Newtos corpuscular theory, when applied to light gave some theoretical advantage in optics, but did not explain certain observed phenomena witnessed in making fine, thin lenses. These were Newton,s fringes, and achromatic distortions in lenses. Tp pursue these further required not an astronomer, as a user of lenses, but a lense maker. Chriitian Huygens van Zoilmyer, was uh a highly skilled and mathematically competent lense maker. He had several theories on lenses and the nature of light cooking in his head, but it was not until after he visited Newton and saw his experimental findings and problems, that one crystallised into the Undulatory theory.
The Undulatory theory is wrongly called the wave theory. Huygens Undulatory theory is a compression transmission theory. The nearest thing analogous to it was the research on sound that was being conducted, which showed the absolute necessity of Airs for the transmission and reception and perception of sound! Thus sound was explainable by a corpuscular soup theory, but Boyle and others showed that a vibrating clock alarm, bell or musical string instrument cannot be perceived except by an intermediate air being present. In the presence of air, sound eas assumed to travel directly to each ear. To do this, sound must move by a series of compressive collisions in the air medium. This series was called an undulation, after the undulation of advancing waves in the ocean. Undulation was not the bobbing up and down one associates with a wave, but the pushing backward and forward caused by the passing of a wave. This undulation in fact is circular or spherical when all the perceptible motions are accounted for. It was this spherical undulation that was believed to stimulate the eye to perceive, Huygens felt, just as with sound. However he could not produce the evidence of such a medium.
This lack of observable evidence lead Newton to reject Huygens spherical undulation theory, and to promote the corpuscular. But this was more to defend his scientific method of reasoning from observables against the new fashionable "guess what it could be" style of reasoning: the hypothetcal.
The luminous ether cannot be demonstrated, it can only be inferred.Whereas everything Mr "safe hands" Newton published was rigorously demonstrable and deducible from observables. Thus, Sir Roger Cotes lauded Newtons method of philosophy as a new and sound way forward in natural Philosophy, a way that started with easily graspable truths and went on to demonstrate less obvious truths by clear process and construction. However, their were many who were enampoured of the lucky guess, the hypothesis that proved to be right in practice or pragmatic use. Newton was not persuaded of the soundness of such a method, and for that reason alone he wasopposed to Huygens undulatory theory because it posited a fine medium called an ether that no one had observed, and which appeared to be occult in its behaviours. In fact it had been observed by Boyle, but Boyles work was now heavily regarded as being to do with Airs and chemistry, and was thus a little suspect. His work on magnetism and electrostatic fluids were lost in "obscurity", and Boyle was not well enough to resurrect them.
The analogy of light and sound was modern and apt, but not evidence. Sound provided many good insights into what to expect and these insights held true, but there was no demonstrable ether! Nevertheless the ether was felt to be rather obvious. In a world of spiritual entities, immaterial realities it was perfectly logical to expect there to be some interface between the spiritual and the material. No western theologian would allow spirit to interact with matter in any way, but somehow matter was able to entrap spirit and spirt was able to inhabit matter, and the divne miracle was the transubstantiation of spirit into matter involved with the birth and resurrection of christ. Aether or ether was thought to be that interface between the 2, and it was hailed as a triumph of science that they had found tangible proof of the workings of god on the spiritual matter interface. Huygens was convinced that this was a mechanical explanation for the workings of light, the very essence of gods true character! Newton was not so convinced, and not ready to accept Catholic doctrine as scientific evidence!
We therefore have a stalemate that arises out of 2 methods of scientificinvestigation, one based on observables and deductions and inductions, the other based on wild guesses and rigorous experimentation to demonstrate the veracity . Both in the final analysis require faith in the process to arrive at the conclusions, and both depend on empirical data to sway the conviction, The difference was that Newtons method avoided occultism, while the hypohesis method allowed occult premises.
We find that what was once categorised as occult , when demonstrated in the open passes the test of observable phenomenon. Much of what Faraday observed was already noted and observed by Boyle, and more besides, but because Boyle had to obscure his chemical researches, his work was cast as occult. The same information in open investigation was found to provide observable data. From this data Faraday was able to construct the concept of a sphere of influence for magnetic and electric matter. He was able to state what Boyle intimated: matter was not just particulate, it also had electromagnetic Airs or fields associated in a spherical field of influence. This was the very nature of Huygens undulatory theory, but of course it was misunderstood, because matter was now securely enssconced in a Newtonian conception of gravity!
It is not that Newton did not know about these fluids, it is he could not account for them. Thus he specifically excludes them from his definition of the quantity of matter. Having done so, people tended to forget that Newton was deliberately presenting a pragmatic view of matter, and they then went on to confuse mass with matter. Only the alchemists maintained a clear view of matters complexity. However, until Faraday no one knew how to quantify these other aspects of matter, and worse still how to review the notion of mass in the light of this clear understanding of matter.
Newton was not so ardently a corpuscularist that he did not include fluids in his explanations, but he did not accept that an Undulatory medium like water or air could be demonstrated.However, the recent improvement in lense making for microscopes had revealed a far more detailed world of structure in which particles and corpuscles could be seen and demonstrated. Indeed Hooke was producing an autograph on the very subject showing detailed images.
While Newton understood that magnetism was a universal attractive force, he had no indications that it was in anyway Undulatory or even vibrational. If a magnet had vibrated to produce its effects I am sure it would have been suggested long ago, but until Faraday and Tesla alternating electrostatics were not known. Huygens on the other hand had no empirical evidence in mind to demonstrate his notion of a medium. The experiments of Boyle and other alchemists dabbling in electrostatics went unnoticed.
Boyles theory of electro magnetism was non existent because although he located these two fluids in the particle he did not see a link between the two fluids. However, he did see that there was not two electrostatic fluids but one shared between the rubbed objects. We have to arrive at the beginning of the 19 th century to find this linking going on, especially on the work of Farady and Maxwell. None of his linking affected mass until researchers found an increase in mass associated with the electromagnetic field! This was just about to be investigated when the whole ground was changed by Einsteins theories. Unfortunately einstein perpetuates newtons mass, and even though he discusses it as rest energy he has no explanation of the quantity of matter. Yes it is related to the quantity of rest energy, but what are they?
The Boyle notion of matter has one important consequence: particles exist in a sea of electro magnetism. Had that been allowed to be expressed perhaps Huygens and Newton would have concurred that the electromagnetism was a necessary and sufficient explanation of an ether through which an Undulatory disturbance might spread..
Later I will look at how electromagnetism may be transformed into particles of electromagnetism, magnetic and electric bubbles floating in a sea of electromagnetism. The only other person to espouse this idea was Paul Dirac!.
The key misdirector in all of this is the notion of charge. Because of this notion matter was hardly changed in comcption of physicists and certainly mass was preserved. Only alchemists changed their understanding of matter to include the notion of charge in the fashionable corpuscular scheme and then again in the days of Einstein into the fashionable statistical probabilistic scheme of Schroedingers wave equation. It was Young that provided convincing empirical evidence of the wave nature of light, but photoelectricity that established the electromagnetism of light by Einsteins massless electron which he called a photon. Einsteins revolution was to find a way to bring confused corpuscularists over to the "darkside" of undulatory wave mechanics, in preparation for the expected triumph of ether mechanics. However The Michelson Moreley experiment appeared to put paid to that, So instead Einstein created a new substance for wave propagation called spacetime. This was enirely mathematical but really it involved making time into another spatial dimension which meant now space could undulate and carry electromagnetism. The consequence of this was that the container notion of space was no longer necessary , and neither was an ether. The boundary conditions of space itself varied in time fulfilled that role very neatly.
However, the only mathematics that enabled this spacetime was the quaternion mathematics, and the Grassmann mathematics, and the Laplacian/Lagrangian mathematics. Combining these he derived special relativity, but his attempt to derive General relativity failed at the quantum level.
The reason is clear: without time there is no spacetime, and at the quantum level there is no time. The discreteness of quanta mitigate against a general notion of time. Rather all events are episodic and relative to the quantum system under investigation only.
Consequently Schroedingers equation, developed at the suggestion of Einstein, deals with the discrete evolution of systems over a fictional time for a dynamic system like a molecule or an atom. The complex mathematics cannot be resolved except by making a connection to probability theory. This connection means that the eqution has to be interpreted by probability distributions.
Although this was strange to start with in fact it freed scientists from the old corpuscular precisions and allowed them to look at statistical behaviours of ensembles. Newtons reduction of matter to point mass excluded the electromagnetic fluids, but ensembles capture the influence of the fluids in a way never thought possible before the advent of statistics. Probability is a precise measure but requires precise distinctions. When statistics was invented it provided a way to extend the reach of probability to the behaviours of large datasets. The behaviours of large datasets are our only way of constructing quantites of measure of invisible influences, which are none heless observable. The significance test and randomness notions average out the particular phenomena so we do miss events that are real but our tests are not sensitive enough to distinguish. However, this reflects the Newtonian notion that reliable reasoning should start from observables not hypotheses. But this statistical approach also means hypotheses may be advanced and sidelined if they fail to be statistically significant.
This development in the scientific method does not give anyone the right to denigrate the beliefs of any other scientist or person, but it does provide a mechanism for consensus and allocation of scarce resources.
Science has become big business, but simple humanity should not be lost in the process. The name calling and vilification in the physics community is a shameful thing. All that is needed is to apply the statitical test fairly and rigorously as opposed to the experimental data test. Thus if an individual has an idea and has produced statistical data that is significant, there idea should be accorded scrutiny on seeral fronts. If a person i only putting forward hypotheses , as Young did in much of his work, then they should be asked to submit the required statistically significant data. Failing that, review of their work should be simply and politely declined.
The matter of peer review is a separate issue, as is the matter of the governance of so called Science.