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Author Topic: What is Aether?  (Read 13369 times)
Bracer
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« on: November 04, 2007, 03:17:26 pm »

I've tried searching, but would either have to exert more energy than wanted, or settle with less than satisfactory results. So I've decided to ask the wonderful people of this forum, who will most likely give me a more SteamPunk relevant answer too.
So I pose to you the question: What exactly is Aether?
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Professor Lidenbrock
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Semper Cedentia Retro


« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2007, 03:56:39 pm »

Its covered fairly extensively under the heading "concerning aether" on the Metaphysical board. Smiley
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cthulhu_spawn
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 04:28:49 pm »

aether, pronounced eeeether, is energy. its just another word for a form of electricity. Aether can be applied to more esoteric things such as the energy of that ghosts are formed of, energies tapped through pseudo (fake) technology to drive mechanisms, basically aether is the precursor to the electrical age, and allows steampunk the benefit of  that more economic stage of technology, without the mundanity of the word electricity. well thats what it means to me, maybe something else to someone else, but thats the essence of steampunk!
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Bracer
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2007, 05:53:26 pm »

Thank you very much Alexcf, that was a great help and it has cleared up all my problems.

Professor Lidenbrock, I hadn't thought of looking on our own board. How foolish of me.
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Atterton
Time Traveler
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2007, 11:37:05 pm »

Well, people on here tends to use the word aether for "magical" things like the internet. But scientifically it had a different meaning. Aether was supposed to be the medium that existed in space, and enabled the propagation of light waves and other EM-waves. In the same way that soundwaves require air to travel through. Possibly also gravity. If the earth was moving through the aether, it should be possible to detect an "aether wind". Two scientists called Michelson and Morley did an experiment in 1883, but was unable to detect the aether wind. So the theory started to look unlikely, and with Einstein´s theories was more or less killed off. Though the theory of aether seems to be gaining some foothold again in modern times.
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the Hat
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2007, 11:42:22 pm »

Could "dark matter" be considered aether?
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Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2007, 11:50:39 pm »

Difficult to say since we know so little about dark matter. I for one find myself a bit skeptical of it´s existence. But Zero Point Energy which is a strange phenomena of the already strange quantum mechanics, could perhaps show some similarities with the classical aether.
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Atterton
Time Traveler
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2007, 12:15:18 am »

I had an idea once, but I doubt I will ever have the time, skills or money to make it happen and since AlexCF is on here perhaps he could be inspired. One important steampunk scientific device, could be a Morley Aetheric Flux Detector. Essentially the experimental set up of Michelson and Morley´s famous experiment, but modified so it is portable and works in three dimensions. I image two brass rings, one set inside the other at a 90 degree angle. Similar to how you can do it to a globe, so it can be moved in all ways. But instead you have mirrors, light sources and detectors, which shows any lag in light speed. So wherever you are, you are able to detect movement by aligning the brass rings and determining the strength of the lag. This would also invalidate Galilean Relativity.
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HAC
Steam Theologian
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HAC_N800
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2007, 01:37:00 am »

aether, pronounced eeeether, is energy. its just another word for a form of electricity. Aether can be applied to more esoteric things such as the energy of that ghosts are formed of, energies tapped through pseudo (fake) technology to drive mechanisms, basically aether is the precursor to the electrical age, and allows steampunk the benefit of  that more economic stage of technology, without the mundanity of the word electricity. well thats what it means to me, maybe something else to someone else, but thats the essence of steampunk!

Its not energy, its a medium through which energy can be transferred..
From Wikipedia...

"Alchemy, natural philosophy, and early modern physics proposed the existence of a medium of the æther (also spelled ether, from the Greek word (αἰθήρ) aether, meaning "upper air" or "pure, fresh air" [1]), a space-filling substance or field, thought to be necessary as a transmission medium. The assorted aether theories embody the various conceptions of this "medium" and "substance". This early modern aether has little in common with the aether of classical elements from which the name was borrowed.

Although hypotheses of the Æther vary somewhat in detail they all have certain characteristics in common. Essentially it is considered to be a physical medium occupying every point in Space, including within material bodies. A second essential feature is that its properties gives rise to the electric, magnetic and gravitational potentials and determines the propagation velocity of their effects. Therefore the speed of light and all other propagating effects are determined by the physical properties of the Æther at the relevant location, analogous to how gaseous, liquid and solid media affect the propagation of sound waves.

The Æther is considered the global reference frame for the Universe and thus velocities are all absolute relative to its rest frame. Therefore, in this view, any physical consequences of those velocities are considered as having an absolute, ie real effects.

Recent Æther theories (see section below on protoscience links) of velocity effects, phenomenon of gravitation and planetary motion (i.e. the angular momentum), creation of proton, of stars (neutron stars too) and planets, etc., exist but are not generally accepted by the mainstream scientific community.


 Newtonian æther
Isaac Newton disproved the æther "vortex theory" of planetary motion but later proposed a "new" æther, exceptionally fluid, whose density was affected by the local density of matter and local gravitational field strength (see: Optiks). Newton also said that he did not know whether his new æther should be particulate or not - if it were particulate, the particles would have to be incredibly small, even smaller than light-corpuscles.

 Luminiferous æther
Main article: Luminiferous aether
The basic idea of the æther as a physical transmission medium is simple, and like all media, if it exists, must have fundamental properties including a pressure, mass density, and temperature. Further, if compressible, it will also exhibit a characteristic finite propagation speed, c, at which all transfer of momentum and energy through it can be carried from one physical location to another. Compressibility also means that there will also be a distinct coefficient of compressibility (and its inverse, a distinct modulus), a characteristic impedance, and the ability to create and sustain wave activity. Any other properties, including ponderable matter and the specific characteristics of waves are solely dependent upon specifics arising from these basics.

As can be seen from historical timelines referenced above, up until the early part of the twentieth century æther played a central and dominant role in the development and evolution of all of theoretical physics.

During the 19th century the most basic and fundamental physical characteristics known were those pertaining to electric, magnetic, and luminous (light) phenomena. The focus of theoretical development focused upon these phenomena and integrating them into a single common framework. Based upon Faraday's meticulous findings James Clerk Maxwell succeeded brilliantly in doing so. His model was based upon Helmholtz's æther vortex model and is described in detail in his 1861-62 series of articles titled On the Physical Lines of Force.[5] Because of this, the aether concept was commonly referred to as luminiferous aether during this period. For the individuals of this time, which included Lord Kelvin, J. J. Thomson, and P. G. Tait, the ether was hypothesized to be a non-compressible, inviscid fluid.

 Motion and the preferred frame
Main article: Aether drag hypothesis
During the 19th Century attention was also focused on the interaction of electro-magnetic phenomena with matter. It was in this area of late 19th Century physics that certain unresolvable contradictions arose, leading to the emergence of Einstein's Relativity theories. At the time it was commonly assumed by many that ponderable matter (mass having a rest value & inertia) was distinctly different, and was embedded, or enveloped in the all pervasive æther. By logical extension, movement of such objects should require it to plow through this æther, and this in turn, should create a drag reaction in the æther. If the material object is not moving the pressure exerted by æther is equal in all directions (isotropic). This condition is called the rest frame of the æther.

It was logical therefore to attempt to measure the speed of matter through the æther. The motion of the Earth was considered to be of sufficient magnitude that its speed could be determined. The expected difference was calculated based upon the assumptions that; 1) light speed was independent of Earth's motion (or matter in general), and, 2) the matter in the measuring equipment is independent and unaffected this movement. When these assumptions are valid it was also demonstrated that this rest frame would have preferential properties making it physically different from all others. Thus this condition is also known as the preferred frame. The resulting geometrical calculation formed the basis for the expectation of a positive result, and expected lower bound value that should be seen."

Cheers
Harold
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You never know what lonesome is , 'til you get to herdin' cows.
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