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George Francis Fitzgerald

by Denis Weaire (Editor)

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Living Edition
Price: €25.00 (+P&P)

Denis Weaire FRS, one of Fitzgerald’s successors as Erasmus Smith Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin, has gathered together a wealth of information and critical comment on one of the 19th century’s most imaginative and inspiring physicists.

It includes five essays originally commissioned by Weaire for the European Review, together with notes on Fitzgerald's publications and other records of his career. The list of his papers extends far beyond the supposedly complete Scientific Writings edited by Joseph Larmor, so they may fairly be described as brief but hardly sparse. But his chief influence remains to be found in his correspondence. This publication coincides with the opening up of the Fitzgerald Correspondence by the Royal Dublin Society to the wider world of scholarship, through Web access. It is an extraordinary record of the “invisible college” that centred on Fitzgerald, not just in electromagnetic theory, the invention of radio and the early hints of relativity, but over a wide range of pure and applied science.

George Francis Fitzgerald (1851-1901) was the leader of the Maxwellians, who supported and applied Maxwell’s electromagnetism. He was a towering figure in physics, but was neglectful of his own reputation, so his many contributions are poorly appreciated - in the birth of radio communication, in early ideas about relativistic effects, and much else. This book, together with his extensive correspondence, held by the Royal Dublin Society, can be used to delve into his extraordinary career.

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