Monday, April 05, 2004
I would love to write my promised post on quantum gravity, but duty interferes, and I need instead to write a lecture on special relativity for class. Instead, here are two interesting facts about Hendrick Antoon Lorentz, one of the founding fathers of relativity.
First, although he was the inventor of Lorentz transformations, he went to his grave (1928) not believing in Lorentz invariance! He thought his transformations were just a trick for transforming between inertial frames and the one true ether frame. Einstein figured out in 1905 that the ether frame was unnecessary, and that's when special relativity really got off the ground. For more info, look at the bottom of this page for Michel Janssen's dissertation.
Second, he did not invent the Lorenz gauge of electromagnetism (note the spelling). That would be Ludwig Lorenz, a Danish physicist. Poor Ludwig's reputation was lost in the glow of someone with awfully similar name and interests.