The failed experiment that changed the world
Ethan Siegel

Contrary to common belief the experiment of Michelson-Morley did not influence Einstein when he was developing special relativity. Instead Einstein said, the Fizeau experiment from 1851 influenced him most:

“Robert S. Shankland reported some conversations with Einstein, in which Einstein emphasized the importance of the Fizeau experiment:

He continued to say the experimental results which had influenced him most were the observations of stellar aberration and Fizeau’s measurements on the speed of light in moving water. “They were enough,” he said.”


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