Its genesis was the development by Albert Abraham Michelson (1852–1931) of an interferometer (1881) whereby a beam of light could be split into two parts, sent at right angles to each other, and then brought together again. Because of the Earth's motion through space, the "drag" of the stationary ether should produce interference effects when the beams are brought together: his early experiments brought no such effects. With Edward Morley he improved the sensitivity of his equipment, and by 1887 was able to show that there was no "drag," and therefore no ether.
Michelson, awarded the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physics, was the first US Nobel prizewinner.
Related category• SPACE AND TIME
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