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The Agora Laboratory and Class

Some History
January 2009

To be efficient, a systematic debate must be applied to the right fundamental problem in the field of interest, whether it be humanities- or science-related. For the case of light, we considered different experiments for many years. Finally, we settled on the experiment of light diffraction in the geometrical shadow, at large distances. Two reasons for this choice were that currently this experiment surprisingly lacks measured data, while at the same time it is the most relevant for evaluating the merits of the current understanding of light diffraction. We called this method and instrument "The Agora Lab and Class" (registered business name 1999, copyright 2003, non-profit organization 2004), and we have since updated the name to "Agora Lab for Class/Community," which better conveys its use. We have practiced over the last several years an intense debating and experimenting for light diffraction. As physicists and materials scientists working as researchers in different universities and institutes, we saw firsthand that in contrast with the regular individual scientific analysis oriented toward speed and economy, a powerful synthesis of issues and solutions is achieved by this method. We found that the basic concepts established hundreds of years ago definitely need reconsideration, and need to be replaced by more adequate new basic concepts. In the next three years, we want to demonstrate publicly this school around this experiment as a new and essential education-research method and instrument that insures a smooth, systematic redevelopment and replacement of those basic concepts that are frozen for a long time in science and society with new and more adequate basic concepts.

After 2002, there has been an effort on different levels to convince the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis to develop the ALC, with no success. Also unsuccessful was the attempt to publish in established journals. But in these last 7 years things have been changing fast in the understanding of the world, and we believe that now is the time to develop the ALC. For this purpose, we have developed our resources and are already able to conduct a public demonstration of the ALC for the case of light. We have built independently an experimental setup for over $12,000. In this experiment, we check the prediction of the current understanding of light diffraction (the electromagnetic theory), i.e. the dependence of the diffracted light on the laser beam thickness. The experiment is very difficult because the diffracted light is weak and varies very abruptly in the geometrical shadow, and hence, the experiment is expected to take another 1-2 years from now. Our current data seems to contradict the prediction of the electromagnetic theory. The interpretation of these new results and building a new understanding for light will require a longer time (about ten years), and looking for applications will be part of this future effort.


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