::Michelson–Morley experiment


Journal::title    Aether::light    Group::morley    Volume::author    First::pages    Bibcode::issue

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Figure 1. Michelson and Morley's interferometric setup, mounted on a stone slab that floats in an annular trough of mercury.

The Michelson–Morley experiment was performed over the spring and summer of 1887 by Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and published in November of the same year.<ref name=michel2/> It compared the speed of light in perpendicular directions, in an attempt to detect the relative motion of matter through the stationary luminiferous aether ("aether wind"). The negative results are generally considered to be the first strong evidence against the then-prevalent aether theory, and initiated a line of research that eventually led to special relativity, in which the stationary aether concept has no role.<ref group=A name=staley/> The experiment has been referred to as "the moving-off point for the theoretical aspects of the Second Scientific Revolution".<ref group=A name=hoover/>

Michelson–Morley type experiments have been repeated many times with steadily increasing sensitivity. These include experiments from 1902 to 1905, and a series of experiments in the 1920s. In addition, recent resonator experiments have confirmed the absence of any aether wind at the 10−17 level.<ref name=Eisele /><ref name=Herrmann2 /> Together with the Ives–Stilwell and Kennedy–Thorndike experiments, the Michelson–Morley experiment forms one of the fundamental tests of special relativity theory.<ref name=rob group=A />

Michelson–Morley experiment sections
Intro   Detecting the aether    1881 and 1887 experiments    Light path analysis and consequences    Subsequent experiments    Recent experiments    See also    References    External links   

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