The late Lord Salisbury defined the ether as the nominative of the verb to ‘undulate’ and at the time it was thought to probably be a wave function. The name chosen, however, was extremely unfortunate, to say the least.
Firstly Aether has its own meaning.
Secondly, Ether had already been used in physical science and as such had physical associations.
Because of its name and its association with the physical, scientists even spent some time trying to measure the ether, its speed with respect to the earth, its composition etc. Without much success.
By the 1900s the ether had largely been displaced by theories based on ‘extra dimensions’, but the concept of the ether never entirely disappeared in the minds of some scientists – even though none of them liked the name.
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