Friday, 20 November 2009

An Attempt Towards A Chemical Conception Of The Ether

An Attempt Towards A Chemical Conception Of The Ether


Professor D. Mendeleeff

Translated from the Russian by George Kamensky (Imperial Mint, St. Petersburg)

Longmans, Green & Co, NY (1904)

Spectrum analysis proves that the terrestrial chemical elements occur in the most distant heavenly bodies, and from analogy there seems no doubt that the general mass composition of these bodies is very similar in all cases; that is to say, that they are composed of a dense core surrounded by a less dense crust and an atmosphere which becomes gradually rarefied. Thus the composition of the stars probably differs but little from that of the sun. Only at the core can the density differ much from that of the sun, but this cannot greatly affect the average density. Neither can the temperature of the stars differ greatly from that of the sun. Moreover, a rise of temperature would tend to increase the diameter of the star, and this would decrease the value of the velocity required by the gaseous particles to escape from the sphere of attraction. It appears, therefore, that for the purposes of our calculation the average density of the large stars may be taken as nearly that of the sun, and therefore that the radius of a star whose mass is n times that of the sun will be 3sq. rt. n times the radius of the sun. We now have all the data necessary for calculating the velocity required by gaseous particles to escape from the sphere of attraction of a star 50 times greater than the sun.

Its mass is 50.129.1018 or nearly 65.1029, and its radius nearly 698.106.3 sq. rt. of 50, or 26.108. Hence the velocity required will be nearly 2,240,000 meters/second, or 2,240 kilometers/second.

The great magnitude of this velocity, v, and its proximity to that of light (300, 000,000 meters/second) provoke the following inquiry. How much must the mass of a heavenly body exceed that of the sun to retain on its surface particles endowed with a velocity of 3.103 meters/second, if its mean density were equal to that of the sun? This may be calculated from the fact that if the mean density of the two luminaries be equal, the velocities of bodies able to escape into space from the spheres of attraction will stand in the ration of the cube roots of their masses, and therefore a luminary from whose surface particles endowed with a velocity of 300,00,000 meters/second could escape must have a mass 120,000,000 times that of the sun, for only particles having a velocity of 608,000 meters/second can escape from the sun, and this stands to 300,000,000 in the ratio of 1:493, and the cube of 493 is nearly 120,000,000.

But, so far we have no reason for admitting the existence of such a huge body, and therefore it seems to me that the velocity of the particles of our gas (ether) must, in order to permeate space, be greater than 2,240,000 meters/second and probably less that 300,000,000 meters /second.

Hence the atomic weight of x as the lightest elementary gas, permeating space and performing the part of the ether, must be within the limits (formula II) of 0.000,000,96 and 0.000,000,000,053, if that of H = 1.

I think it is impossible, under the present conditions of our scientific knowledge, to admit the latter value, because it would in some measure answer to a revival of the emission theory of light, and I consider that the majority of phenomena are sufficiently explained by the fact that the particles and atoms of the lightest element x capable of moving freely everywhere throughout the universe have an atomic weight nearly one millionth that of hydrogen, and travel with a velocity of about 2,250 kilometers/second.

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