The author's theory of the aether has, as its very foundation, a fundamental structure, analysis of which in terms of the physics of electricity and electromagnetism, gives full account of the nature of the photon, as verified by a theoretical evaluation of the fine-structure constant in excellent accord with its measured value. The fine-structure constant is a dimensionless physical quantity which plays a dominant role in the theoretical interpretation of the radiation spectrum of atoms and so in the interpretation of cosmological data by the astrophysicist.

The theory dates from the late 1950s and was first introduced in 1960 by the author's
48 page publication* 'The Theory of Gravitation'*, which showed how to derive the following
formula:

This is an expression for the inverse of the fine-structure constant, a physical quantity dependent upon the Planck constant h, the speed of light c and the unitary charge of the electron, all quantities which are characteristic properties of the aether. Note that h is the fundamental parameter of quantum theory in that it governs the jitter motion that is associated with Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty concerning the relationship between position and momentum of matter in its interaction with the vacuum medium, the aether. The electric charge e is the seat of the aether displacement currents we associate with electrical energy storage in the vacuum medium and with electromagnetic wave propagation through that medium at the speed of light c. The ratio r/d is a term that emerges from the author's theory as the radius r of a circular orbital motion, that jitter motion just mentioned, expressed in terms of the lattice spacing d of a cubic structure seen as defining the sites of electric charges of magnitude e permeating the whole of what we call space, namely the aether, which charge is neutralized electrically by being set in a background continuum of a uniformly dispersed system of charge of opposite polarity.

The author's task in that late 1950 effort was that of deriving the theoretical value of r/d, based on those lattice charges taking up positions of minimum, but positive, energy potential and connecting the result to a disturbance of the aether lattice by causing a tiny 3x3x3 unit of that lattice to spin and so account for the setting up electromagnetic waves, the frequency of which is proportional to the angular speed of the spin and the energy involved, this being the phenomenon we term the 'photon'. Contrary to the physicist's orthodox opinion that photons transfer energy by travelling at the speed of light, the theory indicated that photons are standing events seated in the aether at points where energy is exchanged between matter and aether and vice versa, whereas the communication at light speed is by electromagnetic waves which signal the amount of energy by their frequency and control a one-to-one energy quantum transfer by virtue of conveying a quantum of momentum between the two events.

That, in summary, is what the author's theoretical derivation of the fine-structure constant meant and, that quantity having no alternative explanation in physics, the result was clear evidence that we exist within a real omnipresent aether medium and that our future progress in understanding cosmology and many of the outstanding mysteries of science depends upon our accepting that the aether really does exist and not trying to evade reference to it, as one does in following the doctrines of Einstein's theory of relativity.

As the title of that 1960 publication implies, one spin-off from the theory was an insight into how the force of gravity can be explained as an electromagnetic force set up in the presence of matter and acting between charges induced quantum-electrodynamically to provide a dynamically-balancing system in motion at that jitter frequency of the aether. More that this, however, even in that 1960 work, there was an insight into the solution of another major mystery in science, that of what causes Earth and other astronomical bodies to spin and have an intrinsic state of magnetization.

Not surprisingly, over the years since 1960, the author found that the theory developed with time and, in respect of the fine-structure constant, this development concerned the determination of the exact value of r/d. It was evident, as noted in that 1960 publication, that the aether could not have its lattice charges precisely at positions of zero energy potential, because that would preclude storage of what we call 'field energy' and deny scope for the aether to shed energy at a seat of wave interception by a photon event. Accordingly, as inspection of that 1960 publication will show, the author could but surmise as to the precise state of lattice charge displacement by increase of that radius parameter r, looking at the tiny difference, a very small fraction of one per cent, needed to bring the theoretical value of the fine-structure constant into exact agreement with its measured value.

This problem persisted and, though the theory developed substantially, particularly
with regard to the theory of gravitation and the theoretical derivation of G, the constant of
gravitation, was still not fully resolved in 1969, when the author published his book *'Physics
without Einstein'*.

It was in 1972 that the key breakthrough emerged and the result was published in
*'Physics Letters'*, **43A** p. 423 (1972) under the title: *'Aether Theory and the Fine Structure
Constant'* . This paper was co-authored with Dr. D. M. Eagles of the National Measurement
Laboratory in Australia, it being his initiative in having Dr. Burton of that laboratory's
computer unit recalculate the author's derivation of the fine-structure constant, to a higher
degree of precision, that led to a cooperative effort in interpreting the result. The key to the
exact evaluation of the free-space value of the fine structure constant was a kind of state of
resonance as between the form of the aether lattice charge e and that of the electron, the latter
having a much smaller charge volume. This 'resonance' was really a condition governed by
the conservation of the volume of space occupied by a unitary charge e, according to its mass-energy, in transmutations of state as between the lattice charge form and the electron-positron
form we associate with QED, quantum electrodynamics. QED is understood by theoretical
physicists as accounting for 'vacuum energy fluctuations' by which they interpret the observed
spin properties of the electron with very high accuracy. In electron charge volume terms, this
author's theory implied a volume ratio of 1844.52 for the aether charges to be seated at
absolute zero electric interaction energy potential energy, but this quantity has to be an odd
integer and that brings into play the r-increase displacement needed to give the aether some
small level of energy priming, that ratio then becoming 1843.

The formula for the inverse of the fine-structure constant then becomes:

which was in 1972, and still is in 2001, within 1 part in a million accord with the value as
measured today. The way in which the above formula is derived from the early formula above
is explained in that *'Physics Letters'* paper. It is based on theory which applies the Thomson formula linking charge radius and mass to obtain a relationship between the radius of the electron charge and that of the aether lattice charge as the ratio
8(r/d)^{2}/9, which, if the related charge volume ratio, is 1/N, means that the above formula
applies with N as 1843.

This theoretical derivation of the fine-structure constant was mentioned by B. W.
Petley of the National Physical Laboratory in U.K. in his 1985 book *'The Fundamental
Constants and the Frontier of Measurement'*, published by Adam Hilger Ltd. (pages 161 and
163). Petley discusses in his book (pages 42 and 43) the possibility that the fine-structure
constant might vary with time, by reference to observation of red shifts affecting the spectra of
distant QSOs (quasar stellar objects) only to conclude that it would seem that, if there is any
variation, it is no more that one part in 10^{12} per year.

Now, the reason for writing this, some 29 years after that 1972 paper presenting the
above formula was published, is the fact that J. K. Webb et al, in *'Physical Review Letters'*,
**87**, p. 091301 (27 August 2001), present data to show that several distant QSOs exhibit a
fine-structure constant that is of the order of nearly one part in 100,000 smaller than that
applicable here on Earth.

This causes the author to wonder how this affects the theory outlined above. The first point of importance is the fact that N has, on energy optimization criteria, a maximum value of 1843. This means that, for a more highly energized state of the aether such as might apply in the locality of a QSO, the fine-structure constant, which decreases as N decreases, can only have a smaller value owing to N changing with that energy activity. The theory, unless well-founded, had a 50% chance of meeting this test, since one could imagine N increasing or decreasing. The evidence indicates a decrease of N and so the theory meets this test. The question then arises as to the amount of the reduction in value estimated from the observation data. The data, as shown in a diagram, included error bars, presented as a function of red shift. The data revealed two groups, one of which has its error bars overlapping, but with centres close to, the zero difference as compared with the Earth value and the other group of which includes four sets of data all of which have error bars ranging about positions which imply a difference of the order of 1 part in 100,000.

As to the latter the authors gave one estimated measure as -(0.76 +/- 0.28)x10^{-5} but they
made the observation that 'The only potentially significant systematic errors push (this
discrepancy) towards positive values', a statement which says that the 0.76 term should really
be somewhat higher.

Now, concerning the scope of this author's theory in adapting to this situation, it is
conceivable that in a region of very high energy activity, such as might apply for the QSO,
there could be an effective displacement which increases r to a level set by one lattice charge in
two having the next lower odd N value of 1841. The simple-cubic lattice structure of the charge
sites in the aether and, in particular, also in the 3x3x3 array of the photon structure, would
retain the three-dimensional symmetry for such a state. Therefore, one could argue that an
effective value of 1842 could apply instead of 1843 and so modify the value of the fine-structure constant as specified by the relevant expression above. One then finds that in such a
case the fine-structure constant would be reduced in terms of its value here on Earth by the
factor (0.904)x10^{-5}, which could well explain the phenomenon evident from the QSO data.

It is submitted that the new data strengthens, rather than weakens, the aether theory
advocated by the author. Furthermore, and in conclusion, it is noted that the author has
already discussed in LECTURE No. 6 the anomalous galactic
red shift data reported earlier by the astrophysicist W. G. Tifft ['Discrete States of Redshift
and Galaxy Dynamics II: Systems of Galaxies', Astronomical Journal, **211**, 31-46 (1977)]
which implied that even lower N values can exist in certain cosmological regions of very high energy.