Poincaré: LOCAL TIME Implies MASS = ENERGY

Historically three functions were attributed to time: simultaneity, synchronization and duration. Time became important in physics even before Galileo analyzed how gravity could be diluted by using a slope. Middle Age mathematicians made the first differential calculus computations using time, two centuries before Fermat established calculus.

Newton used calculus for his detailed theory of gravitation. However Isaac thought his own theory made no sense. The problem was that gravity was supposed to act instantaneously at a distance. Isaac thought that it is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should, without the Mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual Contact…That Gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to Matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro’ a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it.”

— Isaac Newton, Letters to Bentley, 1692/3

Poincaré: Time Is Local, MASS = ENERGY, Yet Relativity Is Not Fully Relative

Poincaré: Time Is Local, MASS = ENERGY, Yet Relativity Is Not Fully Relative

[The picture actually alludes to a completely different work of Poincaré, his discovery that qualitative methods in non solvable differential equations produced results where exact differential equations a la Newton did not: in particular, Poincare’s recurrence theorem… Useful in astronomy.]

Newton’s theory depended crucially on an absolute, universal time: thus the gravity force vector could always point to the center of (the) mass (exerting the gravitational force).

However the wrapping up of the electromagnetic equations by Maxwell showed that light was electromagnetic field travelling at speed c. C was universal. And independent of any “rest frame”. After thinking about the problem for twenty years, Lorentz discovered that, for electromagnetic phenomena to stay the same in a moving frame, one had to introduce what Poincaré called a “Local Time”. Poincaré then pointed out that there was no absolute rest relative to an “ether”, all one could do was to analyze the motion of matter relative to matter.

Then Poincaré thought some more for five years, and published in 1900, in the major Dutch physics Journal, that electromagnetic field retardation and its violation of Newton’s Third Law (Action equals reaction) could be resolved by attributing the inertial mass E/cc to the electromagnetic field.

(Mass = energy was attributed to a number of second order German physicists for Francophobic and nationalistic reasons, and the notion is repeated to this day by ignorant parrots; that would be sort of funny, if it did not distort not just the history of physics, but even the understanding of physics, as the parrots tend to not have as deep an understanding the underlying concepts).

“The principle of relativity, according to which the laws of physical phenomena must be the same for a stationary observer as for one carried along in a uniform motion of translation, so that we have no means, and can have none, of determining whether or not we are being carried along in such a motion… From all these results, if they were to be confirmed, would issue a wholly new mechanics which would be characterized above all by this fact, that there could be no velocity greater than that of light, any more than a temperature below that of absolute zero. For an observer, participating himself in a motion of translation of which he has no suspicion, no apparent velocity could surpass that of light, and this would be a contradiction, unless one recalls the fact that this observer does not use the same sort of timepiece as that used by a stationary observer, but rather a watch giving the “local time.[..] Perhaps, too, we shall have to construct an entirely new mechanics that we only succeed in catching a glimpse of, where, inertia increasing with the velocity, the velocity of light would become an impassable limit. The ordinary mechanics, more simple, would remain a first approximation, since it would be true for velocities not too great, so that the old dynamics would still be found under the new” [Poincaré, 1904.]

So after Poincaré’s work, what was the situation? Time is local (yet clocks could be synchronized at a distance), Galilean relativity could be extended to electromagnetism as long as mass = energy.

Are we further along today?

Poincaré kept a distinction between “apparent time” and “ether” given time. Einstein’s variation of the theory does not preserve this distinction (and that makes it false, ha ha ha). I will not go into the details here, as it would be pure research of the sort that 99% of theoretical physicists are unwilling to consider (some other day, in simple words). I am not trying to spite Einstein, long my preferred physicist (no more, though, he has exhausted my patience with vindictive plagiarism, in particular against Poincaré and Karl Popper, let alone abandoning his little daughter). Actually Einstein admitted there was some sort of ether: …”we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable.” [Einstein, 1920.]

But there is much worse: we now know that Quantum Physics ignores Local Time. Quantum Physics brings back the instantaneous interaction at a distance which repulsed Newton. (At least, it appears instantaneous experimentally, so far, and it is certainly instantaneous in the existing Quantum formalism, which, amusingly, is in the same exact situation as Newtonian Physics: the Quantum as we know it today, cannot function without that instantaneous Quantum Interaction.

Whatever happens next, only one thing is clear; those who claim physics has been figured out, know very little, and should be advised to shut up, lest their  egregious statements confuse the public about the scientific method.

Patrice Ayme’



E = mcc? Here is my take on it:

The simplest idea to get to Energy = Mass, is that light has momentum (experiments and Poynting’s work on electromagnetism). Integrated (that is summed up) momentum transferred is… energy.

But also, upon emission of light, a recoil appears (Newton’s Third Law, and that is what it means that light has momentum). To keep the center of mass where it was prior (Buridan’s law, aka “Newton’s” First/Second Law), light needs to carry inertial mass (also gravitational, according to the equivalence principle)… Poincaré, no fool, has got to have been teaching that at the Sorbonne in 1899 (when he first publicized E = mcc)…

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8 Responses to “Poincaré: LOCAL TIME Implies MASS = ENERGY”

  1. Gmax Says:

    Many write that one is “antisemitic” if one does not attribute Relativity to Einstein


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I corrected your typo. Einstein was a good German, but criticizing his work is viewed as crackpot. However, precisely because said work is so central, not criticizing it is tantamount to not criticizing the foundations of physics.


  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    Dear Patrice, This may not mean very much, but I am convinced that quantum formalism is just plain wrong on instantaneous action at a distance. I may do some separate posts on that some time soon.

    I agree Poincaré has had a rough passage through the history of science, and it is also of interest that Lorentz did not agree with Einstein about his interpretation of the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction. As far as SR goes, Einstein really mainly put together a lot of ideas of others and unified them, and he should have referenced their work. On the other hand, I can give one possible understanding why he did not – working in a patent office, maybe he could not get copies of their work. By that I mean he should have known about much of it, but he may not have been able to cite it. I have done a lot of my work without access to a serious library, and while I can perceive much of what has been done, more than once I have not had the resources to get the references in the right form.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Ian: I used to think Einstein was all isolated, blah blah blah… But then I discovered recently he tried really to claim he discovered E – mcc in 1907. Considering the precedence of others and their fame (including Planck 1906), that was ludicrous.
      Einstein was actually the electromagnetic specialist at that office (being recruited as such).

      Once one has proven that ds^2 = cctt – xx – yy – zz is an invariant (which Poincare’ had done many years before… under the justly named POINCARE GROUP), all of Relativity mathematically follows… (At least formally!)

      But not all has been said. Formalism is easy, understanding something else, so I improve my understanding by realizing time dilation is key. Although not a fundamental axiom (as the invariance of ds^2 is, some will say), it makes an intuitively easy to understand proximal axiom, so to speak.


      • Kevin Berger Says:

        Strictly from memory, didn’t Einstein marry into the NYT owners family at some point? Wouldn’t that explain at least in part (if I am not misremembering, note that I cannot even get the name right off my head at the moment) his media exposure, and from there, its compounding effect on his fame? Sorry if I am mixing things up (not that I could comment on the meat of the text, obviously).


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I am no great scholar of Einstein’s life. (Contrarily to some of his scientific writings I have dissected with an attention nobody else has deployed: see my accusation that Einstein launched surreptitiously the… Multiverse… No less…)
          Anyway his first wife, a fellow physics student, was psychologically challenged. Abandoning their first child probably did not help… But she may have been genuinely nutty, as the second son was. The first son became a UC Berkeley prof (engineering).

          I think then he married Elsa, who was his cousin (but I read he was a womanizer sleeping right and left). The is a whole cottage industry to call scientific critique of Einstein dirty names, including “anti-Semitic”. Einstein was a Swabian German, who fled Germany, and lived in Italy and Switzerland as an adolescent and young man. His family was scientific, an uncle taught him calculus when he was around 12… He was not anymore a Jew than Hannah Arendt was (she took as lover the notorious Nazi Heidegger)

          Many American Jews have strange agendas as far as Israel is concerned, so they take extreme positions…



    […] Henri Poincaré had seen that time and space were not equivalent, although he had proposed the original ideas of “local time” and “local space” theories, which are the fundamental backbones of Special Relativity. (Even Einstein publicly frowned on the […]


  4. Pinker Than Pink: Pinker Paid For Seeing World Through Rose Colored Glasses | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] energy are attributed to a Jew (Einstein) instead of the one who really established it (Jules Henri Poincaré; who divulged E = mcc publicly in 1899, at the Sorbonne, in physics journal in 1900, and in all generality, 1905… […]


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