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Ether and ModernityThe recalcitrance of an epistemic object in the early twentieth century$
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Jaume Navarro

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198797258

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198797258.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 June 2021

Ether and Electrons in Relativity Theory (1900–11)

Ether and Electrons in Relativity Theory (1900–11)

(p.67) 5 Ether and Electrons in Relativity Theory (1900–11)
Ether and Modernity

Scott A. Walter

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the roles of ether and electrons in relativity theory. One of the most radical moves made by Albert Einstein was to dismiss the ether from electrodynamics. His fellow physicists felt challenged by Einstein’s view, and they came up with a variety of responses, ranging from enthusiastic approval to dismissive rejection. Among the naysayers were the electron theorists, who were unanimous in their affirmation of the ether, even if they agreed with other aspects of Einstein’s theory of relativity. The eventual success of the latter theory (c.1911) owed much to Hermann Minkowski’s idea of four-dimensional spacetime, which was portrayed as a conceptual substitute of sorts for the ether.

Keywords:   ether, relativity, electron, spacetime, Einstein, Minkowski

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