The Enigma Of The Universe : Dr. Heisenberg on Absolute Space

Published: 11.01.2015
Updated: 13.01.2015

One of the top most physicists of our age, Dr. Heisenberg has also made an attempt to remove the above misunderstanding. He writes "The hypothetical substance 'ether' which had played such an important role in the early discussions on Maxwell's theory in the nineteenth century, had-as had been said before-been abolished by the theory of relativity. This is some time stated by saying that the idea of absolute space has been abandoned. But such a statement has to be accepted with great caution."[1]

Thus, although Heisenberg has not accepted that there exists an independent reality called space, he has at least, accepted that abolition of material ether does not mean abolition of absolute space. At another place, Heisenberg quotes an argument of the critics of the theory of relativity. Here also though he has not accepted this view, he has asserted: "It is seen at once that this argument cannot be refuted by experiment, since it as yet makes no assertions which differ from those of the theory of special relativity."[2]

The argument of the critics of the theory of relativity is:

"The non-existence of absolute space and absolute time is by no means proved by the special theory of relativity. It has been shown only that true space and true time do not occur directly in any ordinary experiment; but if this aspect of the laws of nature has been correctly taken into account, and thus the correct 'apparent' times have been introduced for moving co-ordinate systems, there would be no arguments against the assumption of an absolute space. It would even be plausible to assume that the centre of gravity of our galaxy is (at least approximately) at rest in absolute space. The critics of the special theory of relativity might add that we may hope that future measurements will allow the unambiguous definition of absolute space (that is, of the 'hidden parameter' of the theory of relativity) and that the theory of relativity will thus be refuted."[3]

Thus, it can be seen that it would be in correct not to accept the existence of absolute space on the basis of the theory of relativity.

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Sources
Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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  1. Ether
  2. Heisenberg
  3. Space
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