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Volume 14: Pages 144-148, 2001
Light Signals, the Special Theory of Relativity, and Reality
Frederick E. Alzofon
P.O. Box 1270, Corvallis, Oregon 97339‐1270 U.S.A.
This paper seeks to replace two basic postulates of the special theory of relativity with more empirically based assumptions. The two postulates are as follows: the constancy of the speed of light as an intrinsic property of light propagation, and the lack of a requirement of an ether medium to transmit the electromagnetic field. Clock synchronization by use of light signals is discussed as part of an operational means of defining a coordinate system. The synchronization process described by A. Einstein is interpreted as an empirical coordinate construction and is modified to depend on emission of radiation at the speed of light relative to the source (fixed in the observer's reference frame), rather than viewing light speed as an intrinsic property of the electromagnetic field. The unity of particle and electromagnetic field aspects of a unified field implies that the particle aspect of the unified field can be viewed as a carrier for the electromagnetic field, making an ether medium unnecessary. The foregoing concepts are placed against the background of models of reality preceding the special theory of relativity and shown to be natural extensions of these models.
Keywords: special theory of relativity postulates, empirically based coordinate systems, unified field, existence of the ether
Received: April 20, 1999; Published online: December 15, 2008