Copyright © Harold Aspden, 2002

This is the chapter which has introduced the aether in its full context as something we can decipher as to its structure and its quantitative properties. I have three points that, in retrospect, I need to comment on in view of the later development of this theory.

Space polarization energy

It is on page 111 that I refer to space polarization energy, knowing that the aether cannot adopt the state at which its electrostatic interaction energy density is at its absolute minimum, but positive, value. It simply has to involve some displacement from that truly level of energy and so it must possess what has now come to be termed 'zero-point' energy.

The question is: "What determines that level of energy density?" I tried to answer this in 1969 in 'Physics without Einstein' by the analysis presented on pages 122-123. It was not until some years on that I discovered the true controlling factor. My book 'Physics without Einstein' had interested Dr. D. M. Eagles and from his base at the National Measurement Laboratory he set out to check my aether analysis leading to the theoretical evaluation of the fine-structure constant. I will not dwell here on the outcome of that exercise, save to say that by 1972 he and I had collaborated in publishing a paper [1972a] which resolved the energy priming problem.

The least energy state had to be consistent with a resonance as beteen the electron and the aether particle that defined the aether lattice structure. It meant that there was a very slight displacement from the true zero-energy state and that displacement not only determined the zero-point energy density that can sustain electromagnetic oscillations but it determined the fine-structure constant with great precision.

Derivation of Planck's constant

On page 115 of 'Physics without Einstein' one finds that my best estimate of hc/2πe2 in terms of my theory as it stood in 1969 was 137.038. I had no more to say on this at the time, given that the data I had available told me that this was precisely the measured value of that quantity. I was, of course, well satisfied and only became concerned when a specialist referee at the National Physical Laboratory in U.K. who had been requested to review my book for the Institution of Electrical Engineers, of which I was a Fellow, declared that the most recent precision measurement had changed the value of that constant to 137.036.

There was nothing I could do. I was still holding faith with my theory. Some factor was at work which affected that priming energy, or 'space polarization energy', to use the term in my book, and I could but hope that the passage of time would bring the needed inspiration.

As it was Dr. Eagles came onto the scene and a very rigorous evaluation of that energy and its bearing on the determination of the fine-structure constant was possible. It proved to be 137.0359148 but was then at the level where minor experimental factors could affect measurements anywhere but in free space well remote from any material object. Any onward challenge was then extremely unlikely. The theory was secure, but it has still to become accepted.

The muon

It was in this chapter 6 that I brought the muon or mu-meson into the aether picture. I had not intended that the aether theory I was developing should involve electrically charged energy quanta other than perhaps the electron, the aether lattice particle and something that imparted a mass property to what I called the 'contuuum', the G-frame medium and the electrical system that neutralized the aether from polarization by the charges of the lattice particles.

The muon emerged on its own by virtue of a number 5062 derived from equation (6.67) on page 118. I had already by equation (6.63) on page 116 shown that the lattice charge had a mass that was less than that of the electron by a factor of 24.52 and I jumped to attention when I saw that that number 5062 divided by 24.52 gave a value between 206 and 207 electron mass units. This, I knew, was a pointer to the muon, an exotic mystery particle known from cosmic rays and a particle that has been dubbed 'the heavy electron', but a particle which physicists could not see had a role to play in the make-up of matter or the universe.

So here, in this chapter 6, I saw my theory was leading me into the realm of particle physics, my stimulus being the fact that my theoretical derivation of G, the constant of gravitation, had given a formula (6.73) on page 121 of 'Physics without Einstein' that depended on the graviton being heavier than the electron by a factor of 5063. That compounded the mystery for a while, but it caused me to search for evidence in particle data tables in the hope of finding some clues that could help in this quest.

The inescapable outcome from that 1969 period was that my interest had been aroused in the world of particle physics and, quite naturally, it caused me to develop a theme I had begun in my 1960 booklet 'The Theory of Gravitation', namely the quest to bring the proton somehow into the aether picture.

Note here that, once I had decided that the Heisenberg jitter shared by matter and by the aether lattice charges had to be balanced dynamically by something in what I called the G-frame, I had to contemplate a heavy particle form in that G-frame, so as not to affect the result of my formal analysis of the fine-structure constant. The obvious choice was a particle having a mass of the order of the proton mass and, even in 1959, I thought I was making progress on that track, as is evident from page 27 of that 1960 work. However, I will say more about that in my commentary on chapter 7, but I give warning here that the reader should either skip over or just glance through what is said in pages 139-145 of that chapter in 'Physics without Einstein', because by 1975 I was destined to discover something that far outweighs what is there proposed, making it necessary to eliminate that analysis from further consideration. At best it presents an interesting example of how theory in physics can develop in a way which is so deceptive and misleading. For all I know it may have some significance in the context of another version of that duality issue I mentioned above as a quirk of Nature but I will not dwell further on that possibility.

To gain access to chapter 7 the reader may now wish to return to the Contents page of 'Physics without Einstein'.