Einstein’s theory of Brownian movement became empirical evidence that atoms existed. Before this discovery, particles and forces where assumed not to exist - but this revolution showed us that we could observe atoms through microscopic-lensed telescopes. Einstein was heavily influenced by his mathematical insights, and this gave him great understanding into the world of particle behaviour - this too must bring with it the forces that 'carry' these specific particles… This included a particular medium for all matter called the Aether.
What is 'Aether Theory' all about?
Einstein wrote a paper on what was called, 'The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields'. It was originally devised contemporaneously for [one] of his uncles. Also known as 'Ether' from the Greek Word (aio'np), which basically means 'upper' or a.k.a. 'pure fresh air,' - it was believed to be an all-spacetime filling field. They refer its effects as a 'transmissional medium'. The Aether hypothesis has come in numerous forms, through the multiple interpretations throughout history. The orthodox Aether Interpretation is that it is a physical force/medium that permeates every corner of spacetime thus indicating an influence on all materialistic bodies contained within all spacetime. Another result of Aether presents properties that give rise to the electric, magnetic and gravitational potentials, and also determines the propagating velocity of their effects.
It get's even more complex: it states that the propagating effects throughout all of the universe, are determined by the physical field of the Aether - which acts in a manor analogous to sound waves, such as the wave properties of a photon. Any developing propagation and potential effects within spacetime due to their velocities are viewed as having real effects. Thus, fundamental interactions depend on this Aether Force, in intrical ways. The rippling or propagation of the Force of Aether also presents time directionality, reflected in the 'Radiative Arrow’ - found in quantum evolution. Though, the effect in velocities predicted by Aether indicates the possibility in the answering of matter formations, and the age discrepancies that haunt our observations of galactic formations. This is as elementary as i can express it: Aether is a physically-interactive force field which acts as a mediator throughout all universal bodies - even between them in the vast Intergalactic Cosmological Medium - and like all 'mediums', if it exists, as i believe it does, must have fundamental attributes consisting of a pressure, a tension, a mass density and temperature.
Aether, as controversial as it has become to be known in the academic world, has played, as i believe, one of the biggest roles in the developing theories of the equally controversial quantum mechanics. And this is why: During the 19th century, the most elementary fundamental forces where known as electrical, magnetical and 'luminous' phenomena. By unifying these fundamental characteristics, brought with it new modes of theories... integrating the fields of force into a single network.
The Preferred Model of Aether Theory
Thus, the attention during the 19th century was focused on the fundamental interaction of electromagnetic phenomena. It was in fact assumed for a while by the majority of the physicists of that era that 'ponderable' matter, consistent of having what is called 'rest value,' and 'inertia', was inexorably differential, that was 'somehow' meshed, or, enveloped through the permeating, all-space and all-time Aether. Now, some strange conclusions can be made here. If the above is correct, this interpretation states that an object must literally 'plow' through the Aether. If it 'plows' through the Aether, it then must also drag the fabric of Aether along its trajectory.
If the hypothetical object does not move the distribution of pressure exerted by the strange Aether, means that it is equally proportional in all directions! A function coined by scientists as (isotropic). It has also come to be more widely known as the 'Rest Frame of The Aether.' Thought indicated that the measure of matter in motion through this Aether Field was highly important. One way to measure such an effect would be found in the momentum of the Earth, which was considered to be suffice in magnitude, that its speed was determinable. Thus a physicist called Albert Michelson in 1881 set out to find the tail whip of the Aether wind as earth ploughed through it.
The Test of Matter in Motion Through The Aether
Michelson solved the question to this, through experimental tests, that, unfortunately resulted in 'the Big Goose Egg,' - 'absolute nada'. Again, it was repeated in 1887, this time counterparted with physicist Edward Morley, and their experiment became to be known as the 'Michelson-Morley Experiment.' However, even this revived experiment proved fruitless! It basically meant at the time, that the positive results predicted by the ‘Preferred Model,’ were not conclusive with the predicted results.
So How Should Matter in Aether Be Viewed?
Well, science informs us that any medium would itself react to any movement of a physical meshed object, the postulate of a static Aether is also assumed to be flawed. However, ways around this can be evaluated. The 'classic way' to describe the following, is that, whenever you swirl your hand in water, and if the medium has any viscosity, it will experience a 'dragging effect', thus can be now imagined to cause a circular motion - a bit like the way a Black Hole itself drags space and time with it... However, as the time variables increase, so does the relative speed and drag between the body and the medium. This results the overall magnitude to be equally dependant on the 'value of viscosity', which relentlessly leads to many variants of the Aether theory and the momentum of matter through it. These lead to 'Coefficient Theories,' and principles for how all Bradyonic matter should interact with the Luxen particle of light. The progressive evolution in Aether theories has paradoxically made our search rather difficult, as they open 'too many doors', making any initial theory almost invalid to make any self-assured predictions.
Quantum Mechanics and Aether Theory
Quantum Mechanics, as you will undoubtedly know, is used to interpret the function of matter at the fundamental level. We see this as all arising from the vacuum, like the spontaneous bubbling of electrons and antielectrons out of the Dirac Sea whenever there is enough energy present. Remember, the Dirac Sea is packed full with negative particles. Matter must come out of the vacuum, and create two distinct forms of longer-lived spacetime distortional fluctuations; a particle and its antipartner. This was called by physicist J. A Wheeler as quantum foam. These fluctuations arise out of a spatial coordinate - this size is 1.616 x 30^-33, which is the smallest known 'box' of space. The fluctuations also arise out of the smallest time possible, called the ‘Planck Time,' which is 5.391 x 10^-44 seconds. It is here, in this infinitesimal unit of space that releases an enormous amount of virtual energy in the quickest time possible! On this small level, space and time literally forces these spontaneous rapid releases of quantum bubbles of energy/gas that breaks into a particle and its antiparticle. Thus, Quantum Theory might itself be indicating an equivalence with 'zero-point energy field,' that may be the shadow of a particulate Aether.
There are simply some aspects about the Aether field that we simply ‘just need’. There are many more theories about the Aether though which are very controversial such as The Einstein-Aether Theories… And all this originally stemmed from physicist Thomas Young’s experiment of a photons quantum wave. I don't think the Aether field will be solved any time soon – however, the Aether field is now gaining more and more interest. The reason why is because some scientists believe that dark energy might be linked to the Aether… And because we know so very little about dark energy, this has got the scientists very excited.