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    Pierre Duhem alleged that Maxwell cheated. Was the allegation justified?
    Posted on Friday, January 12, 2007 @ 23:56:06 GMT by vlad

    Science FDT writes: Maxwell's 1861 paper 'On Physical lines of Force', which is available in the downloads section, is the most compelling piece of evidence ever written, for the existence of an elastic medium for the propagation of light.

    The argument that is most commonly used to undermine and discredit Maxwell's 1861 paper comes from a nineteenth century French positivist called Pierre Duhem. Duhem alleged that Maxwell cheated.

    Duhem's argument relates to Maxwell's use of Newton's equation for the speed of sound at equation (132) in part III. Maxwell used hydrodynamics in part I to ascertain that magnetism arises from a sea of aethereal vortices. In part II, he ascertained that these vortices need to be surrounded by electrical particles in order to account for how the sea of vortices can be sustained naturally. He then showed how this inter linking of vortices and electrical particles can lead to Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction at equation (54), and also to the Lorentz force at equation (77).

    In part III, Maxwell assumed that the electrical particles of the vortex cells give rise to an elastic solid. He obtained a link between the Weber constant and the transverse elasticity of this elastic solid, and he then substituted the Weber constant into Newton's equation for the speed of sound. He obtained the speed of light and concluded that the luminiferous medium and the magnetic medium must be one and the same thing.

    This should be evidence beyond reasonable doubt that such an elastic solid exists. However, it has been undermined by the Pierre Duhem allegation.

    Pierre Duhem alleges that Maxwell should have divided the transverse elasticity in equation (132) by two, to account for dispersion of the wave in an infinite solid. However, we all know today about laser beams. We all know that a single light ray is coherent. Did Pierre Duhem know about laser beams? Did he sabotage Maxwell before he knew all the facts?

    Is it really likely that Maxwell made an error, and just by chance happened to get the speed of light?

    I would say that it is much more likely that Maxwell's obtaining of the speed of light from equation (132) was proof of the fact that he was using the correct equation. His result should have been seen as a lead. We should be asking ourselves, 'What kind of solid allows for the propagation of coherent waves?'

    Maxwell had in fact already provided the answer. A solenoidal vortex sea would be totally isotropic and would swivel into line with any source of spin. If the magnetic B field is to be based on the axes of the vortex cells then we can easily account for magnetism as being the alignment of a solenoidal vortex sea around sources of spin.

    Read more at 'The Unification of Electricity and Magnetism' in the downloads section.

    Yours sincerely, David Tombe



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