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By Christer Bennewitz (Eds.)

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In 1898, Alfred Li´ enard had already noted the first-order modification of the Lorentz force through a Lorentz transformation. In relativity theory, this modification is compensated by the variation of the mass of the emitter. Cf. Darrigol, “Poincar´ e, Einstein, et l’inertie de l’´energie,” CR, 1 (2000), 143–153; “The genesis of the theory of relativity,” in T. Damour, O. Darrigol, B. Duplantier, V. ), Einstein 1905–2005: Poincar´ e seminar 2005 (Basel : Birkh¨ auser, 2006), 1–31. 54 Poincar´ e, ref.

On the relativity principle, he had to say: This principle is not only confirmed by our daily experience, not only is it the necessary consequence of the hypothesis of central forces, but it appeals to our common sense with irresistible force. And yet it also is being fiercely attacked. 56 55 Poincar´ e, “La mesure du temps,” Revue de m´ etaphysique et de morale, 6 (1898), 371–384. On the telegraphic context, cf. Peter Galison, Einstein’s clocks, Poincar´ e’s maps: Empires of time (New York, 2003).

If our investigation had led to a positive result, that is, if our light fringes had been shifted, this would only have shown that we lacked experimental skills and that the build up of our apparatus was defective. In reality the outcome was negative, which proved two things at the same time: that the laws of optics are not affected by the translatory motion, and that we were quite lucky on this matter. In 1888, Poincar´e devoted the last chapter of his optical lectures to stellar aberration and other optics of moving bodies.

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