Absolute or Relative Motion?
The question treated in the following is old; in addition to the cited writings there exists a rather extensive literature on it, about which we reserve comment to a later time. Our work was conceived without knowledge of that literature. It once more illuminates the uncertainty of the basis of our mechanics and of all exact science in general— wherein it must necessarily deal with long-known material—and points the way toward an attempt to solve the question, without any claim of already presenting the solution. If experiments now in progress lead to a result, they may silence the frequently raised objection that the limitations on our experience do not permit a decision. But if the experiments do not succeed, we may perhaps lead others to successful work in this direction by pointing out that the invertibility [Umkehrbarkeit] of the centrifugal force, considered already by Newton, urgently needs an experimental treatment as well as a theoretical investigation by reduction to a law of relative inertia.
KeywordsRelative Motion Centrifugal Force Celestial Body Relative Rotation Torsion Balance
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