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Resurrecting Physics : Constant Wavelength of Light

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Pentcho Valev

Jan 27, 2023, 7:39:10 PM1/27/23
Richard Feynman: "I want to emphasize that light comes in this form - particles. It is very important to know that light behaves like particles, especially for those of you who have gone to school, where you probably learned something about light behaving like waves. I'm telling you the way it does behave - like particles. You might say that it's just the photomultiplier that detects light as particles, but no, every instrument that has been designed to be sensitive enough to detect weak light has always ended up discovering the same thing: light is made of particles." QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter p. 15

Whether Feynman is correct is not a matter of discussion here. I am just drawing the attention to a crucial implication. The concept of VARIABLE wavelength of light

is preposterous if light is particles and not waves. That is, Feynman's words imply that the wavelength of light can only be an invariable proportionality factor in the formula

(speed of light) = (wavelength)(frequency)

Here is a crucial question:

Variable speed of light and constant wavelength, in accordance with the particle model of light, or constant speed of light and variable wavelength, in accordance with the wave model of light?

The answer was given in 1887 (prior to the introduction of the length-contraction fudge factor):

"Emission theory, also called emitter theory or ballistic theory of light, was a competing theory for the special theory of relativity, explaining the results of the Michelson–Morley experiment of 1887...The name most often associated with emission theory is Isaac Newton. In his corpuscular theory Newton visualized light "corpuscles" being thrown off from hot bodies at a nominal speed of c with respect to the emitting object, and obeying the usual laws of Newtonian mechanics, and we then expect light to be moving towards us with a speed that is offset by the speed of the distant emitter (c ± v)."

Banesh Hoffmann, Einstein's co-author, admits that, originally ("without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations"), the Michelson-Morley experiment was compatible with Newton's variable speed of light, c'=c±v, and incompatible with the constant speed of light, c'=c:

"Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether." Banesh Hoffmann, Relativity and Its Roots, p.92

If it is not too late and physics can still be resurrected, "The wavelength of light is constant" will become the fundamental axiom of future, Einstein-free physics.

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Pentcho Valev

Pentcho Valev

Jan 28, 2023, 10:05:42 PM1/28/23
The particle model of light is incompatible with VARIABLE wavelength of light, and so is the wave model:

Stephen Hawking, "A Brief History of Time", Chapter 3: "Now imagine a source of light at a constant distance from us, such as a star, emitting waves of light at a constant wavelength. Obviously the wavelength of the waves we receive will be the same as the wavelength at which they are emitted (the gravitational field of the galaxy will not be large enough to have a significant effect). Suppose now that the source starts moving toward us. When the source emits the next wave crest it will be nearer to us, so the distance between wave crests will be smaller than when the star was stationary."

This interpretation implies that the moving source is CHASING the emitted crest - that is the reason why, when the next crest is emitted, the distance between the two crests is smaller than when the source is stationary. As chasing becomes faster and faster, the distance between crests approaches zero. In other words, the wavelength at the source varies with the speed of the source, which is absurd (contradicts the principle of relativity).

For light waves, there can be no chasing. No matter how fast the source is moving, the speed of the emitted crest relative to the source remains constant, c. Accordingly, when the next crest is emitted, the distance between the two crests remains unchanged - the same as when the source is stationary.

The wavelength of light depends only on the nature of the emitting substance and is constant otherwise.

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Pentcho Valev
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