Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Remembering ether, the substance that just had to be there

Yes, that ether that thinkers assumed to pervade otherwise empty space right into the modern era: In the 18th and 19th centuries, as physicists grappled with light, there was some debate over whether it was a wave or a particle. (Trick question—we now know it has properties of both.) Scientists thought that if light were a wave, then it needed a medium to travel through. Waves, after all, aren’t objects themselves, but the effects of movement on a substance like air or water. And so, once again minds turned toward aether. Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens first proposed the “luminiferous” or light-bearing aether as a medium for the propagation of light. It was a popular theory. Nikola Tesla held onto it Read More ›