Written by Lohith Aswa, 15 years
Member of Mango Science Club
All scientists, all studies and all experiments are successful irrespective of their direct implication or attractiveness.
The Caloric theory that considered heat as fluid was believed by many scientists like Antoine De Lavoisier, Pierre-Simon Laplace etc, but was proved wrong later. This theory is wrong but as an analogy, it helped many scientists understand heat in a better way, allowing them to make developments in science. This theory successfully explained the flow of heat including the dissipation of heat and it corrected the equations on the speed of sound.
Similarly, Michelson and Morley studied and tried to prove a hypothesis on luminiferous aether for 20 years but got a result that was unfavourable to them. They found out that there was no luminiferous aether. Though the result was not favourable to them, it was a true result. Despite the light it shone, their experiment was famously called the failed experiment. But if they did not research it, many following scientists would have been misguided by the concept of luminiferous aether and scientific development would’ve been hindered.
Probably, Einstein would have continued believing in this misconception of the behaviour of light and would have not proposed the relativity theories without which you can’t even find the nearest KFC on google maps! So your tummy is ultimately based on a “failed” experiment. This shows us that all the concepts and scientists who found them are equally important and successful in all ways. The only reason the Michelson and Morley experiment was regarded as a failed experiment was that they themselves had an expectation and were disappointed to know the truth and didn’t accept the reality for a while.
Finally, the Nobel committee understood the true spirit of science and awarded the duo a Nobel prize. This shows that the true spirit of a scientist is not to prove themselves right but to shine a light on unknown facts despite her/his personal opinion.