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Last updated on Tuesday 6th June 2023

The First Heresy: Michelson – Morley proves light is a wave Abstract

The two foundations of modern physics are Maxwell’s equations and the Michelson-Morley experiment. In the equations, the speed of light is a constant. By comparing the speed of light from a moving source with light orthogonal to the direction of movement, the experiment showed that light was also always measured to move at the same speed.

From this discovery many concluded that there is no medium in the vacuum. But, while the medium moving past the emitter varies the wave’s speed, the MM test had the emitter moving through the medium, which produces different wavelengths (the Doppler effect) instead.

The only explanation that fits the experimental result of light’s invariant speed in a vacuum, is that light is a longitudinal wave, structurally similar to sound waves. All longitudinal waves move at a speed fixed by the medium they travel in. The Michelson-Morley experiment proved that light is a wave, so the vacuum must have a medium for it to move in. We suggest reasons why this simple, clear result has been so muddled for so long.

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