Prof. A. A. Michelson, for Mem.R.S


IT is just fifty years since Michelson made his first attempt to measure the velocity of the earth through the ether. Shortly before his death he was still at work on the same problem. The memorable result was in 1887 when, in conjunction with Morley, he performed the famous experiment that ultimately led to the theory of relativity and changed our whole conception of the physical world. There was a combination of grandeur and delicacy in the apparatus which strikes the imagination—the massive pier floating in mercury and moving almost imperceptibly in slow revolution, the delicate interferometer capable of detecting a lag of one ten-thousand-billionth of a second in the arrival of the light wave; and, as a climax for the theorist, the subtle escape of Nature from the trap that Michelson had set for her.

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EDDINGTON, A. Prof. A. A. Michelson, for Mem.R.S. Nature 127, 825 (1931).

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