Articles Comments » Sam Harrison's Blog » AN OPEN LETTER TO ALBERT EINSTEIN


(If  Einstein  was right about not being able to travel faster than light, then we —  all of us  — in the UFO community, are wrong!)

(This is a special message for the serious ufologist and scientific investigator.)

(To the reader: I want you to know that I approach this letter to Dr. Einstein with all the enthusiasm of a convicted killer trudging up the thirteen  steps to the gallows.  The good doctor and I have formed a deep relationship [ admittedly one-sided…well, maybe ] over the last few years and it anguishes me to be in the position of correcting him.

Correct Einstein?!  My God!

So I come to this task slowly, reluctantly, dragging my feet and inwardly hoping that this letter will never see the light of day…even though, knowing Al the way I do, I know he would be the first to urge, “Go get ’em, Sam.”  He was, as you well know, a bit of an iconoclast himself.

So…so be it.

Let me hasten to assure those of you who hold the old master dearly in your hearts that my pointing out a basic flaw in the theory of relativity, does not detract one iota from the genius of the man.  He was so brilliantly right in so many cases and courageously brave, bold, and daring even where wrong, that his name is assured of ringing praise and adulation for as long as mankind exists.

Now, just a word or two to prepare those of you who are not up on relativity and to refresh the mind of those who are.  Basically, the statement is this: all motion is relative.  There is no such thing as absolute rest and no such thing as absolute motion.  If you are driving down the highway there is no reason you must be compelled to say you are in motion and the highway is at rest.  You can equally be valid in assuming you are at rest and the highway, and the earth which supports it, is spinning past underneath you.

Al put it this way:  there is a train in uniform motion going down the track and there is an embankment alongside the train.  An observer on the train drops a stone and watches it fall straight down.  An observer on the embankment, however, watches the stone transverse a parabola [follow a curve].  Now, because there is no experiment whatsoever [ Al, and others , held ] that can be performed enclosed on the train to prove it is in motion, each observer is as equally correct in stating that his position [frame of reference] is the valid one.  Motion is relative and each point of view is as good as the other.

Well, let’s see….)

Mr. Albert Einstein
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
August, 1979

Dear Al,

Hey!, I just finished your, really quite delightful, book on relativity and I must say it’s a true singularity in the full meaning of the word.  I loved it.  Overall, it represents a canvas full of the broad, sweeping strokes of a master.  The colors are daring; the tints and hues bold and meaningful.

Now — forgive me, Al — I don’t want to be picky-picky, but there are one or two little things that…well, need a little clarifying.  Yea, just a point or two that needs some straightening out.  You see, the picture you painted of a sun that was setting and taking with it all those old and mistaken ideas and concepts of physics and such — well, hell, Al, you got it backwards — the sun is rising.

I’m sure that you know this now, having had the chance to sit down and rap a little with Newton and Galileo, and frankly, I don’t understand why I have to put in my two cents worth…but, I picked up your book and I read it!  And since your theory is some ninety years old now, I can’t — for the life of me — I can’t understand why no one, absolutely not one person the whole world over that has lived through this lengthy time — no one has ever seen where it is that you went wrong.

Why me?  O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!

But, let’s get to the point at hand: motion and its relativity.  Here, you are wrong.  There is such a thing as absolute motion. There is such a thing as absolute rest.  There is one — and only one — preferred frame of reference.  You cannot — repeat, can not — chose arbitrarily which frame of reference you would rather use.

Now that you and Issac and Galilei have had a chance to kick this around, I know that now you know.  And I can’t really blame you or Galileo for tripping over this technicality.  After all, Galileo had a number of other things (oppression) on his mind…and you just happened on the principle (of relativity) after it had been around for three hundred years.  But Newton (darn you, Issac, you should have known better!) you are the one who formulated the laws, the mechanics of motion!  You should have seen the error right from the start!

Let me state the case clearly for anyone who may be reading this letter over my shoulder:

Galileo, you said:  in a closed system (below deck in a ship) undergoing uniform motion, there is no way one can tell by the up and down   motion — or motion of any kind — whether they are at rest tied up at the dock, or in motion (under sail).

Newton, you said:  in a closed system (anything) undergoing uniform motion, there is no mechanical experiment one can perform to tell whether they are at rest or in motion.

Einstein, you said:  in a closed system (anything) undergoing uniform motion, there is no experiment of any kind whatsoever one can perform to tell whether they are at rest or in motion.

Jeepers! Creepers!, Fellas!  You all — all of you! — overlooked a basic, fundamental law of physics:  there is…no such thing, repeat, no such thing as uniform motion, or motion of any kind whatsoever unless, repeat, unless first there is an applied,  force! (Hey!, Wow!, Guys!  Ya just gotta… push it…to move  it!!)

And an applied force is an easily, superlatively measurable ingredient.  Let me set up the hypothesis as it is generally expressed today:

Imagine two spaceships, A and B.  There is nothing in the cosmos except these two ships.  They move toward each other at uniform speed.  Is there any way that astronauts on either ship can decide which of the following three situations is “true” or “absolute”?

1. Spaceship A is at rest.  B is moving.
2. Spaceship B is at rest.  A is moving.
3. Both ships are moving.

Gentlemen, you all stated: no.

But, as all can see by the above, the hypothesis is fallacious.  We must  back up a hair and add, when — or even after — a force is applied  (wind on the sail, Galilei, coal in the burner, Issac, a blast of the rockets, Albert) to set the bodies in motion, is there any way then to tell….

Well, here we have quite another can of beans and there are any number of ways to say yes; we can now determine by a number of experiments which is absolute — and by how much.  And if we grant absolute motion, we must also grant absolute rest.  This is indeed a notion which is hard to reconcile living as we do in a universe where everything is in such a chaotic state of motion, but there was a time….

Then, the entire universe (so I am told) was compressed into less than the size of the period at the end of this sentence. (.!)  Well, the important thing seems to be that at that time it was all together and since there was nothing else to be relative to, motion, per se, simply did not exist.  The entire compressed universe was at absolute rest.

But then it happened.  The universe went BIG BANG! and born unto it was Motion.  What a weird and wonderful child this is! MOTION!  The best brains of the universe have tumbled this baby around on their knees.  But, what has Motion, or the lack of it, or indeed, even its direction, have to do with anything?  Well, with it…

…time goes slower…
…things become more massive…
…electric fields are generated…
…magnetic fields jump to life…
…and gravity, yes, even gravity springs into existence.

Al, I’d like to go on with this and examine all the modifications and interesting consequences that may arise as a result of this line of inquiry, but I’ve a star ship to build and my time is limited.  Hey!, I’ll tell you what.  As soon as I get a chance I’ll come back to it.  At another time.  One where we can lock our minds and leisurely engage our fantasies to their utmost.

Till then, my deepest regards and respect, and with fond affection,


P.S. Al, you are quoted as saying, “A thousand experiments can prove me right, but it takes only one to prove me wrong.” Well, Al, I believe I’ve found that one and fittingly, it has a certain Nobility to it.  It should prove, one way or another, the concept of absolute motion/rest.

It’s this:  electrons at rest (static) do not generate a magnetic field, however they do so quite well when in motion. Therefore, one need but place resting (static) electrons on a disc (or on a surface in a closed system) and then check to make sure no magnetic fields are being generated, and then spin the disc or move the surface and check to see if a field now exists.  This, with the disc, I have done.  My results were positive.  I would be interested in others replicating and confirming my results.

Thank you for reading this.  Come back again.


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