Astronomy Fundamentals

Matter and Energy

Who studied the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment?

After the results of the Michelson-Morley experiments were confirmed, many of the leading physicists of the day carefully pondered the implications. The Irish mathematical physicist George Francis Fitzgerald (1851–1901), the Dutch physicist Henrik Antoon Lorentz (1853–1928), and the French mathematician and physicist Jules-Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) were three of the scientists particularly interested in explaining why this result came about. They were able to show that a specific mathematical relationship exists between the length of an object and speed at which the object is moving; this relationship is known today as the Lorentz factor. By the early 1900s, Poincaré had even begun to think that the amount of time an object experiences would change, depending on how fast the object was moving. No coherent working theory, however, was developed until 1905.


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