered, at least in principle or theoretically.

Towards a Conclusion

In principle, as Einstein well knew, there are actually an infinite number of different possible one-way light speeds. All we need is one of these thatís not c, and Einstein has already found the only one that is c, so our search should be easy. In fact, the pre-relativity physicists already found it for us. Although Einstein sets his clocks on purpose to get c, this is not the case in classical (or Galilean or Newtonian) physics. In classical (or pre-SRT) physics, clocks were set the commonsense way (on paper), meaning that all clocks read the same time at the same epoch. If one observer found two events to be simultaneous, then all did. The clocks were absolutely synchronized, as opposed to SRTís relatively synchronized clocks.

On paper, such classical clocks can be shown as follows: Locate clock A and clock B at the origin and to the right of the origin on the observerís x-axis, or the axis parallel to the observerís (unknown) absolute direction of motion through space. Place the same time reading on the faces of both clocks. The clocks are now truly or absolutely synchronized. (In SRT of course, the clocks would have different readings).

It is well-known that all classical clocks yield the commonsense value c + v for lightís one-way speed (for an oncoming, x-axis light ray). In physics terms, all relative velocities are directly additive under the Galilean transformation. We can now state an important conclusion:

So, our task is rather simple. All we have to do is find a way to truly set two x-axis clocks. (Of course, this is not news to many relativists, but since it is news to some, we had to precede it by all of the above.) Note: Since we obviously do not know where any inertial observerís x-axis may be at the start, we have to first use trial-and-error. That is, we can truly synchronize many different clock pairs lying along different paths in our reference frame, and then use each pair in turn to measure lightís one-way speed. Only the x-axis will yield c +/- v, the maximum and minimum possible values. (The y and z axes will yield exactly c, whereas all other paths will yield in-between values.)

The KISS-TPP Clock-Starting Procedure

[Author: Gerald I. Lebau]
[Acting Agent: Brian D. Jones]

Given: A closed lab on board a standard inertial reference frame. Place a pair of clocks on the floor of this lab, a convenient distance apart. For simplicity, we assume that the clocks lie on the observerís x-axis (his true line of motion through space). A simple, white, rotatable disk is placed on the floor between the two clocks, with the diskís perimeter just touching the clocks. We assume there to be very little friction when the disk is rotated. A thin, red line is painted on this disk, running from clock to clock. At the ends of this red line are two point-sized (or nearly point-sized) clock-starting prongs. These prongs will not activate (start) the clocks until after the prongs have touched the clocks 30 times. (The reason for this safety factor shall soon become clear.)

The disk is pushed to start it rotating about its center. After, say, 15 or 20 full rotations, we assume no further effects of the initial accelerating force. With the disk slowly (no need for speed) rotating, we wait for the prongs to go into active mode. At this point, the two prongs should start the two clocks at precisely the same time, thereby absolutely or truly or classically synchronizing them.

As we mentioned above, the are the two relevant outcomes:

Given such a simple procedure, it should be quite easy for anyone to judge this proposal. Therefore, its publication on this Internet newsgroup.

Brian Jones ..... bjon@ix.netcom.com
Gerald Lebau .... glird@gnn.com


Mountain Man's UseNet Archive

Testing the Theory
of Relativity

Introducing ...

The Painted Pony

- Brian Jones & Gerald Lebau

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Spring of 1996