A Hydrodynamical Analysis of Fizeau's Experiment of Flowing Water [Milnes_TothMaatRev_v5n1(1986)2309-2328.PDF]
Milnes, Harold Willis
Mechanics / Electrodynamics
© Toth-Maatian Review — Dr. T. E. Phipps, Jr. gift
Fresnel drag, Fizeau, MMX on flowing water, Zeeman, Kantor
In 1859, M. H. Fizeau reported the results of an experiment he had performed involving the convection of light waves by moving water. The experiment purported to verify a conjecture made earlier by A. Fresnel, an intimate friend of Fizeau's incidentally, that there would not be a completely additive effect between a moving medium and light convected by it, but that there would be only a partial effect and that the two velocities would combine according to a formula he hypothesized.
Unfortunately for science, Fizeau failed to analyze the hydrodynamics of the fluid moving in his apparatus and this has never been undertaken by anyone since in the intervening century and a quarter. He jumped to a rash conclusion that the flow in his experimental equipment was at constant velocity. He made a grave error, one almost immediately apparent to a hydrodynamicist, that is, but one which it seems was not only not apparent to himself but has been overlooked now by several generations of scientists since, who have simply gone on accepting Fizeau's conclusions without carefully examining the analysis on which he based them.