Absolute Motion

Is it really a redundant concept?

Kieran D. Kelly
Feb 2, 2020 · 5 min read
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“Motion” is simply “a change of position in space”

Maxwell’s Electromagnetic Wave Equation is traditionally read as a three-dimensional wave equation containing a fixed speed of light. An alternative way to read the mathematics is that

NeoClassical Relativity (NCR) is based on this interpretation of Maxwell’s mathematics.

In previous posts, I introduced the two postulates of NeoClassical Relativity.

The first postulate is that: The Speed of Light is a three-dimensional combination of the Speed of Oscillation and Speed of Linear Travel. Mathematically, this postulate can be written as the “3D Speed Equation”

Equation (1) __________ c² = u² + v²

{Where u is the speed of oscillation in two spatial dimensions, and, v is the speed of travel in the third.}

The second postulate states that: The Oscillation-Length of a 3D Cycle is a Fixed Quantity. Mathematically, this postulate leads to the “3D Length Equation”

Equation (13) _______ (λ-c)² = (λ-min)² + (λ-v)²

{Where, λ-c is the cycle-length, λ-v is the wave-length,and λ-min equals 2π times the Planck Lengthwhich equates to a length of 1.0155 x 10⁻³⁴ meters.}

The idea of “Relative Motion” has always been central to Relativity. The idea that: “There is no such thing as Absolute Motion” is a more recent addition. Today, this idea is now so widely accepted, that nobody dare challenge it.

However, NCR suggests that we should probably re-examine the evidence…


In 1632 Galileo put forward his Principles, of ‘Inertia’, and ‘Relativity of Motion’.

In his “Principle of Inertial Motion”, Galileo was the first to recognize that, all bodies, left undisturbed, will remain in a constant state of uniform or “inertial” motion. Moreover, Galileo also recognized the fact that it makes no sense to assume that one state of inertial motion is any more special than any other state of inertial motion. This led him to conclude that there is no real difference between a body in uniform motion and one that is not moving at all. Accordingly, Galileo stated that: “All Inertial Motions are Equivalent…”

This equivalence of resting and uniform motion led Galileo to his next idea…

In his “Principle of Relative Motion”, Galileo recognized that, in the absence of some external point of reference, it is impossible to distinguish between being at rest and being in uniform motion. Accordingly, Galileo stated that: “The Laws of Mechanics are Equivalent in All Inertial Frames of Reference…”

Thus, Galileo declared that the concept of ‘motion’ is only really meaningful if it is relative to some fixed and unchanging ‘frame of reference’. Accordingly, the manifesto that “All Motion is Relative!” can be considered as the essence of Galileo’s Relativity…

Maxwell + Einstein

Fast forward two hundred years or so, and James Clerk Maxwell publishes A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field.

In this work on the mathematical unification of electric and magnetic fields, Maxwell reveals that “Electromagnetic Waves” travel at a speed that was virtually identical to the known speed of light.

This could have been a little confusing because this speed of EM waves appeared to be a “fixed” speed — in other words, the mathematical speed of electromagnetic waves did not appear to be relative to anything.

However, this did not unduly worry Maxwell, because Maxwell believed that the speed of light was ultimately relative to the so-called “Luminiferous Aether” — an invisible fluid-like substance that permeates the universe and acts as a medium for the propagation of light (and moreover could be considered as the ultimate “reference frame of absolute rest”)…

The story, of the search for the aether, and the subsequent attempts to explain why it couldn’t be detected, has been told and taught and written about many many times elsewhere; so I won’t bother repeating it here.

Suffice to say, physicists were ultimately unable to explain the fixed nature of the speed of light.

Eventually, Einstein stepped in and declared that: “There is no such thing as absolute motion and consequently no such thing as absolute rest !” For Einstein, the fixed speed of light was “just the way things are”, and so he simply accepted it as reality and accordingly declared it to be a “Law of Physics”.

Einstein then when on to reconcile this new law of physics, with the principle of relativity; and in so doing came up with his Theory of Special Relativity.

Ultimately, his work was well received; but it could be strongly argued that this was primarily because his results tallied well with the work of those who were trying to explain why the Aether could not be found in the first place.

But the inability to find the aether in classical relativity, and a declaration of no such thing as absolute rest in special relativity, are in fact merely two sides of the same coin — which we should consequently expect would ultimately lead to the same mathematical results.

So this “mutual validation” cannot be taken as confirmation that there is no such thing as absolute motion.

Evidence for No Absolute Motion

Fundamentally, the concept of “Motion” is simply “a change of position in space”.

In NCR, the concept of “Linear Motion” can be represented by (n)(λ-v) — where (n) is the number of cycles and (λ-v), is the linear distance travelled per cycle.

This formulation is very similar to what we saw previously with the invariant spacetime distance which can be represented by (n)(λ-min) — where (n) is the number of cycles and (λ-min), is the fixed oscillation-length per cycle.

The trouble, for the concept of “Absolute” linear motion, is that the quantity (λ-v) is not a fixed quantity; and this is because different observers can observe different values of lambda-v (depending on the motion of their own frame of reference).

Thus, the concept of “Absolute Motion” absolutely requires a reference frame of “Absolute Rest”. But according to both experimental evidence and Einstein’s theory, no such frame exists.

However, NCR shows that the evidence for both these arguments is not as strong as it first appears…

In Special Relativity Rebooted — Part1, we showed how the Michelson and Morley experiment was always doomed to failure, due to the flawed expectations of classical velocity addition; and so consequently it cannot be submitted as reliable evidence that there is no such thing as absolute motion.

Moreover, in Special Relativity Rebooted — Part2, we showed that experimentally confirmed “Time Dilation” is a natural consequence of the invariance of (n)(λ-min), and so consequently it, too, cannot be considered as unequivocal evidence that there is no such thing as absolute motion.

And so (given how weak the case is for the prosecution), in the next and final part of Special Relativity Rebooted, we will revisit the concept of “The Aether”

© Kieran D. Kelly

This is Post #9 in the series on NeoClassical Relativity Theory

NeoClassical Physics

— Rebooting Modern Physics —

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