Space-Time Lab - Tutor Page 3

The Galilean transformation worked for over 200 years until science began conducting experiments on the speed of light. First, science discovered that light in vacuum moves very fast, about 186,000 miles per second. So then they thought- Let's say we build a car that goes 100,000 miles a second, relative to the ground. When this car turns on its headlights, how fast does the light from the headlights move relative to the earth? Applying the Galilean transformation, we find that the light travels a screaming 286,000 miles per second!
Unfortunately this experiment could not be conducted, so physicists built other experiments using the newly discovered Maxwell's equations. These equations describe the phenomena of light, electricity and magnetism in just a few concise equations. These experiments found every time that the speed of light was 186,000 miles per second in a vacuum.
Because Maxwell's equations were so new, it was assumed that Maxwell had made a mistake, and lots of zany corrections were made to his equations so that they would obey Newton's mechanics and predict all observations made thus far. However these corrections predicted other phenomena that did not exist experimentally. One correction was the idea of an 'ether', which we will discuss very soon.

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