Quote Mined Einstein Statement

In 1922, Albert Einstein gave the speech “How I Created the Theory of Relativity” at Kyoto University. Flat-Earthers took a sentence fragment from his speech and quoted him out of context. It became a hoax as if Einstein believed a stationary Earth.

By reading the entire paragraph to understand the context, it is clear that Einstein did not mean Earth is stationary. He understands that Earth is in motion around the Sun.

Sagnac Effect

The Sagnac effect occurs to a pair of light beams traveling in a circuit in the opposite direction. If the circuit itself is rotating, then the beams will complete the circuit in different duration. The effect was first demonstrated by Georges Sagnac in 1913.

After discovering this effect, Sagnac incorrectly used the results as proof of the aether’s existence, and today’s flat-Earthers use it as “evidence” of stationary Earth. In reality, Sagnac was not aware that the effect is consistent with Einstein’s theory of relativity. And if the effect really proved aether, then optical gyroscopes are impossible.

The Sagnac effect is used as the basis of optical gyroscopes, including fiber-optic gyroscopes and ring-laser gyroscopes. In an optical gyroscope, a pair of light beams are made to travel in a circuit in the opposite direction. Because light travels at a constant speed, irrespective of the transmitter’s speed, then if the gyroscope is rotated, a beam of light will complete the circuit sooner than the other. From the difference, we can measure the rotating motion of the gyroscope.

Airy’s Failure

Airy’s Failure was an experiment performed in 1871 in which Sir George Biddell Airy failed to confirm the aether theory by measuring stellar aberration. The phenomenon of stellar aberration, in itself, was the first direct evidence of Earth’s motion around the sun.

Flat-Earthers claim that the “failure” in “Airy’s Failure” is the failure of proving the motion of Earth. In reality, the experiment aimed to confirm the aether theory. The “failure” was in proving the aether theory. The experiment relied on the already accepted knowledge that Earth is in orbit around the sun.

The Aether Experiments are Never Evidence of Flat and Stationary Earth

Aether was the hypothetical material that fills the region of space. It was assumed to be the medium that allows light and gravity to propagate in space. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, some experiments were carried out to prove if the aether exists.

Flat-Earthers (and geocentrists alike) often use the results of these experiments to support their case that the Earth is stationary. But they are wrong. These experiments were conducted to prove if the Aether theory, or if one of its competing hypotheses —like the Special Relativity— better explains reality.