7. Thomas E. Phipps Jr., Back to Newtonian Time?

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Volume 22: Pages 124-134, 2009

Back to Newtonian Time?

Thomas E. Phipps Jr. 1

1908 S. Busey Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

An alternative approach to relativistic physics is reviewed, based on an invariant formulation of electromagnetic field theory due to Hertz. Both electromagnetism and mechanics are shown to be subject to reformulation whereby true invariance replaces “universal covariance.” The invariant feature of Einstein’s theory, i.e., proper time, is retained, but is supplemented for convenience in describing many-body motions by a generalized form of frame time termed “collective time” (CT), patterned on Global Positioning System time. CT resembles Newton’s absolute time in regard to environmental independence, but is shown to satisfy a form of the relativity principle. A crucial experiment is described involving accurate measurement of stellar aberration at second order by means of the Very Long-Based Interferometry system. This would decide definitively between the Hertz and Maxwell–Einstein formulations of electromagnetism. Another experiment that I proposed earlier [Phys. Essays 21, 16 (2008)] involving in-orbit light speed measurement, is disavowed, since I now recognize it as not crucial. This paper sums up a half-century of my dissident thinking in physics and forms a concluding testament.

Keywords: Relativity, Inertial Transformation, Neo-Hertzian Electromagnetism, Proper Time, Collective Time, GPS Time, Newtonian Time, Invariance, Covariance

Received: January 11, 2009; Accepted: February 7, 2009; Published Online: March 30, 2009