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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Fizeau's "aether-drag" experiment in the undergraduate laboratory
Author(s): Renaud Mathevet; Pierre Labastie; Thierry Lahaye

Paper Abstract

We describe a simple realization of Fizeau’s “aether-drag” experiment. Using an inexpensive setup, we measure the phase shift induced by moving water in a laser interferometer and find good agreement with the relativistic composition of velocities law or, in the terms of 19th century physics, with Fresnel’s partial-drag theory.

This appealing experiment, particularly suited for an undergraduate laboratory project, not only allows a quantitative measurement of a relativistic effect on a macroscopic system but also constitutes a practical application of important concepts of optics, data acquisition and processing, and fluid mechanics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2015
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 9793, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015, 97931G (8 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2223112
Show Author Affiliations
Renaud Mathevet, LNCMI, CNRS-INSA-UJF-UPS (France)
Pierre Labastie, LCAR, IRSAMC, CNRS-Univ. de Toulouse (France)
Thierry Lahaye, LCF, CNRS-Institut d'Optique-Univ. Paris Sud (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9793:
Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015

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