Page:1860 Fizeau en.djvu/1

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XXXII. On the Effect of the Motion of a Body upon the Velocity with which it is traversed by Light.

By M. H. Fizeau[1].


Many theories have been proposed with a view of accounting for the phænomenon of the aberration of light according to the undulatory theory. In the first instance Fresnel, and more recently Doppler, Stokes, Challis, and several others have published important researches on this subject; though none of the theories hitherto proposed appear to have received the complete approval of physicists. Of the several hypotheses which have been necessitated by the absence of any definite idea of the properties of luminiferous æther, and of its relations to ponderable matter, not one can be considered as established; they merely possess different degrees of probability.

On the whole these hypotheses may be reduced to the following three, having reference to the state in which the æther ought to be considered as existing in the interior of a transparent body. Either, first, the æther adheres or is fixed to the molecules of the body, and consequently shares all the motions of the body; or secondly, the æther is free and independent, and consequently is not carried with the body in its movements; or, thirdly, only a portion of the æther is free, the rest being fixed to the molecules of the body and, alone, sharing its movements.

The last hypothesis was proposed by Fresnel, in order at once

  1. Translated from the Annales de Chimie et de Physique for December 1859. The original memoir was presented to the Parisian Academy of Sciences, Sept. 29, 1851; and a translation of the brief abstract published in the Comptes Rendus was given in the Phil. Mag. for December 1851, p. 568.