Introduction (The Rise of Paradox)  

Since its introduction in 1905, the Special Theory of Relativity has been elevated to the status of fact by most authorities and is generally considered to be unassailable in view of the observational and experimental evidence. The modern interpretation of the theory excludes the necessity of a medium for the transmission of electromagnetic energy and assigns a universal speed to such transmission in vacuo regardless of the motion of the source or receiver. Yet,the postulates of the Special Theory of Relativity are ultimately paradoxical -paradox being an inevitable consequence of any theory that eliminates a conducting medium as well as a preferred reference frame for electromagnetic energy transmission in vacuo. By the end of the Nineteenth century, the wavelike nature of light was well established and was generally considered to require a medium -the "luminiferous aether" -for its transmission. Evidence supporting the existence of this aether medium was found in the optical correctness of binary star systems as well as observations of stellar aberration. Yet, in 1887, a carefully designed optical experiment conducted by A.A. Michelson and E.W. Morley failed to detect the conjectured aether.

In response to the null results of the Michelson and Morley experiment, several hypotheses were advanced, including the assertion that the aether was "dragged" by the earth in its orbit. This aether drag hypothesis was soon abandoned, however, since it was argued successfully that its application would eliminate the observation of stellar aberration (See Diagram 1 and 2). 


   Figure A demonstrates a light ray entering a hypothetical fully conducting medium (aether) that is moving to the right of the page. Figure B represents the path of the ray through the medium over time (dashed line). Note that the ray is fully dragged with the medium and exits the medium at a point exactly opposite that of entry. The ray also retains its orientation during transit such that the angle of exit and the angle of entry are identical. (For diagrammatical convenience, the convention of a light "ray" is utilized here and in the diagrams that follow).


Figure A represents a stellar ray entering the "luminiferous aether" that was conjectured to surround the earth. Figure B (dashed lined) demonstrates the path of the ray through the aether over time. Note that the ray is fully dragged by the aether (See Diagram 1) and that no drifting or reorientation of the ray occurs (Figure C). This narrow concept of a transmitting medium for light in vacuo was consistent with the Michelson and Morley experiment, but was incompatible with the observation of stellar aberration. The rejection of a singular, earth-attached aether provided the impetus for the advancement of the postulates of the Special Theory of Relativity.

A more radical approach, independently advanced by G.F. Fitzgerald and H.A. Lorentz, was based upon a contraction of matter in the direction of motion through the aether. This hypothesis could account for the null results of the Michelson and Morley experiment by mathematically equalizing the light transit times along the two optical paths of the test apparatus. An additional factor of time dilation was soon added in apparent anticipation of experiments utilizing optical arms of unequal lengths (e.g., the Kennedy and Thorndike experiment of 1932). [2] Thus, the application of both the length contraction and time dilation formulae had the result of mathematically canceling any effect that movement through an aether medium might have on the transit time of light regardless of the optical path lengths of the test apparatus and of any change in the velocity of the resultant "aether wind" relative to the apparatus. 

In 1905, A. Einstein introduced his restricted theory of relativity wherein he rejected the feasibility of measuring absolute motion and asserted that if the aether did exist, it was of no value in measuring uniform motion. Einstein further asserted that light travels at the same constant speed in vacuo regardless of the motion of its source and incorporated the equations of Lorentz and Fitzgerald so as to render both mechanical and optical laws equivalent in all inertial reference frames. [3]

The resort to paradox in describing electromagnetic energy transmission is unnecessary, however, if the current observational and experimental evidence can be reconciled with a transmitting medium for such energy in vacuo. If the transmitting medium consists of interacting fields that surround massive objects (mass), reconciliation is possible (See Diagram 3).


Interacting field domains are shown in this simplified diagram (not to scale). Although the existence of an aether medium was a logical extrapolation from wave phenomena, such an all-pervasive aether was inconsistent with the mounting observational and experimental evidence and was eliminated early on as a possible conducting medium for electromagnetic energy in vacuo. Apparently, serious consideration was not given to the possibility that the conducting medium consisted of interacting field domains surrounding the earth, sun and other massive bodies.

It is postulated here that matter fields surround all massive bodies (mass) and that such fields comprise the medium for the transmission of electromagnetic energy in vacuo. The field is predicted to be refrangible with the index of refraction dependent upon the field intensity. The field may be dispersive under restrictive conditions. It is highly probable that the matter field and the gravitational field are the same entity.

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