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Lightspeed – The Ghostly Aether and the Race to Measure the Speed of Light | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Lightspeed: The Ghostly Aether and the Race to Measure the Speed of Light

John C. H. Spence


This book tells the human story of one of mankind’s greatest intellectual adventures—how we understood that light travels at a finite speed, so that when we look up at the stars we are looking back in time. And how the search for an absolute frame of reference in the universe led inexorably to Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2 for the energy released by nuclear weapons which also powers our sun and the stars. From the ancient Greeks measuring the distance to the Sun, to today’s satellite navigation and Einstein’s theories, the book takes the reader on a gripping historical journey. How Galile ... More

Keywords: Speed of light, relativity, faster-than-light, quantum reality, Roemer, transit of Venus, the Aether, Michelson, Einstein, Greek astronomy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198841968
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198841968.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John C. H. Spence, author
Regent's Professor of Physics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, US