Aether has a long history. 2,300 years ago, Aristotle proposed aether as a divine substance that makes up the heavenly spheres and bodies. Aether was the 5th element; the basic 4 being earth, water, fire, and air.
As physics solidified through the centuries aether held its own, being the medium by which electromagnetism propagated and through which light traveled.
The concept of luminiferous aether had its heyday in the 19th century. Particularly popular with British physicists and mathematicians was the Victorian Theory of Everything, whereby every atom was soaked in aether. Lord Kelvin developed the Vortex Theory, based upon mathematical knots, whereby atoms were vortices in the aether.
There can be no doubt that the interplanetary and interstellar spaces are occupied by a substance. ~ James Clerk Maxwell on cosmic aether in 1870
In 1887, American scientists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley set out to show the aether flow by measuring light patterns. In one of the most famous failed experiments of all time, the aether wind didn’t blow. Nevertheless, the Michelson-Morley experiment shed some light for Albert Einstein, who came up with special relativity in its wake.
With the holographic principle, the aether is back, though shrunk to a fantastically flimsy sheet in a 3D universe, with information digitally tucked away in a fluctuating foam, with the bits miraculously shorter than Planck length, which is the theoretical limit of spatial measurement. (An electron is 1015 larger than Planck length.) Foam at this resolution is eminently convenient, as it puts any prospect of proof out of reach.
At Planck length, the structure of spacetime becomes dominated by quantum effects. It is theoretically impossible to determine the difference between 2 locations less than 1 Planck length apart.
The human imagination incessantly demonstrates that actuality is no bar to abstraction. Freewheeling minds roam all the way to the foam, where physics gives way to Dada philosophy.
At a very, very small scale, there are these little foamlike fluctuations. ~ American astronomer Nicholas Suntzeff