This says as much about physics teachers as it does about physicists. The experiment's still worth knowing, though.

With the theorized aether wind of velocity v blowing towards the left, the light traveling straight into it (toward mirror C) would have a velocity (according to Newton) of c - v; coming back, its velocity would be c + v. The light traveling perpendicular to the aether (toward mirror B) would cover the same distance but with a velocity equal (according to Pythagoras) to (c^2-v^2)^(1/2).
Thus the time the light travels would be the distance (
The two beams of light should arrive at different times, according to this reasoning; by some mathematical manipulation that we will not show here (because we hate having to write equations this way; you can figure it out yourself) we arrive at an approximate (because of the use of the binomial expansion theorem, unshown) time difference of It didn't.
There was no time difference at all -- and this fact has been repeatedly shown many times since. |

Back to the Physics Multiverse

Maintained by adamse@technologist.com