Hertzs Experiments and Standing Waves
Soon after J. Maxwell created the theory of the electromagnetic field, H. Hertz experimentally proved the existence of electromagnetic waves.
In one of his experiments Hertz aimed the irradiation at a wide metal sheet. The direct and reflected waves combined to form a standing wave. Moving the vibrator, Hertz found nodes and loops of the standing wave, he measured the distance between the nodes and determined the wave length. Then, calculating natural frequency of the vibrator, he determined the spreading speed of the electromagnetic wave: . Magnitude equal to the velocity of light was yielded. This proved the electromagnetic nature of light.
H. Hertz and modern interpretation of his device
However, one should not forget that Hertz, as well as all scientists of that time, was a supporter of the ether concept. Like many others, he did not understand the reasons of the Michelson failure. So, like the others, he tried to explain the nonsense.
The scientists of the end of the XIX century split up into two camps. The first camp propounded the baseless hypothesis of ether being carried along by the Earth.
The second camp continued to search for a scientifically based reason. Though, Hertz stayed just half of a step behind the discovery of the compression of standing waves, he accepted the position of the first group of scientists - the hypothesis of carrying the ether along with the earth.
Soon, the young scientist fell ill and suddenly died (1894), never having known about the Lorenz transformations (1895), a hypothesis meant to explain Michelsons failure by the dimension contraction.
Hertz was really close to the discovery of the compression of standing waves. But his giving preference to the hypothesis of carrying the ether along allows us to suppose that he could not understand how the electromagnetic standing waves could coexist with motion of the device relative to the ether.
Actually, if the waves interferring in the Hertz device have different lengths and speeds due to motion relative to the ether, then will the standing wave be kept or not? It is believed that if Hertz had lived longer, then he would have analyzed this situation without fail and would have found the solution. But fate managed it so that only in 1981 was it successfully formulated and the solution found for the problem of standing waves in dynamics.
Nowadays, many scientists are also just unaware, and some of them do not wish to be aware, about the actuality of the problem of standing waves. So, from the very beginning, they state that the situation under consideration has nothing in common with standing waves. Is it actually true? This question was considered in the most serious way in the early 1980's, and the discovery made of a previously unknown phenomenon, that of standing wave compression.
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