The Michelson-Morley Experiment

  • C. K. Raju
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 65)


In the previous two chapters, we covered problems related to the physical notion of time in (i) philosophy and (ii) Newtonian mechanics. Our contention is that a theoretical analysis of the concept of time in Newtonian theory is and was of greater relevance than the Michelson-Morley experiment in understanding the special theory of relativity. Here we argue in support of the latter part of the contention. The Michelson-Morley experiment, though relevant, was not intended to test the constancy of the speed of light. Rather, the experiment attempted to distinguish between the theories of Fresnel and Stokes, both of which used the aether hypothesis. Michelson concluded that the Stokes theory was valid, while Miller was awarded a prize for his claim to have detected an aether drift, which was widely disbelieved.


Special Theory Apparent Position Stellar Parallax Stokes Theory Aether Theory 
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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. K. Raju
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Advanced StudyRashtrapati NivasShimlaIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Development of Advanced ComputingNew DelhiIndia

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