Before we begin our discussion about the existence of the “Ether” we first need to define what the Ether is? When I talk about the Ether, what I am talking about the medium for the propagation of light. It is my opinion that light propagates through a medium and I call this medium Ether, sometimes spelled like this Aether, or like this Æther.
The Michelson-Morley experiment is often sited as PROOF that the Ether doesn’t exist. Whenever I have a conversation with someone (anyone) about “the Ether “, the first thing they say is: “Don’t you know that the MM-Experiment disproved the Ether ? The Science is apparently “settled” on this matter. The MM-Experiment got a NULL result, therefore, the Ether does not exist.
Here’s the thing. What if they had the wrong model of the Ether when they did their experiments? What if their experiment disproved an Ether that doesn’t actually exist? Wouldn’t that be a good thing? It is my opinion that there is a medium for the propagation of light (Ether). It is a ponderable “substance” analogous to all other media in the Universe that are able to propagate waves. Instead of asking the question “Does the Ether exist?” maybe we should be asking the question “CAN the Ether exist?”. CAN there be a medium for the propagation of light? Is there a different model of the Ether that explains all observations including the NULL result of the MM-Experiment? The Ether that Michelson and Morley were looking for was a static Ether that we are moving through. The Ether I am proposing is a dynamic Ether that we are moving WITH.
Here is a real life analogy. (I love analogies.)
Let’s say we have a pool full of water and a stick. If you dip the stick into the water, you feel no forces. But if you wave the stick through the water, you feel forces. Now, let’s imagine that we are on a raft floating down a river. When you dip the stick into the water, you are going to feel little or no forces. Why? Because the raft and the stick are at rest with respect to the water. In a similar manner, I argue that the Earth (and all earthly experiments) are at rest with respect to the Ether and this is why they got a NULL result. In the above analogy, the Ether is the flowing river, the raft is the Earth and the stick is the MM-Experiment.
Long story short, I argue that the STATIC Ether model that Michelson and Morley were looking for…DOES NOT EXIST. The NULL result of the MM-Experiment disproved their static Ether MODEL, not the Ether (medium) itself. They just had the wrong model. The Ether model that I am proposing actually PREDICTS a null result in the MM-Experiment. The NULL result of the MM-Experiment merely ruled out a STATIC Ether model but it does not rule out a DYNAMIC Ether model, where the Earth and the MM-Experiment are at rest with respect to the Ether .
We may never be able to prove or disprove the existence of the Ether with any certainty whatsoever. In other words, we may never be able to answer the question “Does the Ether Exist?”. Because of this, I think a better question to ask is: “Can there be an Ether ?”. Does there exist an Ether MODEL that makes a correct prediction for the speed of light and the NULL result of the MM-Experiment? Does there exist an Ether MODEL that explains gravity, charge and magnetism in terms that are easy to understand? If an Ether model exists that can explain all these things AND, if this model greatly simplifies the understanding of the universe AND if this Ether model is able to unify all forces and phenomenon in a coherent and logical manner, THEN the answer to the question “Can there be an Ether ?” is unequivocally YES.