Page:Poincare Goettingen En.djvu/8
inertia of the ether relatively to the electromagnetic forces. The inertia of the ether increases with the velocity and its limit becomes infinite when the velocity approaches the velocity of light. The apparent mass of the electron therefore increases with the velocity; Kaufmann’s experiments show that the constant real mass of the electron is negligible in relation to the apparent mass and may be considered as null.
In the new conception, matter’s constant mass has disappeared. Only the ether, and no longer matter, is inert. Only the ether opposes a resistance to motion, so that we might say that there is no matter, but only gaps in the ether. For stationary or quasi-stationary motions, the new mechanics does not differ — within the range of approximation of our measurements — from the Newtonian mechanics, with the sole difference that the mass is no longer independent either of the velocity or of the angle this velocity makes with the direction of the accelerative force. If, per contra, the velocity has a considerable acceleration, in the case, for instance, of very rapid oscillations, Hertzian waves are produced which represent a loss of energy of the electron involving the deadening of its motion. Thus in wireless telegraphy the waves emitted are due to the vibrations of the electrons in the oscillatory discharge.
Analogous vibrations take place in a flame and likewise also in an incandescent solid. Lorentz thinks that in an incandescent body a considerable number of electrons circulate which, not being able to get out of it, fly in every direction and are reflected on its surface. We may compare them to a swarm of gnats enclosed in a jar and striking with their wings against the walls of their prison. The higher the temperature, the more rapid becomes the motion of these electrons and the more numerous the mutual impacts and the reflections on the wall. At each impact