Aether and Gravitation Part 37

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A molecule, therefore, may consist of any number of atoms of the same element, or may be formed of the union of the atoms of two different elements. In the preceding article we have learned that the atom of hydrogen or carbon, however, is divisible, at least theoretically if not experimentally, as we came to the conclusion that all atoms are composed of infinitesimal aetherial atoms, which are synonymous with atoms of electricity.

Whether we shall ever be able to experimentally prove the existence of such an atom remains to be seen, though Dr. Larmor states that the atomicity of electricity is coming within the scope of direct experiment; while the researches of Professors Crookes and J. J. Thomson have undoubtedly given direct evidence of the existence of corpuscles, which are part of the atoms of the various elements.

When we try to conceive, however, of the manner in which the various elements can be formed from one primary medium, that is, the Aether or electricity, we find it difficult to arrive at a simple physical conception of the process involved.

We are indebted to Professor J. J. Thomson for what is practically the only simple physical conception of the method in which various elements may be formed from that medium, which gives unity to the whole of the universe. In the Adams Prize Essay of 1883 Professor Thomson indicated a theory based on the vortex atom (Art. 43) which satisfactorily accounted for the various laws which governed gaseous matter, and also showed how the varied chemical combinations might be physically conceived as being produced from one primary medium.

In this theory we have to conceive of the vortex atom as possessing a hollow core, while in our conception of an aetherial atom (Art. 43) we conceived it as being more of a spherical or globular form than ring-shaped. We have, then, to consider the atom of any element as being composed of a vortex ring of various thickness, the thickness of the ring being an indication of its atomic weight.

Each vortex ring must also be conceived as itself being composed of a number of aetherial atoms, or atoms of electricity, the number of such atoms being proportionate to the respective atomic weights of the various elements. Dr. Larmor suggests that a vortex ring may have this const.i.tution in his work on _Aether and Matter_.

According to Professor J. J. Thomson, then, any vortex ring, which we have supposed to be const.i.tuted of aetherial atoms, or atoms of electricity, may unite with any other vortex ring, thus producing a vortex ring of double density, which would possess double the electricity of the unit vortex ring. If we united three vortex rings, then the result would be an atom of threefold the density and strength of the unit vortex ring.

We might conceive of four or any number of these rings uniting together to form a separate element, and then each element would simply be a multiple of the unit vortex ring, and so possess regular multiples of the atoms of electricity, each multiple representing a distinct element.

We will now let Professor Thomson speak for himself on the matter, and will describe the theory in his own words, always keeping in mind the hypothesis that the unit vortex ring is itself composed of a definite number of atoms of electricity or electrons, as proved by Faraday. See _Appendix C_.

In the work already referred to, Professor Thomson states: "We may suppose that the union or pairing in this way of two vortex rings of different kinds is what takes place, when two elements of which these vortex rings are atoms combine chemically; while, if the vortex rings are of the same kind, this process is what occurs when atoms combine to form molecules. Now let us suppose that the atoms of different chemical elements are made up of vortex rings, all of the same strength, but that some of these elements consist of only one ring, others of two rings linked together, others of three loops, and so on. Then if any of these rings combine to form a permanent combination, the strength of all the primaries in the system so formed by the combination must be equal."

"Thus an atom of one element may combine with another atom of the same kind, to form a molecule of that substance consisting of two atoms.

Again, three of these atoms may combine, and form a system consisting of three primary elements, but the chance of their doing so is small compared with the chance of two pairing; so that the number of systems of this kind will be small compared with the number of the systems consisting only of two atoms. We might have systems of four atoms, but the number would be small compared with the number of systems that consist of three atoms."

"Now, suppose that an atom of one element is to combine with an atom of another. Suppose, to fix our ideas, that the atom consisting of two vortex rings linked together, is to combine with an atom consisting of one vortex ring; then, since, for the stability of connection, the strength of all the primaries which form the components of the compound must be equal, the atom consisting of two links must unite with molecules containing two atoms of the one with one link. Thus the compound formed will be the simplest combination, consisting of one of the atoms which consist of two vortex rings linked together with two of the atoms consisting of only one vortex ring. Similarly, if an atom consisting of three vortex rings linked together were to combine directly with atoms consisting of only one vortex ring, the compound formed would consist of the three linked atoms with three of the others, and so on for all the combinations of atoms formed by any number of vortex rings linked together. This suggests that the elements, called by the chemists monads, dyads, triads and so on, consist of one, two, etc.

vortex rings linked together, for then we should know that a dyad could not combine with less than two atoms of a monad to form a stable compound, or a triad with less than three, and so on, which is just the definition of the terms monad, dyad, triad."

"On looking at chemical combination from this point, we expect to find that such compounds as Hydrochloric acid, where one atom of Hydrogen has only to meet one atom of Chlorine; or water, where one atom of Oxygen has only to meet two atoms or a molecule of Hydrogen, would be much more easily and quickly formed than a compound such as ammonia gas, to form which an atom of Nitrogen has to find itself close to three atoms of Hydrogen at once."

"It is the case, I believe, in direct combination, that simple compounds are formed more quickly than compound ones. We might call the ratio of the number of links in the atom of any element, to the number in the atom of Hydrogen, the Valency of the element. Thus the compounds H-CL, H-I, H-F, show that the atoms of Chlorine, Iodine, Fluorine have the same number of links as the atom of Hydrogen, so that the valency of each of these elements is unity. From the compound H_{2}O we infer that the atom of Oxygen consists of twice as many links as the atom of Hydrogen. The compound H_{2}S indicates that the atoms of Sulphur have twice as many links as the atom of Hydrogen."

"The molecules CO_{2} and Marsh Gas have each three primaries represented by C-O-O and C-H-H respectively. According to the view we have taken, atomicity corresponds to complexity of atomic arrangement, and the elements of high atomicity consist of more vortex rings than those whose atomicity is low."

"Thus high atomicity corresponds to complicated atomic arrangement, and we should expect to find the spectra of bodies of low atomicity much simpler than those of high. This seems to be the case, for we find that the spectra of Sodium, Pota.s.sium, Lithium, Hydrogen, Chlorine, which are all monad elements, consist of comparatively few lines."

Here then, on the vortex theory of matter, especially when that vortex theory is given an electric basis, as is the case in Dr. Larmor's electron theory, we have a thinkable and logical explanation of the physical and chemical properties of matter, by which all elements and compounds may be formed from the primordial aetherial or electric atom.

As all Nature is composed of about seventy elements, and it has been conclusively demonstrated that an atom of Hydrogen is the same all over the universe, no matter whether it exists on this planet, or in some distant star or nebula, we arrive at the conclusion that all the other elements are exactly the same in their properties and qualities wherever they are found. If, therefore, we couple Faraday's experiments and results as to the electro-chemical equivalents of all atoms, with this theory of Professor J. J. Thomson's, then we are again compelled to come to the conclusion that the unity of the universe in all its universality, and infinite variety of forms and modes of matter, is to be found, and alone found, in the universal Aether, which is co-existent and coextensive with electricity.

ART. 126. _Quod Erat Faciendum._--Before concluding this work let us briefly review the whole of the theory submitted herein to the reader.

That which was to be done consisted primarily in ascertaining the physical cause of Gravitation, by which would be accounted for on a philosophical basis all the phenomena incidental to and a.s.sociated with the Law of Gravitation. Such phenomena included the physical cause of the Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces, the physical cause of Kepler's Laws, together with a physical conception of the application of Newton's Laws of Motion to all solar and stellar bodies. In addition to this, there were other outstanding problems in physics that it was premised would receive either a partial or an entire physical explanation. It was premised, for example, that the problem of the relative motion of Aether and matter would be solved, that the cause of the permanent magnetism of the earth would be revealed, and the great problem of the const.i.tution of matter attacked, together with the unity of the universe which arose from that conception.

In order, however, for any theory to be philosophical in its initial stages, the rules of some of the greatest philosophers which govern the making of any hypotheses were briefly outlined, and were found to resolve themselves into three divisions.

The first rule dealt with the general simplicity of Nature's mode of working, and therefore the general simplicity which must govern our hypotheses in perfecting any theory as to the cause of all phenomena, gravitational or otherwise.

The second rule showed that the only sound basis from whence we could derive all our data upon which to speculate and reason, lay in our experience of all natural phenomena. Whatever else we might do, or not do, it was absolutely necessary, if we wished to be perfectly philosophical in our conclusions, that we should not traverse the direct results of observations and experiments.

The third rule laid down was the obvious axiom, that the theory so perfected by logical reasoning must satisfactorily account for and explain all the phenomena sought to be explained.

Now I wish to submit the whole theory as propounded in this work in its completion and in its entirety to the reader, and to ask him if the Rules of Philosophy have not been adhered to throughout the whole work?

Can any theory be more simple than the one submitted in this work, by which we have endeavoured to account for all, and even more, than was premised in the opening chapters?

The very simplicity of the fundamental hypothesis that Aether is matter, in all its properties and qualities, has been the chief obstacle to the r.e.t.a.r.dation of its earlier discovery.

Any proposition more simple, more easy of comprehension, is, to my mind, difficult of conception. Why, children in our homes and schools may be taught the truth, and grasp it in its concrete form, and that is the highest test of the simplicity of any hypothesis.

Thus the first Rule of Philosophy is satisfied and fulfilled in the initial hypothesis, and I venture to affirm that the same simplicity has characterized the development of the theory throughout its entire progress. Step by step, simple facts and simple truths which are known to any ordinary student have been shown to have a wider and more universal application than even the writer dreamed of, when he started out on his voyage of discovery in philosophical research.

When we consider the second Rule of Philosophy in its application to our theory, we find that experience, as revealed by observation and experiment, is fulfilled to the minutest detail. The simple hypothesis that Aether is matter, fulfils to the very fullest extent all requirements demanded by the experience of all the scientists and experimentalists that the world has ever known. To a.s.sert that Aether is not matter is to a.s.sert a proposition contrary to all the acc.u.mulated experience of the past generations. Therefore, if Aether is matter, then its fundamental qualities must be those which belong to and are a.s.sociated with all matter, those qualities being atomicity, gravity, density, elasticity, inertia, and compressibility.

The objector to this statement is himself violating the chief rule of all philosophy, in that he is going contrary to the tenor and teaching of his own experience. Then, following out the second rule step by step we arrive at the one grand central truth, that electricity is also a form of matter, and that all the forces of the entire universe are but different modes of motion, different vibrations of the universal electro-magnetic Aether; while all the varied bodies that exist are themselves but different manifestations in a gaseous, liquid, or solid form of the same electro-magnetic substance.

Thus, step by step, we have tried to build up a theory of the physical cause of all phenomena, which will satisfactorily account for those phenomena, and even for the structure of the universe itself, from the mechanical standpoint, and by so doing have fulfilled the third Rule of our Philosophy as enunciated by Newton and others.

So that by the conception that Aether is matter, in its primordial state, we have more than fulfilled all that was premised should be done.

Thus the long-sought-for and long-expected cause of Gravitation, together with the cause of the two complementary forces, is found in the simple statement that Aether is matter, with all that is logically included therein. Kepler's Laws and Newton's Laws of Motion also receive a physical explanation in the same universal electro-magnetic Aether.

In addition to the solution of these problems, the transverse vibrations of light has received for the first time a physical conception, and a physical explanation, even admitting that that explanation may not be perfect in detail.

The origin of the permanent magnetism of the earth has also received a physical explanation through the motions of this same electro-magnetic Aether, while certain theories in relation to electricity given to the world by Ampere, Weber, Faraday, and Clerk Maxwell have found their consummation in this atomic electro-magnetic medium.

Further, astronomical hypotheses in relation to comets and nebulae are not untouched by the theory of a compressible and condensing atomic Aether. Indeed, there is not a phase of natural phenomena which is not affected in some way or other by the philosophical result arrived at that Aether is matter in its original state. Therefore, we claim, however imperfectly it may have been done, that not only have the Rules of Philosophy been fulfilled, but that the theory so advanced has accomplished more than even we in our wildest imagination hoped and dreamed for it.

Look at the problem of the Aether how we may, the advantages of the theory of an atomic electro-magnetic Aether far surpa.s.s and outweigh the advantages of a frictionless medium, which in some unknown way possesses ma.s.s and inertia, although the conception of such properties themselves disproves the existence of such a frictionless medium.

After all, how much of this theory is there which is entirely new or absolutely original? Age after age, men have had exactly similar dreams, and seen similar visions. In the old Grecian days similar views were expressed by their philosophers; and, even in the philosophy of less civilized countries, many of the suggested hypotheses found their place in a more or less perfect form.

a.n.a.lyze the whole theory from its initial stages to the last chapter, and we shall find, with the exception of one or two features, that every hypothesis first had its origin in the mind of some of the greatest thinkers and philosophers that the world has ever known.

Take several hypotheses as examples. The hypothesis that Aether is atomic was suggested by such men as Newton, Huyghens, Descartes, Challis, Clerk Maxwell, and others.

That Aether is gravitative has been suggested by Young, Grove, Faraday, and Lord Kelvin. Huyghens, Fresnel, and Young postulated different degrees of density for the Aether, while Stokes and McCullagh have affirmed and proved different degrees of elasticity of the medium.

The inertia of the medium has received experimental evidence from Tyndall, Maxwell, Faraday, Lodge, and others, and its compressibility has received the adherence of men like Faraday, Maxwell, and Lord Kelvin.

Then, when we come to deal with the causes of the forces involved in gravitational phenomena, we find that exactly similar hypotheses in regard to the Centrifugal Force have been postulated by Herschel, Bredichin, M. Faye, and Lebedew; while Faraday, Gauss and others have suggested the close relationship that exists between electrical and gravitational phenomena.

The physical explanation of Kepler's Laws was suggested by Kepler himself, while Huyghens, Bernoulli, Descartes, and many of their contemporaries believed in the existence of some kind of vortices.

The unity of the universe has been a dream of philosophers for generations past, and that dream is now crystallized in the definite conception of an atomic universal electro-magnetic medium, while the electrical basis of matter receives the support of such men as Crookes, J. J. Thomson, Larmor and Vogt.

Thus we learn that all the dreams and thoughts, all the hypotheses and postulates of old-world as well as present-day philosophers find their consummation and ultimate realization in one universal, atomic, electro-magnetic medium.

If this fact does not stamp the theory with that authority which is undeniably a.s.sociated with the names of some of the scientists quoted, then all the greatest men in the scientific world have lived and toiled, thought and dreamed in vain, while the priceless gems of their imagination and research are treated as worthless and valueless.

Again, what shall we say of the discoveries of to-day?

What is the key to the greatest scientific discovery of modern times, viz. wireless or aetherial telegraphy, which is girdling the earth with its mysterious communications? Is not the key to that discovery to be found in this universal electro-magnetic medium?

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Aether and Gravitation Part 37 summary

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