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The Lorentz transformation in a fishbowl: a comment on Cheng and Read's "Why not a sound postulate?"

Shanahan, Daniel The Lorentz transformation in a fishbowl: a comment on Cheng and Read's "Why not a sound postulate?". UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

In support of their contention that it is the absence of a subsisting medium that imbues the speed of light with fundamentality, Bryan Cheng and James Read discuss certain "fishbowl universes" in which physical influences evolve, not at the speed of light, but that of sound. The Lorentz transformation simulated in these sonic universes, which the authors cite from the literature of analogue gravity, is not that of Einstein, for whom an aether was "superfluous", but that of the earlier relativity of Lorentz and Poincaré, which did suppose such a medium. The authors' intention is not to argue analogically, but simply to contrast the situation of light with that of sound. However, I argue that these universes are too successful as analogues to support the authors' case. By reducing Lorentzian relativity to its bare essentials, they provide a compelling demonstration of the viability and explanatory strengths of the earlier theory. They show how a thoroughly wave-theoretic treatment of the Lorentz transformation would explain why all aspects of matter transform in like manner, thereby avoiding a difficulty that was a significant reason for the demise of Lorentzian relativity after 1905. Importantly, these sonic universes also suggest a unifying explanation, not only of the Lorentz transformation and de Broglie wave, but of the principle of relativity, which was merely postulated, rather than explained, by Einstein in 1905.


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Item Type: Other
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Shanahan, Danieldanjune@bigpond.net.au0000-0003-1896-4740
Keywords: analogue gravity ⋅ Occam's razor ⋅ Lorentz transformation ⋅ Lorentzian relativity ⋅ de Broglie wave ⋅ principle of relativity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Mr Daniel Shanahan
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2022 18:15
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2022 18:15
Item ID: 20506
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20506

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