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CRITICAL RESEARCHES ON GENERAL ELECTRODYNAMICS
BY WALTER RITZ

Latest update - 05 Oct 2018.
Translated from Recherches critiques sur l'Électrodynamique Générale,
Annales de Chimie et de Physique, Vol. 13,   p. 145, 1908.
                                                          Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1451 3172

FIRST PART

                                                §   1. Recall of Lorentz's Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 323
                                                §   2. Criticism of Notions of Electric and Magnetic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . 159 329
                                                §   3. Irreversibility and Retarded Potentials. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 332
                                                §   4. Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172 340
                                                §   5. Gravitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 345
                                                §   6. Action and Reaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 347
                                                §   7. Analogy Between Ether and Elastic Bodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186 351
                                                §   8. Electrodynamic Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 354
                                                §   9. Absolute Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 360
                                                § 10. Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 367

Name Index for Introduction and First Part

SECOND PART


                                                §   1. General Considerations. Propagation of Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 370
                                                §   2. The Elementary Force. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 377

Phenomena of Slow Variation.

                                                §   3. General Calculation of Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 382
                                                §   4. Electrostatics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 388
                                                §   5. Electric Currents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 388

Electrodynamic and Electromagnetic Actions.

                                                §   6. Action of a Closed Current on an element of Neutral Current . . . . 233 390
                                                §   7. Action of a Closed Neutral Current or of a Magnet
                                                              on an Ion in Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 394
                                                §   8. Convective Action of Electricity.
                                                              Experiments of Rowland, Roentgen and Eichenwald . . . . . . . . 240 396

Induction.

                                                §   9. The Inductive Current is Neutral and Closed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242 397
                                                § 10. Inductive Circuits and Open Secondaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 400
                                                § 11. Action of a Charged Rigid Body on Itself.
                                                               Electromagnetic Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246 401
                                                § 12. Electric Oscillations, General Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248 403
                                                § 13. Hertzian Oscillations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 406
                                                § 14. Study of Great Speeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254 408
                                                § 15. Kaufmann's Experiments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260 413
                                                § 16. Gravitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267 419
                                                § 17. General Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271 422

1 Page numbering is from Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 13 (1908). In the text, Annales page numbers are linked to gallica bibliotheque numerique scanned copies of the original pages in French.
2 Page numbering from Gesammelte Werke - Walther Ritz- Oeuvres, Gauthier Villars, Paris, 1911, is shown in parentheses in the body of the text. I thank Mrs. Constance Fox (via Jeffrey Riso of Slidell, Louisiana) for the use of John Fox's annotated copy of this volume.


A pdf copy of the Introduction and First Part
is available as Ritz-CML.pdf. [Added 05 Oct 2009.]

See Commentary on Ritz's Electrodynamics
for an analysis of the Introduction and First Part

Translation notes

This work was originally translated from the French to English in 1972-1973 by Ms. Joclyn Lucier, a French Canadian citizen residing in Ventura California.

A second independent translation was begun in 1978 by Mr. George Toth of Czechoslovakia, at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS. Mr. Toth completed pages 145-229 before having to return to Europe. The final portion of the second translation (pages 230-275) was done in 1979 by Ms. Elizabeth Bull of the Foriegn Language Department at Mississippi State University.

The independent translations were compared against one another in preparing this English version for publication. Editing in English and manuscript preparation of the Introduction and First Part was done by Mr. Robert Fritzius, fritzius@bellsouth.net, of Starkville, MS.

A number of difficult passages in the Introduction and First Part were cleared up in 1980 by Maria Arun Kumar, also of the Foreign Language Department at Mississippi State University. One crucial, but arcanely composed sentence, at the end of the article's first page, was graciously resolved by the Department Head, Edmund A. Emplaincourt. (It would appear that Ritz was composing in German but writing in French. According to George Toth, there has to be a German original somewhere.)

The Second Part was edited from the independent translations (translations checked in the process) and converted to electronic format by Dr. Yefim Bakman, bakmanyef@gmail.com, of Tel Aviv University, Israel. Final English smoothing was done by Robert Fritzius. The Second Part files, including html versions, were installed on this website in January 2005.

Sections 5, 6, and 7 of the First Part were prepared as doc and html files and installed on the website in March 2005.

Readers should note that the Second Part of this work is not Ritz's better mousetrap. It is a step in that direction but Ritz was using emission theory with ficticious particles which were not affected by their environment. (This was to be consistent with the superposition principle.) Ritz used his (action without reaction) fictitious particles to re-model Maxwell-Lorentz electrodynamics. At various places he explains that what is being presented is not consistent with his theory, which would have fictious particles being acted on by charges in the medium through which they travel. (This amounts to a departure from the superposition principle.)

Related Material

Alfred O'Rahilly, Electromagnetic Theory, [908 pages] - Dover, (1965) [Thanks to Anthony Hollick, Bristol, England and Steve R. Williams, Cheshire, England.]

John G. Fox, Evidence Against Emission Theories, Am. J. Phys., 33, 1 (1965)

Also see Fox's 1975 letter about the Ritz translation.

Alberto Martinez, Ritz, Einstein, and the Emission Hypothesis, Physics in Perspective, 6, 4, (2004). NADS abstract is online at: http://http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004PhP.....6....4M

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