Variable Speed of Light Theories

Hi, I plan to discuss here at DPC (Discourse Peaceful Science). I found experimental evidence in the literature AND I now realizing I’m not alone.

Some historical facts:

Larmor and Lorentz published on time dilation BEFORE Einstein. This is evidenced by the fact the key transformations in Einstein’s Special Relativity are called LORENTZ transformations, not Einstein transformations, or at best Lorentz-Einstein transformations.

Larmor argued that despite time dilation, there had to be an absolute clock. The experimental evidence accords with the existence of an absolute zero velocity.

I’m presently having to clear my schedule to do a write-up of some of my ideas along a derivation of the Lorentz transformation from classical electromagnetic theory on the assumption of the constancy of the speed of light in all reference frames – that would be the classical Lorentz relativity.

The neo-Lorenztian relativity apparently allows a little flexibility, BUT if the speed of light is tied to the properties of space, and the properties of space can vary, particularly the zeropoint energy, the the speed of light can be variable. That is to say, the zeropoint energy is not necessarily isotropically the same for all time and all locations.

The absolute zero velocity also accords with the idea of the speed of light being constrained by zero point energy and the clock rates affected by the velocity of objects travelling through the zero point energy. Also, there is a maximum clock rate beyond which the clocks can’t tick faster!

There are also contradictions that appear in timing of Supernova light curves supposedly due to Lorentz time dilations which I’ll cover also.

God bless.

I would certainly be interested in a presentation of Larmor’s argument and supporting evidence.

Admittedly, physics is not my field. However, I don’t see how you can determine which frame is the frame without any movement. For any frame you give us I can find a frame that is moving with respect to that frame. You act as if experiments done on Earth indicate some sort of absolute frame, but the Earth, solar system, and Milky Way galaxy are all moving relative to other frames. Gravity extends out infinitely, so there is no place in our Universe that is not affected by the acceleration of gravity.

So how do you determine the “zero” frame where the speed of light is absolute compared to other frames?

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Sorry for the late reply, but part of answer your question in a respectable manner entailed me having to review my own understanding of the matter from first principles. The following derivation was my reconstruction of a homework assignment in my first day of class in grad school 12 years ago that relates Special Relativity with the even the more elementary theory of electro magnetism.

A calculus teach pointed out a few typo-mistakes in my derivation, but otherwise liked it as a potential pedagogical tool:

Reviewing Special Relativity and Lorentz Trasformations, Relevance to Alternate Cosmologies

You act as if experiments done on Earth indicate some sort of absolute frame

We’re probably close to the absolute zero velocity, and that claim is experimentally testable.

However, I don’t see how you can determine which frame is the frame without any movement.

Correct!!! We need movement to find out if our absolute speed relative to space is close to zero. It centers around this formula of Special Relativity (by Lorentz):

\large t' = \gamma \Delta t

where
\LARGE \gamma = \frac {1}{\sqrt {1 - \frac{v^2}{c^2} }}

the present point of contention is the meaning of “V” in the above Lorentz factor \gamma

The way I interpret the meaning of V is not the same as how others here might interpret V.

I want to diagram the experiment that will show that V is best interpreted in relation to the absolute zero V_{ref} = 0 other wise this leads to absurdities.

Absolute zero V_{ref} implies velocity relative to vacuum space which is really “something”, not nothing, and this something has properties like \mu_0 and \epsilon_0, and I speculate it may be possible that even these “constants” may not be constant after all.

The speed of light depends on these “constants”, but most, if not all variable speed of light theories would entail variability of these “constants” which may be argued are even more fundamental than light itself.

As I said, I agree with that statement.

Let’s say we have to space craft with a relative velocity of 86.66% the speed of light.

The Lorentz factor \gamma using the formula:

\LARGE \gamma = \frac {1}{\sqrt {1- \frac{V^2}{c^2}}} = 2

for that relative speed of light. If one space-craft’s clock is ticking half as fast as another spacecraft’s clock, then the spacecraft with the slower clock is the one moving faster in the absolute sense – because it had a net positive acceleration over time.

Symbolically using the classical approximation:

classical_velocity

And saying there is one spaceship at V = 0.

There are thought experiments involving two moving space stations with 2 spacecraft launching from these space stations that will show the necessity of the existence of V_{ref} = 0 to give sensibility to the Lorentz factor.

How do you determine if you have zero velocity compared to the vacuum of space?

From what I understand, this would mean that the speed of light would have been higher or lower in all frames of reference, and by the same amount. The speed of light would still be the same in all inertial frames, its just that the speed would be different from what we measure now.

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Using clock tick rates of clocks accelerated to high speeds in different directions somewhat like the Hafele Keating experiment with cesium clocks flown on airplanes, but done with space craft.

Ideally the experiment happens far from gravitational influence since gravity creates General Relativity effects on top of Special Relativity effects and nullifies simple Lorentz transformations.

In lieu of that, consider two space stations with 2 spacecraft in each station.

[I know the following is confusing, so I’m trying to create an animation to clarify]

Accelerate one station (call it Rabbit) to 86.66% the speed of light relative to the unaccelerated space station (call it Turtle). Pretty much every one agrees that the Space station Rabbit’s clock will tick twice as slow than Space station Turtle’s clock.

Now let rabbit launch it’s two space craft in opposite directions with one spacecraft flying toward Turtle, and let each space craft be accelerated the same amount but in opposite directions such that one of the spacecraft launced by the Rabbit Station (call the space craft Rabbit-toward-Turtle) becomes stationary relative to the Turtle space station. What happens to the clock on the Rabbit-toward-Turtle spacecraft? Does it tick at the same rate as the Turtle Space station, or does it slow down even more than the Rabbit space station. I say the clock on Rabbit-toward-Turtle has the same tick rate as the Turtle Space Station. So what happens to the space craft acclerating in the same direction as the Rabbit space station but travelling at even higher velocities? It’s clock slows down even more! This thought experiment shows that there are situations where shooting spacecraft in opposite directions do NOT necessitate clocks on the space craft both slowing down to the same rate – in fact it’s possible one clock speeds up and the other slows down (as illustrated by the space craft launched from Rabbit station). Hence this assymetry suggests there must be a Vref = 0 in principle.

Ok. You start with two spacecraft that aren’t moving with respect to one another. However, how do you determine if both spacecraft are stationary with respect to the vacuum of space? Also, gravitational fields extend out infinitely, so there are gravitational forces everywhere in the vacuum of space.

We could also say that the Turtle clock ticked twice as fast while the Rabbit clock ran at the normal pace. In fact, observers in both frames of reference would observe clocks that ran at the normal rate. If they had a telescope powerful enough to observe the clock on the other spacecraft, the people on Rabbit would observe the clock on the Turtle ship changing speeds while the clock on the Rabbit spacecraft operated at the normal rate. An observer on the fast moving rocket would measure all the same constants and passing of time as someone on the Turtle space station, except for the observation of acceleration. It seems that you are arbitrarily choosing which clock is the standard clock.

Okay, this requires a huge facepalm emoticon. Sorry Sal, this experiment in no way, whatsoever, shows that there is an absolute reference frame. You are confusing yourself.

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I am interested in this somewhat. I don’t think you need an animation right now because it might take too long. Simply draw it up in a figure, picture form with arrows, captions to help clarify. That your experiment takes place in weak gravity is significant, the complaints above notwithstanding.

Whatever terminolgy is used, the point of the exercise and thought experiments is to argue not just for an absolute Vref = 0 with respect to a local space, but more importantly for an absolute reference clock, which makes a lot of sense on many levels. For example:

Problem of time - Wikipedia

In theoretical physics, the problem of time is a conceptual conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics in that quantum mechanics regards the flow of time as universal and absolute, whereas general relativity regards the flow of time as malleable and relative.[1]

So what side of the issue are you on as far as time? I say absolute time makes a lot of sense, and there are probably a few physicists who would suggest QM takes precedence over GR.

I’ve posed thought experiments suggesting time is absolute, but CLOCK rates can be malleable, but not time itself. That seems a common sense interpretation, and that common sense interpretation is what my thought experiment is trying to illustrate.

Hi Sal,

Thanks for coming and posting the ideas. It doesn’t quite smell right to me, but I am not well-versed enough in physics to know whether your explanation is wrong or my nose is wrong! :slight_smile: I invite Ph.D. physicists @PdotdQ, @pevaquark, and @glipsnort to provide informed comment.

Thanks,
Chris

Thank you for your interest in Larmor, I only knew of his work in passing since he is mentioned on and off. But importantly, his “relativity” ideas preceded Einstein’s though Larmor himself was crticial of Einstein’s GR.

The wiki entry is currently my best resource as I am presently more interested in either recent experiments or re-interpretations of old experiments. Anyway:

Joseph Larmor - Wikipedia

220px-Joseph_Larmor%5B1%5D

Parallel to the development of Lorentz ether theory, Larmor published an approximation to the Lorentz transformations in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1897… He obtained the full Lorentz transformation in 1900 by …This was done around the same time as Hendrik Lorentz (1899, 1904) and five years before Albert Einstein (1905).

Larmor however did not possess the correct velocity transformations, which include the addition of velocities law, which were later discovered by Henri Poincaré. Larmor predicted the phenomenon of time dilation, at least for orbiting electrons, by writing (Larmor 1897): “… individual electrons describe corresponding parts of their orbits in times shorter for the [rest] system in the ratio (1 – v2/c2)^1/2”. He also verified that the FitzGerald–Lorentz contraction (length contraction) should occur for bodies whose atoms were held together by electromagnetic forces. In his book Aether and Matter (1900), he again presented the Lorentz transformations, time dilation and length contraction (treating these as dynamic rather than kinematic effects). Larmor was opposed to the spacetime interpretation of the Lorentz transformation in special relativity because he continued to believe in an absolute aether. He was also critical of the curvature of space of general relativity, to the extent that he claimed that an absolute time was essential to astronomy (Larmor 1924, 1927).

Here again is someone who asserts absolute time and “time dilation” (better term is changing of clock rates).

Also, I think Larmor is correct that the Lorentz transformation does not necessitate conflating space and time into a spacetime model. Some work by Cahill attempts to show that Minkowski-Einstein spacetime models are merely a mathematical abstraction that can be done a way with in favor of making space and time separate dimensions.

In fact, when I studied GR (most of which I forgot), this statement in the opening chapter of my textbook violated my sensibilities:

What we shall now do is adopt a new unit for time, the meter.

Bernard Shutz, A First Course in General Relativity, 2nd Ed.

I was able to slug through the equations to do homework and exams, but I kept thinking, “isn’t there a more elegant way to conceive of this where time and space are separate dimensions? Measuring time in meters is an abomination.”

According to mainstream physics, SR has no absurdities. This statement of yours directly counters that.

The answer is clear, but since you never answered my question here Teaching Christian Apologetics in a MegaChurch (McLean Bible) with TE's, OECs, YECs, I wil ask again:

Do you, @stcordova, who by your own admission is not an expert in physics, agree or disagree with mainstream physics? Keep in mind that according to you, physics is at the top of the “pecking order” of science.

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Depends on what you mean by agree, I agree with 100% of experimental physics, does that count as “agree.”

I don’t agree with mainstream hypotheses lacking direct experimental verification – like inflation models that move galactic amounts of matter/energy at thousands or millions times the speed of light – how is that fundamentally different from miracles relative to everyday physics? I don’t agree dark matter is real especially since so many models admit it may be untestable or undetectable in lab experiments. Same for dark energy/anti-gravity.

And now even the CMB is starting to become questioned, not just by creationists.

I don’t have as much problems with astro phyisics as far as stellar structure. Pretty amazing physics.

But, since I attempted to answer your question to the best of my abilities, I will pose a relevant simple question to you. Do you think there is an absolute cosmic time. It pertains to this issue raised here in wiki:

In theoretical physics, the problem of time is a conceptual conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics in that quantum mechanics regards the flow of time as universal and absolute , whereas general relativity regards the flow of time as malleable and relative.[1]

I think your answer would be of interest to everyone here which side of the issue you’re on regarding absolute time.

Don’t switch the topic. I am not even talking about cosmology, just special relativity. So, you think this:

Thereby, you agree 100% that preferred frame effects has been disproven to one part in one thousand billion.

Further, do you, @stcordova, who claims no expertise in physics, agree or disagree with the mainstream physics position that SR has no absurdities?

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Depends what you mean by preferred frame since so many of the supposed proofs against preferred frames show that there is absolute time, which suggests there is a preferred frame. Your question is a leading question, like " have you stopped beating your puppy." Answering yes or no is pointless.

So I didn’t change the topic, I tossed in a relevant perspective.

That said, since we’re apparently not having a conversation anymore, if @Chris_Falter wants to ask you about absolute time he can.

What proof? I am talking about experimental physics. And you are changing the topic, by bringing in things like CMB and cosmology, in a topic about special relativity.

Regardless, you have not answered the question,

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But @T_aquaticus has pointed out what is wrong with your thought experiment in that regard - you just arbitrarily choose one clock in the thought experiment and said it must be the absolute one. You haven’t considered how SR successfully and consistently describes this situation from all reference frames when you account for the transformation rules between them.

I am an A-theorist about time for philosophical reasons, and I agree also that quantum non-locality is a valid basis on which to believe that there might be absolute simultaneity, even though relativity theories make no use of that concept (and some solutions of GR appear to exclude it). So I agree that time in some sense is absolute and that this is a reasonable belief. But your thought experiment here is not what shows that.

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But is he right? That’s the question. This is also outside my field of expertise so perhaps someone with the physics chops can tackle Larmor’s work if they have the time or willingness.

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Correct. @stcordova seems to think that this leads to absurdities in SR, and somehow mainstream physicists are too stupid to know that SR has absurdities. So I ask @stcordova again:

This is not a leading question like you said:

I’ll prove it by answering it myself:
I, @PdotdQ, agrees with the mainstream physics position that SR has no absurdities.

If it is a leading question like “have you stopped beating your puppy”, I wouldn’t want to answer it myself, would I?

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