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Ether, begins with the ancient Greeks. Cosmology. The history of the ether begins with the ancient Greeks, for whom it was the crystal element with which it was made the universe. Aristotle gave a systematic treatment, remained prevalent in the West, arguing that the ether was the essence of the celestial world, and set it apart from the four essences of which believed the terrestrial world composed, layered down in the fire, air, water and finally ground. Aristotle believed that the ether was eternal, immutable, weightless and transparent; own for eternity and immobility of the ether, the cosmos was an unchanging place, or at least subject to regular changes, as opposed to the Earth, a place of constant change. Ether, in fact, he attributed to the nature of circular motion, which then came into contact with the other four elements came corruptly becoming straight.
While thus the fixed stars, embedded in the firmament of heaven, pursued their end in one motion, precisely through the uniform circular motion, the other planets closer to Earth the realized gradually by means of several movements. The Sun and the other planets were also made of Ether, and considered by Aristotle real living beings with souls, coinciding with the gods of Greek mythology.
The ether was also something thick for him that permeated all the heavenly places, in which, therefore, there was no empty space. Following the nature of the ether continued to be discussed by the Stoic, Neoplatonic, Muslim philosophers, and then by the medieval scholastics, and in opposition to mechanism Democritean, who admitted the existence of the vacuum, it was understood as the universal medium that filled the space, through which everything was propagated, and all were logged in unity. Similar concepts were expressed in the Renaissance by Luca Pacioli, Neo-Platonist of the sixteenth century, for which the ether also involves mathematical and geometric structures of the universe: according to Pacioli, which aligned itself in this way to Plato, the sky, ie the fifth element, had the shape of a dodecahedron, perfect structure according to the scholar.
The ancient concept of ether as a substance permeating the cosmos, was revived early nineteenth century with the rise of the wave theory of Young and Fresnel light, as opposed to the corpuscular Newton, for the need to postulate half material in which the light could propagate, as well as the sound, propagates through the air. Coming now conceived as wave, rather than as a body, the light could not spread in a vacuum. Later, Albert Einstein, with his theory of relativity, will eliminate from science this conception of the ether, at least in its rough appearance, but in fact replacing it with a new view of space with specific physical properties which exclude the possibility of an absolute vacuum.
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