Letter from Heaviside to V. Bjerknes, 8. 3. 1920
From O. heaviside WORM. To prof. Bjerknes, Bergen. Homefield, Torquay, england 8/3/20 Private Dear Bjerknes, .... ....
Read transcription by Ivor Catt
I don’t find Einstein’s Relatiivity agrees with me. It is the most unnatural & difficult to understand way of representing facts that could be thought up. His distorted space is chaos …. Moreover, it is no new discovery that the state of things at a point depends upon the state of things at a previous moment on a sphere surrounding the point. Poisson did that a long time ago …. The Einstein enthusiasts are very patronising about the “classical” electromagnetics & its ether which they have abolished. But they will come back to it by and by. Though it leaves gravity out in the cold, as I remarked about 1901 (I think), gravity may be brought back in by changes in the circuital laws, of practically no significance save in some very minute effects. of doubtful interpretation (so far)
[“When a pulse attempts to exit …. ] But you must work fairly, with the Ether, and Power & Momentum etc. They are the realities, without Einsteins distorted nothingness. What is the value of Newtons space/Einsteins space. Is it 0 or infinity? And I really think that Einstein is a practical joker, pulling the legs of his enthusiastic followers, more Einsteinisch than he. He knows the weakness of his 2nd Theory. He only does it to annoy.
Read transcription by Ivor Catt
I can’t get away from Einstein the Joker. His followers admit the great difficulty in making people understand the property of equal speed in all directions when done in terms of Einstein, by means of clocks and yard sticks. Poisson would smile at them, and say “Whether a receiver is at rest or moving, the light it receiving comes from a sphere centred on the receiving point, backwards at a previous time, or with a fourth (imaginary) dimension, or metaphysics, or clocks, going differently, or hard measures contracting or expanding.
But how is it that electromagnetics is supposed to be in it, interpreted in an incomprehensible way? Well, it is not in it necessarily at all. But as I have insisted with emphasis, Maxwell’s electromagnetics is dynamical all the way through, on Newton’s x. y. z. and t. So it being involved in light, makes no difference to Poisson.
Letter from Oliver Heaviside to V. Bjerknes, 3. 12. 1921 – copyright Ivor Catt
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Read transcription by Ivor Catt 1.1.2020
I have recd yr paper and letter of Dec. 25 with pleasure. I understand now the meaning of a quotation from my letter to you I saw in The Times some time ago, referring to Einstein’s great joke. He is an international Bolshevist, and a Jew. I was informed by a follower of his doctrine. I never see any scientific journals now. I don’t think you quite hit the mark in your Relativity remarks. It is not a question of logic, I believe, but of physical reality. That 4th dim. Is surreal. The trouble is, and always has been with time. Even the great Thomson and Tait, who brought out the proper meaning of Newton’s laws of Motion, muddled themselves a little over the measure of time. Mathematicians can imagine or think they imagine all sorts of spaces to fill up the natural space, real or imaginary, and make the most fearful transformations. They may be useful sometimes to pure mathematicising and if they take into account the finite speed of light, there is the opportunity for Einstein and his followers, the delight of metaphyhsicians who know nothing about physics.
The way the old boys at the Roy. Soc. abased themselves before the “Revolution in Physical Ideas” and “Newton overturned” etc. etc. was rather comical. https://www.ivorcatt.com/roysoc.pdf . I may have said this in my last letter. As for logic, Lord Rayleigh (late) agreed with me that “logic is the very last thing”. So if Oseens criticism is only logical, it might not go very far. As far as I know, experiment has not gone deep enough yet to determine the electromagnetic meaning of gravitation. http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/2_1.htm ., introducing a very small correction to Newtons calculations – That’s enough about Relativity at present ….
8.1. A letter from Einstein to G. F. C. Searle in “Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of Mathematical Physics” – by Andrew Warwick