Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory

A New Interpretation

Sample chapter

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction."

—Albert Einstein

The unified field as Einstein understood it

Let's face it. There really is no mystery to Einstein's Unified Field Theory. What Einstein did was merely to acknowledge in a mathematical sense the unified field nature of the oscillating electromagnetic field (also known as electromagnetic radiation, or light in its most general sense). Yes, that ubiquitous energy of the universe that pervades every nook and cranny of our existence, from the quantum level to the largest scale. Radiation is truly the unified field that Albert Einstein was pursuing all his life, and encapsulated mathematically through his Unified Field Theory.

However, there is a view among Einstein's scientific contemporaries that his work was a failure, and there is nothing we can learn from his final scientific legacy. Either that, or he did not complete his work, or so we are told.

Dr Cornelius Lanczos of the School of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies confirmed this current scientific belief about Einstein's final work when he said:

"In the meantime, modern physics continues to grow and advance without taking account of Einstein's unifying attempts and, in fact, denying even the possibility of such an attempt being successful." (2)

Did Einstein complete his work?

After 1917, Einstein wanted to tackle the mystery of the gravitational field once again despite completing his enlightening work on the General Theory of Relativity where he saw the gravitational field as a mysterious energy permeating through space whose density affects the speed and direction taken by anything that is influenced by this energy (or gravitational field). Otherwise, whatever is influenced by this energy (or field), if made to accelerate in the right amount and direction, this field may mathematically disappear (or, more likely, the energy is evenly distributed to the right density all around so as not to create a gravitational force).

To Einstein, he felt the theory of gravity was incomplete. Something wasn't right. And it had to do with the electromagnetic field, especially when it oscillates. Previously, he acknowledged a link between the acceleration of uncharged matter and the gravitational field, which is now encapsulated in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, published in 1916. However, there is something rather peculiar about light that made Einstein pursue the problem of the gravitational field once again.

At first, Einstein discovered a strange ability for light to move uncharged matter. If you need evidence of this claim, you only have to observe a typical Crookes' radiometer to notice how the sunlight moves supposedly uncharged metal plates acting as "sails" to capture the sunlight. Not only that, but it also includes the ability of light to bend in a gravitational field, much like the way a tennis ball thrown through the air can bend in the same field. Actually, this latter discovery really disturbed Einstein thanks to the results of the experiment by Professor Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944) to check the validity and magnitude of the light bending effect during a solar eclipse in 1919, as predicted by Einstein's work, where he noticed an unmistakable connection between the electromagnetic field and the gravitational field.

Huh? A purely electromagnetic phenomenon that can be influenced by a gravitational field? How is this possible? Or, more accurately, what is in the light to influence the gravitational field, and vice versa?

After realising light can bend in a gravitational field, Einstein became seriously perplexed by this unmistakable connection between the electromagnetic field and the gravitational field, although far more so for himself than for Eddington or any other physicist at the time or since.

After much careful thinking and some sleepless nights, Einstein eventually made the decision to see light as ordinary matter. At first this doesn't seem all that radical to the physicist. Well, to be truthful, there is a reason in Einstein's thinking to look at light along this line. Because if you replace light with any other form of ordinary matter, it would make no difference. The same gravitational and ordinary matter effects would exist (i.e., both light bending and the ability to move uncharged matter), and there is no way to discern a difference in this "gravitational" effect. Light is influenced by the gravitational field just as surely as a tennis ball is. But why should it behave like ordinary matter? Or more importantly, what is in the light to affect the gravitational field, and for the gravitational field to affect light?

Well, here is a clue. What does all ordinary matter have as well? As all physicists agree and everyone has been taught in science classrooms, ordinary matter has, or is known to generate, a gravitational field of its own. So naturally Einstein thought, why leave out the gravitational field from the picture of light? Surely, it must make sense to include the gravitational field with the electromagnetic field. The only thing that remained in Einstein's mind was the type of electromagnetic field to use to influence the gravitational field and vice versa. Since light, or radiation, is an oscillating electromagnetic field, it just makes sense to use the oscillating electromagnetic field as the unified field for his new theory.

It is from these humble beginnings that he formulated the most ambitious mathematical theory ever devised in science: the Unified Field Theory.

But did Einstein fail to complete his work? A rather pertinent question to ask considering how many scientists are willing to vouch for this possibility.

Well, in 1924, Albert Einstein completed the essential aspects of his unification work. After further refinements, the fully completed version was published in 1929 (you can download the paper from the link below, together with a simplified presentation of the theory by Professor Tullio Levi-Civita). So yes, he did finish his work. Since then, Einstein has remained confident throughout his life that what he achieved was indeed correct and that all he needed was a mathematical solution derived from the unified field equations for a new special case that can be applied to reality and revealed through experimental testing to be true, thus proving the validity of his idea behind his final scientific masterpiece.

The only problem with the Unified Field Theory is the complexity in solving field equations (1), especially in non-static cases, of which radiation is an example.

But rest assured, there is a way to overcome this mathematical barrier. Indeed, there are practical experiments that we can perform to test the concept.

But even if we prove the oscillating electromagnetic field contains the gravitational field, we still have the fundamental problem of what is the gravitational field? Talk of the gravitational field being linked to the electromagnetic field is one thing. Getting to the source of the original problem of what the gravitational field is has yet to be solved, right? Absolutely. Because it was this very question that led Einstein on a very long quest that would take up the rest of his life. The only remaining question is, did Einstein find a solution?

Maybe he did, but had chosen to keep quiet? Or did he feel the source of the gravitational field may lie in the neutron of atoms or something more exotic?

But what if the gravitational field never existed? What then? Can we use another field to explain the same effects in a different way? A kind of new picture of how the universe really hangs together, and this time we use this field as a pushing force rather than a pulling force.

This book looks at the world that could have been based on an electromagnetic universe, with radiation being the prime mover for all things.