Talk:Luminiferous aether

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Former good article Luminiferous aether was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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February 25, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
March 9, 2008 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
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Erroneous, misleading last sentence[edit]

I recently discovered that Lorentz and Eddington had roughly similar ideas as Einstein about the ether. And the list is much longer than those two. Who claims that they were not part of the scientific community?? Harald88 (talk) 18:16, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Read any standard relativity-textbook written in the last 70 years, then you will know that the word "aether" for the "properties" of relativistic space was not accepted by the scientific community. But if you have reputable and modern secondary sources (per WP:Secondary, not primary sources as the semi-popular lectures by Langevin or Einstein), which show that the word aether has gained wide-spread acceptance, then present them. PS: I re-introduced the clarification (aether = curved space-time) as per Kostro (see his 2001 paper), who is a well-known expert on "Einstein's Aether". --D.H (talk) 18:46, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
According to what source are the scientific discourses by Einstein and Langevin "semi-popular"? And they were certainly part of the scientific community (does anyone need a source to verify that fact?). It's perfectly fine to state that according to <so-and-so> <a certain claim>; that's the way Wikipedia functions. However, one opinion about Einstein's opinion isn't a source for a referendum among scientists. I'll therefore modify it into "little" - the equivalent of agreeing with you that there was no "widespread acceptance". (talk) 12:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
You know, all we want are secondary sources, which backup the primary sources ;-) --D.H (talk) 17:04, 4 May 2011 (UTC)


A series of negative first-order experiments (19th century) are now included. Also the order of some sections, the wording in the introduction etc., have been changed.--D.H (talk) 16:57, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

I have published 4 papers on the luminiferous aether which can be found in the General Science Journal here:

I show that the Michelson Morley experiment makes assumptions that are not valid and a proper understanding of the luminiferous aether and all its properties yields solutions to all of the challenges we currently face with quantum mechanics and general relativity. Using a classical approach, a new model is devised. It also make the likelihood of a Big Bang implausible since the universe is probably not expanding. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Peterlue (talkcontribs) 01:20, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

I thought the stars were burning not reproducing, likewise when a star explodes depending on it's size, that's a shitload of anarchy and chaos, if a supernova. galaxy clusters and astroid fields, but does radiation (that i think is really code for dark matter) have an luminescient gravity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Requested move, Oct 2011[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: article not moved. There has been no comments on the discussion for 11 days now, so I think it's safe to assume there's nothing else people wish to add to the discussion. There is clearly no consensus to move the article, so it stays at the current name. fish&karate 13:35, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Luminiferous aetherLuminiferous ether – Apparently, the spelling with the A is way rarer.[1][2][3] A. di M.plédréachtaí 16:26, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

  • AgreedMachine Elf 1735 23:18, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. I agree that ether is easily the more common spelling, but the current title is consistent with Aether (classical element). Jenks24 (talk) 01:27, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • This also seems a case where precision may be valuable. 'Ether most commonly means the anaesthetic chemical, or its relatives; aether does not - it has a much smaller range of meaningss. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:09, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Luminiferous aether" is the spelling used for most of the articles on the topic because it was the commonest spelling at the time most of the articles were written. There are not enough modern articles on the topic to make "luminiferous aether" or "luminiferous ether" a common spelling in modern times. The majority of articles were written pre-1950 which doesn't show up on that graph. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:59, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
    • *cough*[4]*cough* (Also, articles should be written in modern English; thou wouldst not write William Shakespeare in 16th-Century English, wouldst thou?) A. di M.plédréachtaí 09:28, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
      • Wow, how amazingly useful! (I hadn't clicked the links—apparently, no one else did either).—Machine Elf 1735 22:09, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Derek Ross. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:07, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The spelling "aether" is British, but it is the spelling used by the big majority of those cited in the article, and it has the virtue of not being confused with the chemical ether. Roger (talk) 05:10, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Good point about British English but this shouldn't be confused with the aether in classic elements either, (they're not similar).—Machine Elf 1735 07:31, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
    • No apparent major difference between BrE and AmE [5][6] (and the search key being “luminiferous aether”, it doesn't match other kinds of ether). A. di M.plédréachtaí 09:28, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • oppose - pointless, wrong, per others William M. Connolley (talk) 05:44, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment isn't it luminiferous æther ? (talk) 07:35, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Aether is a rather quaint and old fashioned name for a rather quaint and old fashioned concept. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:05, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. Please do not comment on people's votes that you disagree with. It's rude. It's better to keep the polling separate from the discussion. If the vote makes a comment that you wish to discuss then either add a comment like this or start a comment section down below. -- Derek Ross | Talk 20:10, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. In Maxwell's EB9 article (s:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Ether), his uses "ether" in the title and "aether" in the subsequent text. --D.H (talk) 08:58, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: Although today aether is not preferred by major dictionaries, aether is recognized as a valid alternative spelling for this sort of (a)ether everywhere, including in North America (see, for example, Canadian Oxford or Merriam-Webster). Some standardized rigour (talk) 08:33, 16 October 2011 (UTC)


"Luminiferous aether" is the spelling used for most of the articles on the topic because it was the commonest spelling at the time most of the articles were written. There are not enough modern articles on the topic to make "luminiferous aether" or "luminiferous ether" a common spelling in modern times. The majority of articles were written pre-1950 which doesn't show up on that graph. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:59, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

    • FYI google books, for example:
      "Luminiferous aether" About 4,090 results
      "Luminiferous ether" About 26,300 results—Machine Elf 1735 07:31, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
      • FYI, if Google Books uses the same algorithm as Google Web, the “About” numbers are quite unreliable. In this case it's unlikely that such low counts are off by a factor of 6, but reported counts over 105 can be off by orders of magnitude. A. di M.plédréachtaí 10:50, 8 October 2011 (UTC) [I hadn't noticed your post started with “FYI” as well; this makes me look like I was kind-of mocking you, which isn't what I meant. I'm striking it through. A. di M.plédréachtaí 10:11, 9 October 2011 (UTC)]
        • Quite so, A di M. Those particular Googlebook searches are, with respect, almost useless. Look at this one on "luminiferous ether" (421 genuine hits) and this one on "luminiferous aether" OR "luminiferous æther" (323 genuine hits). Both of these searches were subjected to restrictions for currency and relevance ("Books›Jan 1, 1990–Oct 8, 2011›Search English pages"), and the far more accurate count of genuine hits was arrived at by clicking through to the last results page. Editors, please take the trouble to learn how that works. RMs need accurate evidence. ☺ NoeticaTea? 05:10, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
          • The ratio is fairly proportionate to the Ngram Viewer data sets and it's certainly no mystery that "luminiferous ether" is getting six times as many hits. Noetica, I don't mean to imply you're cherry picking, but I'm not impressed by your arbitrarily selective date range, limit to English, etc. Not that it matters, but I'm sure you'll be thrilled to learn that my… untroubled queries likewise throttle out in the neighborhood of 360 and 380 equally “genuine” hits, without benefit of the “Æther” and needless to say, it's not matching German or French “Äther” / “L'ether”—but have a look at all the European sources in this historical article. The English language sources used therein do favor “Ether” by a wide margin; and that's a verifiable fact.—Machine Elf 1735 08:13, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            That's right, I was most certainly not "cherry picking". Why would I want to do such a thing? And there's nothing arbitrary about it. I consistently present searches explicitly restricted like that, because we are interested in current usage, in English publications. That's the most relevant base for current English Wikipedia. The ways of the ngram are less well documented, and I never like to rely on those alone. Let me repeat that results like "about 4,090 results" versus "about 26,300 results" are misleading. If as you say they "throttle out" to those numbers you now report, those are the numbers to take seriously – if any, because Google searches are fraught with difficulties of interpretation. Google does not, so far as I know, reveal its algorithms or the changes it makes to them. As for reports of German or French, note first that the French is éther with an acute, and second that this is, once again, about English usage. NoeticaTea? 10:25, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            The number of “genuine” hits is even less useful[7]. (Also, I don't think Google's OCR can tell ae and æ apart, or that it would if it could, so the OR thing was likely pointless. I'm already gladly surprised that searches for luminiferous ether don't match luminiferous aether or vice versa: I've seen it doing that for far less obvious synonyms.A. di M.plédréachtaí 09:28, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            A di M, a search on the string "the" is a very special case from which no useful conclusion can be drawn here. (Recall that in many contexts the is a mere stopword.) The search only confirms what I suggest above: the ways of Google are arcane. But they might be understandable in this case, to preclude a sort of search Google does not want to allow. You have provided no argument against the technique I outlined, which stands up pretty well to further testing. There are, however, further lines of enquiry that complicate the evidential story. The searches so far reported are less likely to distinguish instances occurring in titles and headings from instances embedded in text. Compare these two searches on longer strings, which are more likely to occur embedded: "in the luminiferous ether" (58 genuine hits) and "in the luminiferous aether" OR "in the luminiferous æther" (16 genuine hits). What to make of relative frequencies in headings as opposed to embedded in text? Hard to say. But we had better at least be aware that such a variable is in play. (Ngram evidence might be a valuable adjunct in taking that further.) As for æ, I was fully aware of the issue. Google sometimes distinguishes plain characters versus those with diacritics or blended into ligatures, and sometimes not. Again, that's obscure. Nothing at all was lost by my including æ; and confidence was gained that if Google did distinguish them, it was less likely that any relevant hits would be omitted because of mere styling or typographical variation, scanning errors, etc. NoeticaTea? 10:25, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            My point was, Google will never return more than a few hundred genuine hits even if there are millions of indexed pages containing the search string due to the way it works, so the fact that a certain word gets 400 genuine hits hardly means anything at all other than that there are at least 400 matching pages; there might be many more. If you don't like using the as a test because it's a function word, try with very common content words such as year or people or whatever. Hence, the fact that luminiferous ether gets 421 genuine hits and luminiferous aether gets 350 means close to nothing. When such counts are lower, as with your in the luminiferous [a]ether searches, it is more likely that there are actually only 58+16 books (or few more) indexed in the given language and time interval. By comparison, when preparing the ngram database they actually counted every single instance of every sequence of words (except that they discarded sequences with fewer than 40 occurrences in a given year in a given subcorpus, and modulo OCR failures), so those numbers are much more meaningful. A. di M.plédréachtaí 16:39, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            It seems we have radically different takes on how Google searches work, A di M. Standing back from the details, I wonder why you think those overtly "about" searches have much value at all, if the results Google itself reports without the qualifier "about" are as dismissible as you claim. For the present case, let's just say that no Google searches here escape criticism; and let's continue the broader discussion at your talkpage or mine, when we both have time. As for the ngrams, of course they are a great innovation; but they are experimental, and even if they were more developed they would need careful interpretation. The unexamined use of raw numbers from searches is a problem on RMs, and it needs addressing. I don't direct this against you, of course. NoeticaTea? 22:35, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
            When did I say the “about” numbers have much value? My comment of 10:50, 8 October 2011 (UTC) was indeed about the fact that they don't. Also, I wonder why you think the number you get by going to the last page of search results has much value at all. :-) A. di M.plédréachtaí 08:39, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
  • There seems to be an idea going around Wikipedia that the number found on the last page of Google search results is somehow the "true" number of hits. It isn't; it's the number of hits Google chose to load into memory - and it's almost always (every time I've seen it, certainly) less than 1000, no matter how common the search phrase is. It varies slightly from day to day; when I searched on never, for example, Google ended at 417, although it was still working through books with Never in the title. If anybody is willing to believe that there are only 417 real hits on never in Google Books' corpus, they should select their own search word. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:26, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
    • If the rough explanation I once read somewhere was correct (i.e., Google first uses a quick probabilistic algorithm to pick 1000 pages “likely” to match the query and then a slower, more accurate algorithm to check which ones actually match it) and the algorithm hasn't changed since, it cannot return more than 1000 hits. I suspect Google Books works the same way but with 500 instead of 1000, since the highest count I can remember seeing was 400-something. A. di M.plédréachtaí 21:05, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
      • That seems plausible. I think I've seen results above 600 for Google books, so they may have used 750 at one point. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:32, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
        I agree that Google changes its ways without notice. I have lamented that fact often on Wikipedia. I thank PMAnderson for some especially telling commentary on this. I don't think the example "never" – especially as a single-word string – is a case from which we can generalise. It is still what A di M calls a "function word", and as I have pointed out those are in many contexts taken as stopwords. We don't know whether or how Google might care about those in general. Still, this is easily overcome by choosing a non-function word (or better, a short and very common phrase with non-function words) to test. Two things are clear, at least: Googlebooks has changed its ways over the months; and Googlebook searches (at least now) work differently from general Google searches with respect to reporting, sampling, and limits on numbers of hits. We could wish that this were well documented; it is not. When I have time I'll take this further at my talkpage. NoeticaTea? 00:25, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
        Using non-function words is what I already proposed and did (at 16:39, 9 October 2011 (UTC), above), unless you count year and people as stopwords too. (Actually, I think that counting never as a stop word is already a stretch, and I'd be surprised if Google treated it specially.) If you want to use a multi-word query, try a long time[8] or on the other hand[9] or at the same time[10] or ... A. di M.plédréachtaí 12:30, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
        Sure, A di M. I accept that you too had good things to say on this. I do not think that any Google searches are iron-clad accurate. More are suspect than I had earlier thought, and Google has changed. As for "never", who knows what Google does with it? Remember that stopwords are not the end of the story (and may be stopwords only in certain contexts); and that the demarcation of function words is fluid and perhaps arbitrary. Is "sin embargo" merely functional in Spanish? That's a rhetorical question, for now. I have no time for this. I want to investigate further when I have time. NoeticaTea? 21:51, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the move request[edit]

@Derek Ross (et al.) You write: “"Luminiferous aether" is the spelling used for most of the articles on the topic because it was the commonest spelling at the time most of the articles were written.” That's not true in several ways. First off, not all of the articles use the spelling "aether", but let's focus on this one first. I'm not sure when you're suggesting this article was written (perhaps it was based on Britannica?). "Luminiferous ether" has been the more popular spelling for centuries. (It's not clear when it wasn't, if ever). Nothing has changed recently, and that's clearly reflected in the sources of this article.

You seem to be laboring under the same mistaken belief as Noetica regarding WP:TITLE, which says nothing whatsoever about failing to consider all but the most recent WP:RS, if any: “There are not enough modern articles on the topic to make "luminiferous aether" or "luminiferous ether" a common spelling in modern times. The majority of articles were written pre-1950 which doesn't show up on that graph.” Perhaps you won't mind taking a moment to review the graphs? You seem to have mistaken 1500 for 1950.

There seems to be no need to discuss the original contributors over a minor spelling issue. As you've mentioned WP:COMMONNAME (which also says nothing about considering only the most recent RS, if any), as opposed to WP:TITLE, hopefully you'd like to discuss the questions in WP:CRITERIA at some point? Regarding the comments about a possible precision issue: neither the ethers, nor the “omnipresent, completely passive-medium for the propagation of magnetic waves” (ethernet) are luminiferous. There are no precision or disambiguation issues because there's been a luminiferous ether redirect to this article since 2003. Those redirects have tripled over the last 12 months:

redirects from "luminiferous ether"
month % redirects (article total)
2010-09 06% 678 12231
2010-10 06% 798 13163
2010-11 06% 801 14566
2010-12 06% 786 12269
2011-01 06% 779 14026
2011-02 07% 709 10397
2011-03 08% 803 10659
2011-04 07% 722 9777
2011-05 09% 880 10090
2011-06 08% 686 9005
2011-07 10% 838 8748
2011-08 14% 1173 8164
2011-09 18% 1480 8406

Thank you for refactoring the discussion. I hope it helps to clarify that a number of respondents did not consider these errors and issues at the time of their WP:VOTE.—Machine Elf 1735 10:33, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

WP:COMMONNAME is part of WP:TITLE; this is because WP quite often chooses the most common name of a subject as the title. But it is not everything; there are other considerations. I do see a precision issue, for example; the existence of redirects does not obviate the question of what the article itself is best titled. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:37, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Could you please elaborate on how there would be a precision issue and why there's not currently a precision issue? Thanks.—Machine Elf 1735 16:04, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

I already have: aether is more precise than ether (and more accurate, since the dominant sense of ether is irrelevant to this article). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:11, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

No, you're just asserting it, apparently without understanding that these are merely different spellings of the exact same word. No one would want to contend that "luminiferous aether" is spelled more precisely than "luminiferous ether" and neither is incorrect. However, it should be changed, unless someone can come up with a reason not to use the more common spelling. It's as simple as that.—Machine Elf 1735 21:55, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Fibnd me a source in which "aether" means diethyl oxide, or retract that claim. Please retract the personal attack in either case. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:14, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Making false accusations of personal attacks is prohibited by WP:CIV. I suggest you retract it and be advised that I've found you a source in the hope that you'll quit WP:DISRUPTing this discussion.
Machine Elf 1735 01:34, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Such usage is apparently vanishingly rare, though.[11] (0 only means “fewer than 40 books in that year” IIRC, but still...) Also, I s'pose Frobenius was writing in German or Latin, wasn't he? A. di M.plédréachtaí 09:52, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree completely, trivia at best, for someone, sometime, somewhere, “aether”, (like “ether”) was an acceptable English translation for the term Frobenius applied to the liquid. I think you're right about that having been in Latin or German.
I don't know why S-PMA demanded I find that source… (page 63, btw). S-PMA had challenged my claim that none of the ethers/ethernets are “luminiferous”… Or rather, there was some hand-waving about a potential precision/disambiguation problem, for non-example, that I'm wrong such a thing would show up for the redirect. I asked S-PMA to elaborate (#RE-2). S-PMA didn't (#S-PMA-3 Here's their only other post: #S-PMA-1). S-PMA had only just joined the discussion, and seemed confused: (#RE-3). I thoughtfully explained things and for my trouble, S-PMA accuses me of personal attacks: (#S-PMA-4).
Transparent as that was, Noetica's back to enthusiastic endorse S-PMA's “contribution” and lecture me again: (#N-lecture2).—Machine Elf 1735 20:00, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm quite happy to admit that the graphs prove me wrong on the face of it. But since I don't know how accurate the graphs may be, it's difficult for me to know how much faith to place in them. The stepwise nature of the curves at some points does seem to indicate that very few examples of either spelling were found in any year and thus that we are talking about two common spellings of an uncommon word. In any case I still think that ether has a distinctive smell whereas aether doesn't. -- Derek Ross | Talk 20:26, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

The question would be, which spelling is more common. One way to answer that would be to review the sources used in this article. The more common spelling is "ether", it's not difficult to WP:VERIFY (just time-consuming). *g* Latin bathes more regularly.—Machine Elf 1735 21:55, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
<grin> Ah, yes. Those famous Roman baths! -- Derek Ross | Talk 23:02, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Here are my remarks on some comments above.
MachineElf: You are out of line in this: "You seem to be laboring under the same mistaken belief as Noetica regarding WP:TITLE, which says nothing whatsoever about failing to consider all but the most recent WP:RS." I did not say, and do not believe, that WP:TITLE gives definitive guidance to that effect. But you might take note of this text there: "Wikipedia describes current usage but cannot prescribe a particular usage or invent new names"; and this: "For Latin or Greek-derived words, use e or ae/oe, depending on modern usage and the national variety of English used in the article." It is patently clear that a large sample from the last twenty years of publication is a better indication of "modern usage" than a sample that is not so restricted. You are also out of line in your exchange with PMAnderson. Here is relevant evidence, by the way, from OED's entry "Ether, n.":

The spelling æther is still not uncommon in senses 1–3, and occasionally occurs in sense 5. In the chemical sense 6 ether is the only form recognized by good authorities.

Sense 5 is the one that includes "luminiferous ether"; note OED's exact words: "occasionally occurs". Sense 6 is of course the one that includes "diethyl ether". The individuation of words is far trickier than people generally allow; for what it's worth, OED supports your view that aether and ether are forms of the same word, but it allows semantic distinction to be correlated with spelling.
PMAnderson: Here and at another place I'll be posting at soon, I agree with some of what you say and I consider it useful. I do not agree that aether is any robust sense "more accurate" for the present article. It is an archaic spelling variant of a word that is sometimes retained for a notion with prominent very ancient roots (reminiscent of "Ye olde curiositie shoppe"). But Wikipedia is written in current English, and the decidedly dominant modern spelling of the word is ether, even if aether persists for period effect in discussion of the discredited notion of "luminiferous ether". Now, discussion of such issues involves "technical aspects of the use of the English language", so it is a danger area in light of this page. You, of course, will decide whether to pursue it. For what it's worth, I'm for enforcement, even if exceptions seem sometimes to be warranted by the odd short-term benefit.
NoeticaTea? 03:09, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Good God, what I've done... I feel so sorry for the admin who'll be adjudicating this. (No, this is not a withdrawal of the move request.) A. di M.plédréachtaí 00:57, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps it would help to clarify for the closing admin if I respond to Noetica (who actually supports the move). Noetica, if I'm reading you correctly, you don't believe that the WP:TITLE policy provides the definitive guide on “failing to consider all but the most recent WP:RS”. Obviously, I didn't claim I was quoting you, but you do believe that something provides guidance “to that effect”. I'll admit, it was a mistake to assume, in good faith, that you actually believed it was somehow relevant. Hopefully, I won't make any more mistakes like that, but it would help if you try to limit yourself to what's relevant. Thanks.

Anyway, you ask me to note WP:TITLE §WP:TITLECHANGES, which is about controversial name changes. Drama isn't controversy, but here's the full paragraph without the added emphasis:

“While titles for articles are subject to consensus, do not invent names as a means of compromising between opposing points of view. Wikipedia describes current usage but cannot prescribe a particular usage or invent new names.”

As I recall, you “always” use the same date filter, (roughly the last “twenty years”, I take it), but you don't think your one-size-fits-all approach is arbitrary in this case, even though it excludes all but 6 of this article's sources, (those 6 all use "ether", btw).

Noetica, you aggressively pushed your ideas about Google when you should have been courteously skeptical. Setting aside the date issue, for the moment, your method truncated the results making the ratio appear closer to 1:1 than it genuinely is. Your insistence on including "luminiferous æther" as equivalent to "luminiferous aether" further skewed your results. Finally, your insistence on an explicit English filter was irrelevant because anyone without an automatic English filter would have received virtually identical results when searching on the English words "luminiferous aether" and "luminiferous ether". I'm sorry to inform you that the one thing you got right in your rude initial post was “RMs need accurate evidence”. The remainder failed to provide that.

Although both spellings are English, it's interesting that you didn't choose the passage from WP:ENGLISH which actually would seem to lend support to your WP:RS expiry date… although your “thereabouts” are 5 years less than S-PMA's 25, resulting in a whopping 91 year difference from the non-relative 1900 date that appeared prior to S-PMA's June 22 revision of the guideline:

In general, the sources in the article, a Google book search of books published since 1990, and a selection of other encyclopaedias should all be examples of reliable sources; if all three of them use a term, then that is fairly conclusive. If one of those three diverges from agreement then more investigation will be needed. If there is no consensus in the sources, either form will normally be acceptable as a title. In general, the sources in the article, a Google book search of books published in the last quarter-century or thereabouts, and a selection of other encyclopaedias, should all be examples of reliable sources; if all three of them use a term, then that is fairly conclusive. If one of those three diverges from agreement then more investigation will be needed. If there is no consensus in the sources, either form will normally be acceptable as a title.

Had the question at hand been about foreign languages, foreign letters, diacritics or anything apropos of WP:ENGLISH, I suppose I would have been laboring under a mistaken belief myself. Apart from the counter-factual, I'm to understand that you've taken offense at such a suggestion. It's a shame you can't admit to a mistake, I had actually refrained from pointing out most of them.

As you're aware, relevant policy and guidelines say nothing whatsoever about “failing to consider all but the most recent WP:RS”. We are not establishing English convention (“individuation” ?) for an athlete's name, some obscure foreign place name, etc. What is “patently clear” is that you, and only you, repeatedly bring up "æther", to which your fragment from the OED is explicitly referring, and about which your second vague reference to scripture speaks also. WP:ENGLISH §WP:DIACRITICS is about sqiggles and funny letters like "æ". I'm afraid I missed it, if you had at any time suggested, but later abandoned, spelling it without an e or ae, spelling it with diacritics, or that "aether" is the modern spelling.

I'm afraid you would have to explain for me your seemingly ridiculous accusation that I was “out of line” with S-PMA as per your “relevant evidence” from the OED; evidence that “by the way”, “supports [my] view that aether and ether are forms of the same word”. Am I to apologize that you agree with me? Actually, you'd have quite a bit of explaining to do:

  1. where you imagine me personally attacking S-PMA (per WP:NPA, not OED)?
  2. where you imagine S-PMA said something “allows semantic distinction to be correlated with spelling”?
  3. what you mean by “another place [you'll] be posting at soon”, or rather, if it's your intention to spread your accusations about me?
  4. why you've brought up WP:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Pmanderson, given that you consider this to have been a “danger area” in terms of the topic ban on “technical aspects of the use of the English language”?
  5. what you meant by: “[You're] for enforcement, even if exceptions seem sometimes to be warranted by the odd short-term benefit.”

I'd say your vaguely menacing innuendo was much more unkind than what I said in #RE-4, (that I obliged the demand from #S-PMA-4), “Fibnd me a source in which "aether" means diethyl oxide, or retract that claim”, [sic] in the hope that S-PMA would quit WP:DISRUPTing the discussion.

I don't know where either of you imagine personal attacks, but S-PMA clearly asked me to retract the claim from #RE-3, (that S-PMA had not elaborated on “how there would be a precision issue and why there's not currently a precision issue” as I requested in #RE-2). S-PMA merely asserted in #S-PMA-2, “I do see a precision issue, for example; the existence of redirects does not obviate the question of what the article itself is best titled” but the existence of the redirect is neither an example of a supposed problem, nor does it explain why switching the names would manifest a problem. S-PMA's bewildering assertions in #S-PMA-3 (that "aether" is more precise and accurate than "ether", though it's somehow irrelevant), once again failed to offer any rational justification, despite the protest to the contrary.

Noetica, you claim to agree with some of what S-PMA said, but you neglect to say what. Frankly, you disagree with S-PMA's main point that “aether is any robust sense "more accurate" for the present article”, so apart from announcing your decision at long last, I find it difficult to fathom your post while assuming good faith. My bad?—Machine Elf 1735 13:24, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

The red text on yellow background above in your post reads “since 1990” not “since 1900”. A. di M.plédréachtaí 14:02, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Good grief! I was wondering why I couldn't find anything about such a drastic change on the talk page :) Thanks for catching that.—Machine Elf 1735 18:02, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
MachineElf, I am known for lengthy replies and for not letting an issue, once raised, fall gracefully from sight. But I simply cannot address all of what you write above. Much of it may be judged confused; I, at least, find it hard to follow and confusing. Some very quick points, and for the rest you may not take it that I accept anything that you say, or that I have no reply available. Life is too short; and the real world calls. Selected, brief points then:
  1. I have not, despite what you suggest emphatically above, voted in support of the move. I have presented evidence for consideration, and given my critique of other evidence.
  2. I am not, despite what you suggest above, unable to admit an error. I signalled some days ago that I had something more to appreciate in what PMAnderson had said, and I have just posted on that above. To be clear: Yes, Google has changed its ways without documenting the change. Any use of its "about" estimates remains as suspect as ever; but the recourse to the final page of results is not as reliable as it used to be; and different kinds of searches are treated differently, without that being stated. I want to get to the bottom of that, which is no easy task. First I have to find the time; then eventually I'll report at my talkpage. Others can do similarly, of course. Meanwhile, as I have more than once said in RMs, all Google evidence is to be treated with caution, or even suspicion.
  3. I explicitly reject any suggestion that I have been "aggressive"; if you have a particular issue of conduct to raise, do so clearly at my talkpage and you will be answered.
Once again, I pass over other things that I find fault with in your comments above; and I would prefer not to continue with anything on this page. If I stay silent, which I might, that is not to be read as my accepting anything that has been or will be said on this page.
NoeticaTea? 00:56, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
LOL, WP:IDHT Just ridiculous.—Machine Elf 1735 01:10, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Einstein's views[edit]

Nearly two years ago (version history, see also the following changes), I've created a new section on "Einstein's views on the aether". Now I thought it would be useful to create a new article of principally the same content with some expansions.

Einstein's views on the aether‎

Therefore, I've removed most of the content in this article due to redundancy and linked to the new article. Now, the reason why I think it's more appropriate to write the details in a new article is based on WP:Undue (that is, Einstein's later viewas are certainly notable per WP:N, but they are not in this article per WP:Undue when compared to other important steps in the historical development of the luminiferous aether). Thus I think, this shortened version is better than the previous one. --D.H (talk) 10:28, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

If it was Einstein's theory that toppled the aether, once and for all, it's ridiculous to suggest his views on exactly that subject are WP:UNDUE. Dismissing them because the term did not come back into fashion is quite beside the point. While segregating inconsistent material into a separate article certainly presents a more consistent point of view to the reader, see Talk:Einstein's views on the aether, that material cannot simply be dismissed, it must be properly summarized. But after reiterating Einstein's rejection of the aether, your summary provides only the following: "In his response Einstein wrote that one can actually speak about a "new aether", but one may not speak of motion in relation to that aether. This was further elaborated by Einstein, who also referred to this relativistic aether in some lectures concerning general relativity (1918, 1920, 1924, 1930), but his terminology never gained widespread support." It completely fails to say what one can speak of, albeit unfashionably.—Machine Elf 1735 11:32, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Whether a view is notable or not doesn't only depend on who is saying it, but on whether is is noted or accepted by others. Every one "knows" that Einstein's special relativity "refuted" the aether and this is the accepted textbook version. Einstein's later views are of course not as notable as his former views, since they weren't supported in textbooks etc. All of this is well known. For the same reason, Einstein's later attempt for create a unified field theory are not as important and notable than his achievements in relativity or quantum theory - this is exactly what WP:Undue stands for. PS: Which additional and notable details do you want to insert, why isn't it enough to refer to the main article? --D.H (talk) 11:50, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I've included some details. --D.H (talk) 12:08, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
And what is notable does not only depend on 'what every one "knows"' to be science textbooks. Your summary is almost as long as the original... Perhaps you're correct and it can be dubbed a "relativistic aether" that's equivalent to "space", but your latest revert introduces extraneous material about action at a distance, possibly because you've reviewed my recent edit history. I'd like to ask you to stop reverting and hold off on complicating the mater with tenuously related issues until your new article can be reviewed, developed and perhaps summarized by a less opinionated editor, if at all.—Machine Elf 1735 12:40, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
My edit concerning "action at a distance" was directly taken from Einsteins 1924 quote. Read it. There is nothing more to say. --D.H (talk) 14:43, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
In addition, the second part of Einstein's views on the aether is almost identical (with an additional quote) with the former section in this article that I wrote in the last two years. So when the new article is "biased", why didn't you criticize the content of the old article already in the last two years? Also, the secondary sources I used were Kostro and Stachel. On which secondary source written by historians of science did you base your opinion? --D.H (talk) 15:44, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I simply asked that someone, other than us, review it for neutrality. I'm not suggesting this article's previous material was exemplary, just well-cited, and I've certainly never characterized it as neutral, but here, at least, it was in-context.
As "required" by MachineElf... that's a hoot, you mean "requested".—Machine Elf 1735 04:23, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
To tone down the discussion a little bit, I brought the section back to the state before the discussion started (as required by Machine Elf), and added a split template. --D.H (talk) 17:38, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


Are there other opinions? --D.H (talk) 14:43, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Certainly. I have no great objection to the creation of a separate article on Einstein's views on the relation between GR and aether but if they are notable enough to require an article of their own, then they are certainly notable enough to be summarised in this article. Personally I thought his views notable enough to be summarized here (as they were originally) since this is Wikipedia's main article on aether theory and its history but not notable enough for their own article. So I wouldn't have created the other article but as I said earlier, I have no great objection to it if others such as yourself see a need. That was why I contented myself with adding back the headers and a little of your original text (to make a short summary) after you hived off the material. Left to myself I would move the unique content of the other article here and delete the other but as I say I don't feel strongly about it. -- Derek Ross | Talk 21:17, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I have no objection to summarising Einstein's views of the aether in this article but this must be done with care and an understanding of Einstein's theories. Einstein generally wrote for other experts in the subject and we cannot therefore take it that Einstein's words have the meaning that they might appear to have to a layman. We need a summary which clearly excludes any meanings for the term 'aether' that are incompatible with his theory of relativity. On this basis Einstein's comments amount to little more that philosophical musings. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:57, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I have several disagreements with this page, altho my opinions are probably in a minority. It is misleading to put in statements like, "Lorentz on his side continued to use the aether concept." Einstein also continued to believe in the aether concept. I also don't agree with Machine Elf saying that the early modern aether had nothing to do with the classical aether.[12] I agree with Frank Wilczek who said, "Quite undeservedly, the ether has acquired a bad name."[13] The aether is blamed for a lot of things that nobody actually said about it. This article should stick to what physicists actually said. Roger (talk) 23:16, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi [User:Schlafly|Roger], I'd be more than happy to discuss reverting your edit to the Aether theories, if you'll excuse my lack of brevity, I'm pressed for time. I agree that it would have been preferable to add some reason for using the classical name, however, as I said in my edit summary, neither of the reasons you provided were correct:
  • 10:41, 17 June 2012 (Undid revision 497917564 by Schlafly (talk) only celestial spheres composed of aether/ didn't "allows us to see the stars", voids & lights were explained by terrestrial spheres of air and fire)
As Maxwell might say, when Aristotle first invented an aether... he himself borrowed the name from Hesiod's personification of the bright upper air. He needed a fifth element, and although no element is a substance, (except in a somewhat tertiary sense), aether provided the sublime material out of which the classical planets (substances) were composed, (as well as the celestial spheres in which they were embedded and that of the fixed stars). The aether only existed in the celestial region above the terrestrial spheres (and in a qualified sense, below the outer void, though one couldn't properly characterize the diurnally rotating sphere of fixed stars as being in such a place). It had nothing whatsoever to do with anyone's theory of vision, and it was not something that "fills the universe": it was 47 to 55 hard shells surrounding the bowels of the cosmos, where everything exists... that comes to be and passes away. This "generation and corruption" was explained by the inter-transformation of the four Empedoclean elements, earth, air, fire and water. However, the aether was incapable of transforming into another element: thus, it was eternal and unchanging, with the sole exception that it must rotate at some constant uniform rate of motion in a perfect circle. The requirement that it be concentric with the center of the cosmos was relaxed early on. Now, it's true that a more fluidic, space-permeating conception of pneuma was conceived by the Stoics:

The first thing to develop from the conflagration are the elements. Of the four elements, the Stoics identify two as active (fire and air) and two as passive (water and earth). The active elements, or at least the principles of hot and cold, combine to form breath or pneuma. Pneuma, in turn, is the ‘sustaining cause’ … of all existing bodies and guides the growth and development of animate bodies. What is a sustaining cause? The Stoics think that the universe is a plenum. Like Aristotle, they reject the existence of empty space or void (except that the universe as a whole is surrounded by it). Thus, one might reasonably ask, ‘What marks any one object off from others surrounding it?’ or, ‘What keeps an object from constantly falling apart as it rubs elbows with other things in the crowd?’ The answer is: pneuma. Pneuma, by its nature, has a simultaneous movement inward and outward which constitutes its inherent ‘tensility.’ (Perhaps this was suggested by the expansion and contraction associated with heat and cold.) Pneuma passes through all (other) bodies; in its outward motion it gives them the qualities that they have, and in its inward motion makes them unified objects (Nemesius, 47J). In this respect, pneuma plays something of the role of substantial form in Aristotle for this too makes the thing of which it is the form both ‘some this,’ i.e. an individual, and ‘what it is’ (Metaph. VII, 17). Because pneuma acts, it must be a body and it appears that the Stoics stressed the fact that its blending with matter is ‘through and through’ (Galen 47H, Alex. Aph. 48C). Perhaps as a result of this, they developed a theory of mixture which allowed for two bodies to be in the same place at the same time. It should be noted, however, that some scholars (e.g. Sorabji, 1988) think that the claim that pneuma is blended through the totality of matter is a conclusion that the Stoics' critics adversely drew about what some of their statements committed them to…[1]

— Dirk Baltzly, "Stoicism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Aristotle provides fodder for linking pneuma and aether in a famously inscrutable remark, and Stoicism did have some influence on later physics. Bearing concerns such Martin Hogbin's generally in mind, if you would, I'll leave you with a source that goes on to contrast the Stoic and Aristotelian cosmoi... you may find it useful, if you'd like to revisit your edit:

Stoic physical ideas were revived during the late Renaissance as an alternative to the dominant Aristotelian natural philosophy. Stoicism offered a unified physics of the heavens and the earth and a substance of the heavens that consisted of air and or fire rather than a special fifth element. The planets were intelligent creatures capable of moving themselves, and astrology could be understood as a physical interaction between the heavens and the earth. The influence of Stoicism in physics was limited by the revival of Epicureanism in the early seventeenth century, although the Stoic ideas continued to be important in alchemy and early chemistry…[2]

— Wilbur Applebaum, Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton
Machine Elf 1735 04:23, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Your sources do not say anything contrary to what I said. The ancient Greeks had ideas about fire, air, atoms, aether, gravity, and many other things. Their concepts were primitive compared to modern science. But we don't have silly essays saying that Greek atoms have nothing to do with early modern atoms, which in turn have nothing to do with modern atoms. Atoms are atoms. Fire is fire. And aether is aether. The same words are used for good reason. Roger (talk) 06:28, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Please all bear in mind that this article is about the late 19th century scientific concept of the 'luminiferous aether' and that we have a separate article on aether (classical element).
Also, please remember that this discussion is specifically about Einstein's views of the luminiferous aether. These clearly were that the concept of the aether was rendered unnecessary by his theory of relativity although he mused that the word 'aether' could be pressed into service for what is now generally just called 'spacetime'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:41, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Martin, maybe you can check Einstein's views on the aether as to whether you think it's neutral or not. After that, the participants in this discussion should decide a) to re-merge the article back to here as requested by Machine Elf, or b) let the new article stay and write a summary in this article. (I prefer b). --D.H (talk) 09:49, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
My view is that this article should contain a summary of the subject.
My first thoughts on the Einstein's views on the aether are that it should be deleted. There is no physics content to the article and little philosophical content. An alternative might be to rename it and expand its scope to make it into a historical article on Einstein's thoughts while he was developing GR, including his thoughts on Mach's principle, for example and maybe correspondence with physicists on other subjects. If that is thought to be a worthwhile project and we have someone willing to get it started then maybe the article should be saved. As the article is now it seems to be promoting fringe ideas and should be deleted. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:33, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Hmm..since most users want the summary here, while the new article was criticized by two editors (albeit on different grounds), I've removed the content of the new article and redirected it to the old section of this article. I've also removed the split template. --D.H (talk) 13:58, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Here is the old version of the article [14], in case anyone wants to read what is being summarized. Roger (talk) 14:43, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
It's not the summary of the removed article, it's of course the unchanged summary section from May 27, which is in the article again. --D.H (talk) 15:18, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be shortened. I really says nothing at all except that those who, for some reason or other, wish to use the term 'aether' must continually change its meaning to match the latest physics. In that, almost religious, sense the aether can never be abandoned for, whatever is discovered, it can always be claimed that the aether is responsible. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:08, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
If the aether is defined as whatever allows light transmission thru the void, then yes, it will never be abandoned. To the ancients, it was whatever filled the void and allowed us to see the stars. In the 1800s, there were several theories, leading up to Lorentz who explicitly avoided expressing assumptions about the nature of the aether. Einstein's opinions are a confused mess. In the 20th century, quantum field theory has an aether that it more usually called a quantum vacuum or other names. The aether is as essential to modern physics as it ever has been in the past, even if the terminology varies somewhat. Roger (talk) 18:00, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, rather like the invisible pixies that are responsible for enforcing all the laws of physics. Without them ther would be no physics. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:55, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
  1. ^ Baltzly, Dirk (2010). "Stoicism". In Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 ed.). 
  2. ^ Applebaum, Wilbur (2000). Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities. Garland Pub. p. 964. ISBN 9780815315032. LCCN 00025149. 

The current article is not a fair picture of the arguments for and against the Aether hypothesis.[edit]

The reasons why physicist came to believe in the Aether hypothesis are not fully and properly described. Furthermore it is also not pointed out that modern non-Aether physics cannot satisfactorily explain some of the observations that Aether physics does explain. In addition the usual objections to the Aether hypothesis are not examined for their validity. Also it is not acceptable to judge the Aether hypothesis by the teachings of Modern physics which has for 100 years rejected the hypothesis; and this is the attitude of the article. In summation the current article gives a biased and misleading view of the hypothesis. I give some examples:- The speed of light is 299,792,458m/s. In the Aether hypothesis this velocity is the propagation velocity of the Aether substance in a manner analogous to the propagation velocity of material substances. Modern physics has no explanation. In attempts to detect the Aether velocity of a body (eg. Michelson-Morley) the article does not take into account the effects of a physics derived from the hypothesis. It is obvious that the laws of nature must be somewhat different when based upon Space being an Aether than if it is not. In particular length contraction and time dilation as functions of Aether velocity have been suggested as a consequence of the Aether hypothesis albeit in an ad hoc fashion. I await comments before expanding further.RFNo (talk) 15:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Be sure to cite some reliable sources, and not just rely on what you think is obvious. Roger (talk) 22:06, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
The problem is not so much sources as the attitude of those who have created the article. Presumably the authors are physicists who accept that the Aether hypothesis is false, as has been the teaching for the last 100 years. This has led to an article which does not give a fair (and true) picture of the argument. To be fair the article should contain a list of the advantages that the Aether hypothesis was considered to possess and the reasons behind that belief. Otherwise a reader will not be able to understand why the 19c physicist believed in the Aether. Similarly the objections to the hypothesis should be listed BUT they must be treated with respect to a physics derived from the hypothesis. I repeat, the problem is mainly one of attitude. Wiki is not currently giving a true and full picture to the reader. Instead it is tending towards a propaganda article in the support of non-Aether physics.RFNo (talk) 11:02, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
If so, you will be able to find some reliable, modern secondary sources that discuss the strengths of the Aether hypothesis, and can cite them in support of your edits. If not, you may appear to be promoting a fringe theory, and run the risk of being reverted. You might like to read WP:FRINGE, and indeed WP:NOR, before beginning. GrindtXX (talk) 12:01, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Modern physics ditched the Aether 100 years ago. Hence there are no modern sources which present an unbiased case on the Aether. You must know that so what is your motive for suggesting modern sources. I have to presume that you are merely trying to keep this article as it is ie. biased and untrue. I also do not appreciate your attempt to smear me by insinuating that I may be promoting a fringe theory. I am not. Do you have an objection to the article giving the reasons why physicists advanced the Aether hypothesis? The article is surely not complete without it.RFNo (talk) 13:23, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
'Modern physics ditched the Aether 100 years ago', exactly! WP presents scientific subjects from a current mainstream scientific viewpoint. Fringe views on scientific subjects are not given equal weight to the mainstream views. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:46, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
@RFNo. No, I am not suggesting that you should cite modern physics textbooks that support the Aether hypothesis: as you say, it's unlikely that there are any. What I am saying is that you should be able to support anything you add with citations of modern secondary accounts of the debate in history of science books and articles, otherwise you would seem to be straying into original research. Nor am I saying that I want to keep the article exactly as it is: I don't believe there's anything on Wikipedia that can't be improved. If you want to explain in greater detail the thinking behind the Aether hypothesis, as it was understood in the C19, in a neutral tone, and supported by reliable sources – preferably up to date secondary sources – I for one would be delighted. However, some of your remarks above suggest that you want to defend the Aether hypothesis, and to argue that it remains as valid as rival hypotheses. That would be to fly in the face of the modern, mainstream scientific consensus, and would undoubtedly be considered as promoting a fringe theory. GrindtXX (talk) 01:04, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
The problem as I see it is that you are suggesting that any change that i might wish to make must be backed by a 'reliable' source YET the article is biased to the extent that its authors have chosen to deliberately not publish a true picture of why the hypothesis was once accepted as mainstream physics (please note, Martin Hogbin). The article will therefore not improve greatly by small changes. The whole article needs to be rewritten from a different perspective in order to give the truer picture that Wiki desires. It seems to me that that cannot be achieved by discussion on this forum. There needs to be a better way. I am open to suggestions. RFNo (talk) 13:38, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Histories of aether theories were given by Whittaker (1910), Schaffner (1972), or Darrigol (2000), see the sources in the article. As far as I can see, the current article correctly reflects the mainstream view, but there is of course always room for further improvements and for detailed descriptions, as long as they are based on reliable sources and in agreement with WP guidelines. --D.H (talk) 19:11, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
It is totally wrong for an article on the Aether to reflect the mainstream physics view. This article must not be an advert for the opposing idea of Spacetime and its consequences. As an example I refer you to the article on the god Ra. This article takes the line that the Aether article should take. There is only one sentence in the whole article which states the current position that the religion of Ra was superceded by Christianity. There are plenty of Wiki pages that describe mainstream physics. This one is on the Aether. I must now ask who decides what goes into this article.RFNo (talk) 10:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
The answer to that question is the community decides, through consensus – see WP:CON. As I understand your objections, you are not contesting any (or many) of the statements of fact in this article; but you are saying it is unbalanced, in that the emphasis is on the story of how the aether hypothesis was challenged and eventually discredited, rather than on what it was and why scientists believed in it. So be bold and start adding some material to expand on that. But be careful to stick within Wikipedia rules and guidelines – particularly regarding citation of sources, and neutrality – or you'll find yourself reverted. GrindtXX (talk) 00:49, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
@RFNo: This article deals with one of the Superseded scientific theories, examples being flat earth or Phlogiston theory. All of them include long descriptions of the reasons why the model was abandoned, including the modern view. As explained, you are of course allowed to expand the description of the aether models (in accordance with reputable secondary sources), but your suggestion to remove or shorten the explanations why the luminiferous aether model has been abandoned by mainstream science contradicts the sources written by modern historians of science.--D.H (talk) 10:31, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
That the Aether has been superceded within modern physics is not of great relevance to a description of the Aether hypothesis. It appears that you wish to continue using this article as an advert for a modern theory which is adequately described in many other wiki articles. This is a travesty of the purpose of Wiki. You have not answered my question; Who decides what goes into this article? Is it you and if so why?RFNo (talk) 11:37, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
My previous post is addressed to D.H., GrindtXX and any other person who is responsible for the content of this article.RFNo (talk) 11:52, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Who is the 'community' that decides on the content of this article. I do not see much point in my modification of this article unless and until the 'community' recognizes the main point that I am making regarding this article. How do I know whether i have consensus support or not? Let me make it clear, if I have not already done so, that the article should concentrate on the Aether hypothesis, the reasons why it was proposed and its eminent supporters. In addition the article should list the main objections together with the counterarguments to those objections. Certainly the article needs to state that Modern physics has rejected the hypothesis but it is also relevant to point out where the theories of modern physics do not possess as satisfactory an explanation as the Aether hypothesis. The final object is to give the reader a full picture of the Aether hypothesis and the arguments for and against. It is totally wrong for the article to come out on one side of the argument or the other.RFNo (talk) 12:15, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
@RFNo: You appear to be a relatively inexperienced editor, and you seem to have little understanding of how Wikipedia works. So read WP:BOLD, and then make some changes to the article. "The community" is anybody who is sufficiently interested to note what you have done. So far, nobody has disagreed with your basic point that the rationale for the aether model could usefully be explained in greater detail. If we do disagree with anything you add or change, we will debate it with you point by point. Until then, there is really no point in this conversation continuing. GrindtXX (talk) 13:19, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
GrindtXX. Yes, I have never so far edited a Wiki article. I will now go away to decide upon the detailed changes I think necessary and eventually edit the article bit by bit. This may take some time. I expect that my changes will be extensive.RFNo (talk) 13:59, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Can I give you, as someone who has not edited WP before, some advice, which is to start with a relatively small edit and see what reaction you get. You can, if you wish, rewrite the whole article from top to bottom but you may well find that your edit get reverted, which will be a great waste of your time and which you might find rather disheartening.
Make a small but significant change and see what reaction you get from others. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:03, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Why does Plenum redirect here?[edit]

Why does Plenum redirect here? This article doesn't contain the word Plenum once. (Redirected from Plenum (physics)) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Please sign your talk page messages by adding four tildes at the end of the message. Thanks. - DVdm (talk) 20:36, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the OP. There seems little justification for the redirect. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:37, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
This gets into archaic historical stuff. From what I remember from many, many years ago in History of Science class, certain of the ancient Greek philosophers didn't believe in such a thing as totally empty space. Descartes considered "action at a distance" to be inconceivable, so considered the universe to be a plenum. (See and Stanford History of Philosophy) Descartes is very low on my list of favorite philosophers, so I'm not exactly eager to contribute a section justifying the redirect. Stigmatella aurantiaca (talk) 01:31, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

I also followed the redirect only to find that plenum isn't mentioned at all. Warrickball (talk) 10:18, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I suggest that you change or remove the redirect. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:00, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I have added the word "plenum" to the article. The reason that the redirect comes here is that the physical plenum was supposed to be a plenum of aether. -- Derek Ross | Talk 18:23, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Minor edit removing unencyclopedic words[edit]

The word "cherished" in "[Lorentz's] cherished concept of the aether" doesn't seem appropriate for an encyclopedia. I removed the word cherished, but someone put it back. This should be a completely non-controversial edit. Jrheller1 (talk) 04:40, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

agree. cherished doesn't belong unless there is a specific citation. Constant314 (talk) 05:27, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
No problem. See Google Scholar, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Books. Please note that "cherished" and "Lorentz" are independent in our sentence. "Lorent'z aether" has a specific meaning—see Google Scholar, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Books. If a quote is needed, we can pick one. I'll check back in later. - DVdm (talk) 07:36, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
I have no dispute with Lorent'z aether Constant314 (talk) 09:03, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
This article is about "luminiferous aether", a concept invented primarily by people before Lorentz. I don't like "Lorentz's aether" because it associates Lorentz too strongly with aether. He developed a theory that used the concept of aether, but in his theory there was only one mechanical property of aether (immobility). So there was a progression of aether concepts: from having multiple mechanical properties, to only immobility (in Lorentz's theory), to complete elimination of aether after 1905. Jrheller1 (talk) 18:12, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, sure, this article is about "luminiferous aether", but the specific passage in that section is about Einstein's view of ether, in relation to Lorentz' preferred (aka cherished) view. So the qualifications are essential and relevant to the content. Removing Lorentz would simply destroy the meaning of the passage, and removing "cherished" would not be necessary. You can check the abundant sources that you find in the above given books and scholar searches. - DVdm (talk) 18:41, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Lorentz got rid of some of the mechanical properties of aether to make his theory fit new scientific data, not because he "preferred" this concept of aether. Later, the modern form of the Lorentz transformation was derived by Larmor, Lorentz, and Poincare and used by Einstein. The modern form of the Lorentz transformation is true whether aether exists or not, so by this point, aether could be completely eliminated. What is going on here is an evolution of the concept of aether, not an evolution of "Lorentz's aether", let alone "Lorentz's cherished aether". Jrheller1 (talk) 20:17, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, an evolution of the concept of aether, and/but in this context we're talking about and referring to Lorentz's cherished version. I don't see any problem - DVdm (talk) 20:36, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
I did not see a quote for cherished. I think cherished should be removed as it connotes a particular emotional response to a theory. It doesn’t add anything to the article’s subject which is luminiferous aether. On the other hand “Lorentz's aether” informally identifies an aether with a particular set of properties and I’m OK with that. However, it could be reworded as “aether as Lorentz understood it.” Constant314 (talk) 20:38, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Ok, I have done this, as you suggested, and replaced the seemingly problematic "cherished" with "preferred". As for the sources, see for instance [15], but I have no problem replacing the cheries with preferences Face-smile.svg. - DVdm (talk) 20:49, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
That looks satisfactory to me.Constant314 (talk) 20:58, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Despite that, meanwhile this happened. I have added another wikilink: [16]. - DVdm (talk) 06:40, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

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