A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

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When people still thought space was absolute—that is, that every observer anywhere could measure space in the same way regardless of their position or velocity— they needed to explain what light traveled through so that all observers’ measurements of its speed would be the same. They thought there was an ether everywhere in the universe, even in empty space, that light and other waves traveled through. Albert Einstein pointed out this wasn’t necessary if people got rid of the concept of absolute time.
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Ether Term Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the term Ether appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...to what the speed of light was relative to. People suggested the idea of an ether that occupied all space, which light traveled through. The light would travel relative to the... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...Swiss patent office clerk Albert Einstein suggested there was no need for the idea of ether if you accepted time was not absolute. Henri Poincaré, a French mathematician, made a similar... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...must agree on the speed of light. There is no need for a theory of ether, which we cannot detect anyway. We must also accept that time is not independent of... (full context)