Relativity and Cosmology


Machine Systematics in Dayton Miller's Ether Drift Interferometer Revealed by Analysis of Variance

Authors: Simon WW Manley

The copious data records from Dayton Miller’s heroic experiments have been analyzed and re-analyzed for nearly a century by authors wishing to reinstate some version of an ether theory with a preferred frame of reference. A significant signal at the period of half a rotation of the interferometer could represent anisotropy in the propagation of light, the "ether drift" effect sought in Michelson and Morley's 19th century experiment. Claims of significant signals in the Miller data have typically been based on visual pattern recognition rather than the application of formal statistical tests. The analysis of variance presented in this paper shows statistically significant signal components at the periods of a half rotation and a full rotation. Since a Michelson interferometer is symmetrical upon rotation by 180 degrees, the signal component at the period of a full rotation can only be a systematic in the machine or the observer. The remarkable aspect of the story is that the implications of the full rotation systematic have gone virtually unnoticed for nearly 100 years.

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Submission history

[v1] 2019-05-14 19:40:27
[v2] 2019-08-06 20:28:41

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