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Albert Abraham Michelson

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Albert Abraham Michelson (December 19, 1852 – May 9, 1931) was an American physicist known for his work on the measurement of the speed of light and especially for the Michelson-Morley experiment. In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics. He became the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in sciences.

The Michelson–Morley experiment was performed in 1887 by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It attempted to detect the relative motion of matter through the stationary luminiferous aether ("aether wind"). The negative results are generally considered to be the first strong evidence against the then prevalent aether theory, and initiated a line of research that eventually led to special relativity, in which the stationary aether concept has no role. The experiment has been referred to as "the moving-off point for the theoretical aspects of the Second Scientific Revolution".

Michelson-Morley type experiments have been repeated many times with steadily increasing sensitivity. These include experiments from 1902 to 1905, and a series of experiments in the 1920s. In addition, recent resonator experiments have confirmed the absence of any aether wind at the 10−17 level. Together with the Ives–Stilwell and Kennedy–Thorndike experiments, it forms one of the fundamental tests of special relativity theory.


1.) Naukowe, Łódzkie (2003). Bulletin de la Société des sciences et des lettres de Łódź: Série, Recherches sur les déformations, Volumes 39-42. Société des sciences et des lettres de Łódź. p. 162. "Michelson's biographers stress, that our hero was not conspicuous by religiousness. His father was a free-thinker and Michelson grew up in non-religious family and have no opportunity to acknowledge the believe of his forebears. He was agnostic through his whole life and only for the short period he was a member of the 21st lodge in Washington."

2.) John D. Barrow (2002). The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas About the Origins of the Universe. Random House Digital, Inc.. p. 136. ISBN 9780375726095. "Morley was deeply religious. His original training had been in theology and he only turned to chemistry, a self-taught hobby, when he was unable to enter the ministry. Michelson, by contrast, was a religious agnostic."

3.) 1984; Dorothy Michelson Livingston, One Pass Productions, Cinema Guild. The Master of Light: A Biography of Albert A. Michelson. University of Chicago Press. p. 106. "On the religious question, Michelson disagreed with both these men. He had renounced any belief that moral issues were at stake in..."