Yes, only Jack knows for sure.........
On Mar 23, 2013, at 1:50 PM, Paul Z wrote:
[DTS] "But there is a fly in this ointment, and the fly is none other than our old buddy, Albert, Einstein that is, as I am beginning to understand from Jack's friend Paul Z, who David introduced to me, for the first time, this last week. And the fly is not actually Al, himself, but rather the iconology of Einsteinism that has grown up around him. When Albert attempted to refute the Einsteinians, in the mid '20's, he was quickly silenced. I can take care of my enemies, but Lord protect me from my friends!!
So, what was the story behind the story........?
Paul is supposed to be sending the links...... Prior to that, I will attempt to reconstruct it from my own porous memory........ "
[PZ] The 1926 conversation with Einstein in Berlin as recounted in Heisenberg's "Encounters with Einstein":
// For the first time, therefore, I now had the opportunity to talk with Einstein himself. On the way home, he questioned me about my background, my studies with Sommerfeld. But on arrival, he at once began with a central question about the philosophical foundation of the new quantum mechanics. He pointed out to me that in my mathematical description the notion of "electron path" did not occur at all, but that in a cloud chamber the track of the electron can of course be observed directly. It seemed to him absurd to claim that there was indeed an electron path in the cloud chamber, but none in the interior of the atom. The notion of a path could not be dependent, after all, on the size of the space in which the electron's movements were occurring. I defended myself to begin with by justifying in detail the necessity for abandoning the path concept within the interior of the atom. I pointed out that we cannot, in fact, observe such a path; what we actually record are frequencies of the light radiated by the atom, intensities and transition probabilities, but no actual path. And since it is but rational to introduce into a theory only such quantities as can be directly observed, the concept of electron paths ought not, in fact, to figure in the theory.
To my astonishment, Einstein was not at all satisfied with this argument. He thought that every theory in fact contains unobservable quantities. The principle of employing only observable quantities simply cannot be consistently carried out. And when I objected that in this I had merely been applying the type of philosophy that he, too, has made the basis of his special theory of relativity, he answered simply: "Perhaps I did use such philosophy earlier, and also wrote of it, but it is nonsense ["Unsinn"] all the same."... ...He pointed out to me that the very concept of observation was itself already problematic. Every observation, so he argued, presupposes that there is an unambiguous connection known to us, between the phenomenon to be observed and the sensation which eventually penetrates into our consciousness. But we can only be sure of this connection, if we know the natural laws by which it is determined. If, however, as is obviously the case in modern atomic physics, these laws have to be called into question, then even the concept of "observation" loses its clear meaning. In that case, it is the theory which first determines what can be observed.//
[PZ] And here for example is Gerald Holton's account of the 1926 meeting between Einstein and Heisenberg in Berlin:
// In April, Heisenberg gave a two-hour lecture on his matrix mechanics before von Laue's famous physics colloquium at the University of Berlin. In the audience, with a whole group of potentates, was Einstein. It was their second meeting. Einstein, interested and no doubt disturbed by the lecture, asked Heisenberg to walk home with him--there is that walk again--and thus ensued a remarkable discussion, which Heisenberg later reconstructed and reported in many places, from 1969 on.
At that encounter, Heisenberg once more tried to draw attention to having not dealt with unobservable electron orbits inside atoms, but with observable radiation. He reports having said to Einstein: "Since it is acceptable to allow into a theory only directly observable magnitudes, I thought it more natural to restrict myself to these, bringing them in, as it were, as representatives of electron orbits." To this Einstein is said to have responded, "But you don't seriously believe that only observable magnitudes must go into a physical theory?" Heisenberg goes on, "In astonishment, I said: I thought that it was exactly you who had made this thought the foundation of your relativity theory....Einstein replied: Perhaps I used this sort of philosophy; but it is nevertheless nonsense (Unsinn)." And then came Einstein's famous sentence: "Only the theory decides what one can observe."
All this must have come to Heisenberg as a scathing attack on what he regarded as his fundamental orientation, derived from reading Einstein's early works, and being guided by them from the start, right through his most recent triumph. But now, in this meeting, Einstein, whose development away from positivistic instrumentalism to a rational realism had escaped Heisenberg's notice, went on to explain at length how complicated any observation is in general, how it involves assumptions about phenomena which in turn are based on theories. For example, one almost unconsciously uses Maxwell's theory when dealing with a light beam that conveys experimental readings.
Perhaps this discussion helped Heisenberg eventually to embark on his own epistemological pilgrimage, ending later with a kind of neo-Platonism in the description of nature through the contemplation of symmetries. But in 1927, just before starting on his next breakthrough, later called the uncertainty principle paper, Heisenberg suddenly remembered Einstein's terrifying sentence, "Only the theory decides what one can observe." It was a key to Heisenberg's advance. As he put it in one of his interviews, "I just tried to turn around the question according to the example of Einstein."
But exactly at this point I should pause to return briefly to the unfinished story of my own encounter with Heisenberg in 1965 in Paris. For after giving his lecture, Heisenberg came over to tell me in detail about that meeting with Einstein in 1926, and what it had meant for him--all this long before he published anything about it. Indeed, as if to make sure I had it straight, Heisenberg followed up by sending me a letter in January 1966, in which he repeated the story, and added a rather striking conclusion: While the theory determines what can be observed, the uncertainty principle showed him that a theory also determines what cannot be observed. Thus, ironically, Einstein, through his 1926 conversation, had provided Heisenberg with some genetic material in the creation of the uncertainty principle article of 1927. //
[DTS} "But, in short, the Ether has made a comeback, but now disguised as dark energy and the quantum vacuum, if I'm not putting words in Paul's mouth, and with the God particle playing a rather ambiguous role."
[PZ] In 1920 Einstein gave a speech at the University of Leiden titled "Ether and the Theory of Relatvity". Here is an an excerpt:
// The space-time theory and the kinematics of the special theory of relativity were modelled on the Maxwell-Lorentz theory of the electromagnetic field. This theory therefore satisfies the conditions of the special theory of relativity, but when viewed from the latter it acquires a novel aspect. For if K be a system of co-ordinates relatively to which the Lorentzian ether is at rest, the Maxwell-Lorentz equations are valid primarily with reference to K. But by the special theory of relativity the same equations without any change of meaning also hold in relation to any new system of co-ordinates K' which is moving in uniform translation relatively to K. Now comes the anxious question: Why must I in the theory distinguish the K system above all K' systems, which are physically equivalent to it in all respects, by assuming that the ether is at rest relatively to the K system? For the theoretician such an asymmetry in the theoretical structure, with no corresponding asymmetry in the system of experience, is intolerable. If we assume the ether to be at rest relatively to K, but in motion relatively to K', the physical equivalence of K and K' seems to me from the logical standpoint, not indeed downright incorrect, but nevertheless inacceptable.
The next position which it was possible to take up in face of this state of things appeared to be the following. The ether does not exist at all. The electromagnetic fields are not states of a medium, and are not bound down to any bearer, but they are independent realities which are not reducible to anything else, exactly like the atoms of ponderable matter. This conception suggests itself the more readily as, according to Lorentz's theory, electromagnetic radiation, like ponderable matter, brings impulse and energy with it, and as, according to the special theory of relativity, both matter and radiation are but special forms of distributed energy, ponderable mass losing its isolation and appearing as a special form of energy.
More careful reflection teaches us, however, that the special theory of relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume the existence of an ether,; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it. We shall see later that this point of view, the conceivability of which shall at once endeavour to make more intelligible by a somewhat halting comparison, is justified by the results of the general theory of relativity.//
Here is a link for the full text of Einstein's 1920 Leiden speech:
Ludwik Kostro has written a book about this topic titled "Einstein and the Ether":
[DTS] "So what does this have to do with the price of gas in KC/MO?
The story goes back at least to Kant and his attempt to reconcile Humean positivism/skepticism with the then nascent science. Kant posited the noumenon, which I/we suspect is not unrelated to the Ether, Implicate order and the quantum vacuum. Here is the further deal, as emphasized by Paul. The ether was never intended to be physicalized, but that is what happened to it, by the time that Michelson got around to proving that it didn't 'physically' exist!"
Not intended to be materialized. The essential point here is that you have have physical objectivity without materiality. The new ether (like the classic ether) is pre-material, not material.
It is physical, but not material.
[DTS] "Another important name, here, is Ernst Mach, and his Mach's principle, which may also bring us back to the Higgs......... "
Mach's principle is opposed to a local vacuum interaction model for inertia, attributing inertia instead to lomg range interactions with remote matter. The whole point of Mach's
objections to absolute space aka the ether was that it posited an invisible entity that was not directly observable, and there was no empirical basis for this as opposed to
attributing inertial reaction to motion with respect to the fixed stars, which latter can be directly observed. The Higgs mechanism may provide a physical basis for the anti-Machian
locl interaction model for inertia.
[DTS] But first, back to Jack...... There is a possibly developing view that Jack may be functioning as a gate-keeper, somewhat in conjunction with Ron&Co. So, Jack did not actually throw himself under the bus, back in '75, but merely became the Conductor. He maintains order on the bus and, also, punches your ticket. My ticket may not yet have been punched. We're working on it.
[PZ] Finally, here is a link to John Norton's paper "What was Einstein's principle of equivalance?" that you might want to have a look at: