OT: Speed of light [was Re: Why not a Python compiler?]

Grant Edwards grante at visi.com
Sun Feb 10 17:18:33 CET 2008


On 2008-02-09, Doug Morse <morse at edoug.org> wrote:

>>  	Or just the old particle/wave dichotomy... particles
>>  travel, waves propagate (that is, the wave form -- crest/dip
>>  -- changes position, but the material of the medium it is in
>>  just jiggles in place).

> So, showing of my physics ignorance: I presume then that this
> means that light, say from the sun, is actually sending
> particles to the earth, since the space between is mostly
> vacuum?  Or is there enough material in the near-vacuum of
> space for propogation to occur?

They act like both waves and as particles depending on what
experiment you do.  Though even if you consider them as waves
they don't depend on "jiggling" of a medium.  That medium was
called the "luminiferous aether" (aka ether), and in the 19th
century experiments showed conclusively that it doesn't exist:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether

-- 
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  .. I think I'd
                                  at               better go back to my DESK
                               visi.com            and toy with a few common
                                                   MISAPPREHENSIONS...



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