STORY OF LIGHT AND RELATIVITY
When I was a Graduate Student at Harvard studying for my Ph.D in nuclear physics I had plenty of time on my hands and there were no classes to attend, since I was in theoretical physics and did my studying in my room or the libraries.
It was at that time that I started teaching Physics and Mathematics for the Freshmen at Pine Manor Junior College for girls in Brooklyn Massachusetts, USA.
I had, in a short time become one of the most popular teachers on the campus -- since my teaching was rife with jokes and humor of a varied variety to suit the subjects I was teaching. I have always cherished those moments. I recall how the students wept when I left the school after two years.
Once I called out the entire College, including the President of the College and the teachers of all departments to listen to me give a popular lecture on Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
To start with, the audience had sour expressions on their faces, but as the minutes rolled by, they were all cheering and laughing as I continued with my exposition of the most difficult subject in the world. By the time I finished I received a standing ovation -- and had to take curtain calls three times!!
I explained to the audience that the reason I made the Relativity Theory so simple was because I really didnt understand it, and was trying to understand it, step by step along with them even as I spoke on it.
The President of the College was so fascinated by my speech that he began to take me in his car to give these popular lectures to the Alumni of the College, the parents of the girls in school, and he got a lot of donations for the college in the process! lol Of course I was giving my lectures free of charge, just trying to learn more and more on how to teach this complex subject.
It is the weirdest story ever told and leaves the reader amazed by the time it has ended.
The scientists tried to figure out what light was - whether waves or corpuscles. If it was waves like the waves in water then where was the water? They imagined that light waves were waves in some imaginary medium called the ETHER. And then they tried to detect the Ether. They said it was everywhere. Just like God!
If you move against a wind the wind will blow your voice backwards, if you walk against the wind the wind will slow you down.
The scientists knew that the EARTH was moving at the speed of 70,000 miles per hour in space around the sun. The earth was therefore moving through Ether at this speed. And therefore it should have felt an Ether Wind.
Light traveled in Ether with a definite speed of 186,000 miles per second. In fact light WAS waves in Ether itself. So if the earth was travelling at a speed of 70,000 miles per hour through ether then the speed of a light beam thrown against the ether wind would be slower than the speed of light which was thrown along the ether wind. It was common sense. But that was where it failed. Because common sense was not common at all!!
To make a long story short, the speed of light continued to be the same whether the light went against the ether wind or with the ether wind.
Einstein suddenly popped up from nowhere and told the physicists of the time that no matter how and where they measured the speed of light, this speed would always, always, remain 186,000 miles per hour. Even if you measured it on Mars or from Mars to the Earth. It was a Law of Nature that the speed of light would always remain the same in all moving things whether it was the earth or a rocket sent from the earth etc.
Then what was going on? Slowly and surely Einstein showed that when things moved they contracted, and that time became slower -- lengths would reduce and time would slow down but the speed of light would never change -- it would remain constant at 186,000 miles per second forever, like stars and stripes forever!! God had made light this way!!
Then he popped another surprise as he showed with unerring mathematical accuracy that the mass of an object would go up when it was moving relative to a person standing and watching.
He brought our three mathematical equations. One on length, the other on time and the third on mass.
And then he got onstage like a magician and put these three equations into a hat -- and ABRACADABRA -- what came out? A rabbit?
No, an equation that shook the whole world --- E = mc squared. Mass and Energy were interchangeable. Mass could convert to energy. Even an object the size of a small match box would have enough energy to blow up a whole town. Yes, you guessed it, -- it was the discovery of the the Atomic Bomb!
What were the scientists searching for? The nature and speed of light and Ether-- and what did they come out with -- the Atomic Bomb and Atomic Energy.
That is some imagination! And we say scientists are dull and boring!! LOL.
If you wish to read the full, 300 page story set in an Indian setting with bullock carts and homing pigeons and nagging mother-in-laws, then read this Book which I had completed in 1970 itself but am putting on the Internet as a PDF file for the first time. My original typed manuscript itself is the PDF book, complete with all the typos and handwritten corrections.
I know you won't read it because it is too time consuming and too late in the century now to read it.
But if ever you have lots and lots of spare time and wish to ponder over the mysteries of the Universe then you may open the book and glance through the pages and relive those glorious moments of old, of mystery, imagination and romance!
Resource I give the link below from scribd.com where I have uploaded the STORY OF LIGHT AND RELATIVITY PRIYA NATH MEHTA M.sC.,M.S. (Harvard)