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MATTHEW LEIGH TO RAE WEST 30 May 2000 Subject: Physics Fraud Website

I've been looking at your physics fraud site and I've noticed a few things I'd like a bit of explanation on...
      First, in section 3 dealing with c being an absolute limit, you say that EM radiation travels as a wave at the speed of light. This is perfectly correct, but accelerating electrons in a particle accelerator uses electrostatic fields, not electromagnetic radiation. Have you considered this in your argument?
      Also, the magnetic effects leading to superconducting leviation have been verified by other experiments. I'm referring particularly to the surface currents that persist after a magnetic field is removed. Additionally, I've tested the levitation by experiment, and although a magnet levitates, glass doesn't. Fishing out the glass from the liquid helium is not an easy task.

MATTHEW LEIGH TO RAE WEST 30 May 2000 Subject: Modern Physics Page
I'm interested in the little piece you have on "Is the speed of light a limit". Do you have any further information on this?
Regards
Matthew Leigh

R WEST TO M LEIGH 26 Oct 2000 Subject: Modern Physics Page

Thanks for your e-mail. I just think the emphasis on light involves several misunderstandings, first re Michelson-Morley, then a complex revolving around the fact that human beings are reliant on light, then another set of problems re slits/ interference; and no doubt others.
      In my view all this stuff has no bearing on the question of speeds. I don't think they prove there's an upper limit to relative speeds except in the practical sense that extremely fast relative speeds increase the chance, and dangers, of collisions.
Regards
Rae West

M LEIGH TO R WEST 26 Oct 2000 Subject: Modern physics page
At 10:30 26/10/00 +0100, you wrote:
>Thanks for your e-mail. I just think the emphasis on light involves >several misunderstandings, first re Michelson-Morley, then a >complex revolving around the fact that human beings are reliant on >light, then another set of problems re slits/ interference; and no >doubt others.
      >In my view all this stuff has no bearing on the question of >speeds. I don't think they prove there's an upper limit to relative >speeds except in the practical sense that extremely fast relative >speeds increase the chance, and dangers, of collisions.
Regards >Rae West

In your paragraph, though (if you didn't write it then forgive me for using "you"), you use the analogy of a children's roundabout that can't move faster than the arm pushing it. The experiments that have been done don't use electromagnetic radiation to push charged particles, though. They use a static electric field to accelerate them.
--->   --->
---> O --->
--->   --->

If you use a proportional font that'll look pretty stupid, but it's meant to be a particle in a uniform electric field. I you change the electric field then the change will propagate at the speed of light, but the acceleration of the particle "O" is due to electrostatic attraction/repulsion, not EM waves.
"The point is that electromagnetic radiation itself has a velocity, namely the speed of light in the medium it's travelling in. Since energy can be transferred to an electron, presumably, only when a wave of energy catches up with it, obviously it's impossible for the electron to ever reach the speed of the wave influencing it." That makes this paragraph somewhat incorrect. [I never addressed this point, since the received view is that cyclotrons operate with huge electromagnets, while Leigh seems to be suggesting they are powered by something like a van de Graaff generator-RW]

An interesting experimental result that convincingly proves the time dilation effect is "Measurement of the Relativistic Time Dilation using mu-Mesons", D.H. Frisch and J.H. Smith, American Journal of Physics, Volume 31, pp. 342-355, 1963. This doesn't prove the "upper speed limit", but you can't predict time dilation without assuming constancy of the speed of light between inertial frames, so I'll quote their results:

Muons are used as a "clock", because they have a sufficiently short decay time and are produced in large numbers. Their decay distribution was measured at the top of Mount Washington, for muons with speeds between 0.9950c and 0.9954c. 568 were detected in one hour. This distribution is then used to predict the number of muons that would survive to reach sea level, 1910 feet lower. That turns out to be 27 - ie if they repeated the experiment at sea level, 27 muons would be detected in one hour. They then repeated the experiment at sea level and detected 412 muons in one hour.
      That's a staggering difference, and relativity is the only theory that seems to account for it. We can convert that count rate directly into time, knowing the muon's halflife.
      Time taken for (568 - 412) muons to decay travelling at 0.9952c = 6.4usec
      - - - - - - - - - " - - - - - - - - - - at rest = 0.7usec
6.4 / 0.7 = 9.1, and the Einstein time dilation relation predicts a factor of 10.1! This is well within experimental error.
      I'm not a mathematician, and I don't pretend to be able to do the derivation of relativistic effects. However, I know that if you assume the speed of light to be constant for all observers, then time dilation is one of the effects that has to occur. For me, this experiment and others that repeat their findings are excellent evidence for time dilation.

R WEST TO M LEIGH 26 Oct 2000 Subject: Modern physics page
[Snips]
That makes this paragraph somewhat incorrect.
** Possibly. It depends on the properties of electrostatic fields, doesn't it?

For me, this experiment and others that repeat their findings are excellent evidence for time dilation.
** The problem with all this stuff is that there isn't a single part of it which can be assumed to be solidly established. You yourself state you don't even understand the maths, let alone, presumably, other possible explanations for the reduction in numbers of whatever it is that their detectors are detecting. (There's no indication that you know what procedures they use). You appear to be simply repeating what you've been told.


M LEIGH TO R WEST Fri 27 Oct 2000 Subject: Modern physics page
What properties are you referring to that would back up the webpage's theory?

** The problem with all this stuff is that there isn't a single part of it >which can be assumed to be solidly established. You yourself >state you don't even understand the maths, let alone, presumably, >other possible explanations for the reduction in numbers of >whatever it is that their detectors are detecting. (There's no >indication that you know what procedures they use). You appear to >be simply repeating what you've been told.
The number of muons is decreasing because muons decay. After 6.4usec, a sample of 568 muons will decrease to 27. This is the law of radioactive decay in operation, a very well-researched law which I have verified myself in several experiments, beginning in high school. It has a e^-x form. By taking the appropriate constants, determined in many non-relativistic muon experiments, we can see that for a decay of 568 -> 412 muons, 0.7usec has elapsed according to the muon. There are two possible explanations. One, that the decay of muons is proportional to velocity.
      Other experiments, with other "clocks" have shown that the time dilation effect occurs with them too. In fact, although I have no paper reference, there has been an experiment conducted where cesium beam clocks were synchronised on Earth, and then one flown around in a jet aircraft for some hours. The clock which had been travelling lost a small but significant amount of time. GPS satellites also have to account for this effect.
      As to understanding their procedure, this experiment was actually videoed while it was being conducted. I have looked through their procedure, and they appear to have accounted for all error sources. I would repeat the experiment myself, but unfortunately I don't have a suitable mountain or laboratory. We do have scintillation detectors available, however, and my colleague Terry Mullins has used these to establish the decay rate of muons. I'm not repeating what I've been told, I'm saying what I have confirmed to my satisfaction.



R WEST TO M LEIGH 27 Oct 2000 Subject: Modern physics page
>>> That makes this paragraph somewhat incorrect.
>> ** Possibly. It depends on the properties of electrostatic fields, doesn't it?
> What properties are you referring to that would back up the webpage's theory?
** The question is how fields of various types interact with, and presumably affect the speed of, electrons. this is not a simple matter.

> ** The problem with all this stuff is that there isn't a single part of it which can be assumed to be solidly established. You yourself state you don't even understand the maths, let alone, presumably, other possible explanations for the reduction in numbers of >whatever it is that their detectors are detecting. (There's no indication that you know what procedures they use). You appear to be simply repeating what you've been told.
> The number of muons is decreasing because muons decay. After 6.4usec, a> sample of 568 muons will decrease to 27. This is the law of radioactive> decay in operation, a very well-researched law which I have verified myself> in several experiments, beginning in high school. It has a e^-x form. By> taking the appropriate constants, determined in many non-relativistic muon> experiments, we can see that for a decay of 568 -> 412 muons, 0.7usec has> elapsed according to the muon. There are two possible explanations. One,> that the decay of muons is proportional to velocity.
** You're not addressing the points I made. You're speaking as though it's perfectly clear what 'muons' are, and eg that they decay and so on. In fact such assumptions follow at the end of long chains of dubious assumptions.

> Other experiments,> with other "clocks" have shown that the time dilation effect occurs with> them too. In fact, although I have no paper reference, there has been an> experiment conducted where cesium beam clocks were synchronised on Earth,> and then one flown around in a jet aircraft for some hours. The clock which> had been travelling lost a small but significant amount of time. GPS> satellites also have to account for this effect.
** You seem to have been impressed. There was an example of this in a Royal Institution lecture four or five years ago. [My notes show this was in fact Dr Neil Johnson in Dec 1999, with Jim Laverty of the National Physics Laboratory (which I think is 'privatised') doing things with an atomic clock. The whole thing was the usual mélange of nonsense-RW] However, it was amusing to see the absence of control experiments and also the ad hoc introduction (in this case) of, I think, gravity effects which hadn't been mentioned before.
      The whole question of whether carting a piece of equipment through assorted anisotropic fields and subjecting it to various other physical effects could change its 'measurement of time' (i.e. something about the way the atoms, or perhaps molecules, were behaving) wasn't addressed. It was simple-minded stuff.
Regards
Rae West

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First uploaded 2000-10-27. Complete unedited email exchange apart from a few spelling corrections, and snipping of repetitions.
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