2-41-3. Albert A. Michelson to H. Poincaré

June 29 1899

Cook’s Tourist Waiting Room

Ludgate Circus, London11 1 Michelson was in England to receive an honorary degree from Cambridge University (Livingston, 1973, 206).

My dear M. Poincaré,

This is just to call your attention to a reply to your letter which I published in “Nature” — by Mr. Love, June 1st I think.22 2 In his letter to the editor of Nature, published 01.06.1899, Love (1899) ignored Gibbs’ second letter (1899), and banked on the ambiguity of Poincaré’s letter to Michelson (§ 2-41-1): M. Poincaré …does not assert that the sum of the series can be obtained by allowing x to approach zero and n to increase at the same time, in such a way that nx remains finite; but he states that Prof. Michelson is perfectly right in contending that the result of this process is indeterminate. So far as I am aware this contention has not been called in question in the course of the discussion.

It is written in his characteristic way and I trust you will think it worth while to send a reply.

My own impression is that he knows he is upholding a “forlorn hope.”

Cordially yours,

A. A. Michelson

ALS 2p. Private collection, Paris 75017.

Time-stamp: "19.06.2016 22:39"


  • J. W. Gibbs (1899) Fourier’s series. Nature 59, pp. 606. External Links: Link Cited by: footnote 2.
  • D. M. Livingston (1973) The Master of Light: A Biography of Albert A. Michelson. Charles Scribner’s, New York. Cited by: footnote 1.
  • A. E. H. Love (1899) Fourier’s series. Nature 60, pp. 100–101. External Links: Link Cited by: footnote 2.