Considerations on Gravitation

Considerations on Gravitation

by H. A. Lorentz
     
 

An excerpt from the beginning (this was initially published in 1900):

§ 1.


After all we have learned in the last twenty or thirty years about the mechanism of electric and magnetic phenomena, it is natural to examine in how far it is possible to account for the force of gravitation by ascribing it to a certain state of the aether. A… See more details below

Overview

An excerpt from the beginning (this was initially published in 1900):

§ 1.


After all we have learned in the last twenty or thirty years about the mechanism of electric and magnetic phenomena, it is natural to examine in how far it is possible to account for the force of gravitation by ascribing it to a certain state of the aether. A theory of universal attraction, founded on such an assumption, would take the simplest form if new hypotheses about the aether could be avoided, i.e. if the two states which exist in an electric and a magnetic field, and whose mutual connection is expressed by the well known electromagnetic equations were found sufficient for the purpose.

If further it be taken for granted that only electrically charged particles or ions, are directly acted on by the aether, one is led to the idea that every particle of ponderable matter might consist of two ions with equal opposite charges — or at least might contain two such ions — and that gravitation might be the result of the forces experienced by these ions. Now that so many phenomena have been explained by a theory of ions, this idea seems to be more admissible than it was ever before.

As to the electromagnetic disturbances in the aether which might possibly be the cause of gravitation, they must at all events be of such a nature, that they are capable of penetrating all ponderable bodies without appreciably diminishing in intensity. Now, electric vibrations of extremely small wave-length possess this property; hence the question arises what action there would be between two ions if the aether were traversed in all directions by trains of electric waves of small wave-length.

The above ideas are not new. Every physicist knows Le Sage's theory in which innumerable small corpuscula are supposed to move with great velocities, producing gravitation by their impact against the coarser particles of ordinary ponderable matter. I shall not here discuss this theory which is not in harmony with modern physical views. But, when it had been found that a pressure against a body may be produced as well by trains of electric waves, by rays of light e.g., as by moving projectiles and when the Röntgen-rays with their remarkable penetrating power had been discovered, it was natural to replace Le Sage's corpuscula by vibratory motions. Why should there not exist radiations, far more penetrating than even the X-rays, and which might therefore serve to account for a force which as far as we know, is independent of all intervening ponderable matter?

I have deemed it worthwhile to put this idea to the test. In what follows, before passing to considerations of a different order (§ 5), I shall explain the reasons for which this theory of rapid vibrations as a cause of gravitation cannot be accepted.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013127296
Publisher:
Leila's Books
Publication date:
08/18/2011
Series:
Proceedings of the Section of Sciences , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

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