3-36-1. George William Myers to H. Poincaré

Sept. 24, 1901

Chicago Ills. U.S.A. – 6026 Monroe Ave.

Chicago University — William R. Harper, President11 1 The letterhead is barred; the original version reads: “Chicago Institute — Academic and Pedagogic — Francis Wayland Parker, President”.

Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics — School of Education

Mr. H. Poincaré, Paris France

My dear Sir:

You have perhaps noticed in Professor André’s book entitled “Traité d’astronomie stellaire” Vol II p 303 that my discussions of β Lyræ and U Pegasi both seem to point to a concrete confirmation of your excellent work on rotating liquids.22 2 Poincaré’s review of the second volume of André’s treatise appeared in the January issue of the Bulletin astronomique, a journal of which he was editor-in-chief. The passage from André’s Traité alluded to by Myers reads as follows: Le système binaire de β Lyre constitue …un cas absolument remarquable: …ses deux composantes sont presque en contact l’une avec l’autre.
Il est d’ailleurs probable que le système de U Pégase lui est fort analogue, mais avec un contact plus assuré des deux composantes.
Avec d’aussi faibles densités moyennes, ces deux systèmes sont probablement encore à l’état nébuleux; leurs atmosphères se confondent et, se mêlant à une certaine distance des noyaux stellaires, se distribuent en surfaces équipotentielles différant de plus en plus de la forme sphérique et affectant les formes si bien étudiées par l’éminent géomètre Poincaré. (André 1900, 303)
In his detailed review, Poincaré agreed with André’s assessment of β Lyræ, referring to it as a type of emerging binary system (Poincaré 1901, 44).
I am now curious to see if by computing light curves based upon any of your other theoretical forms – perhaps the apiodal – I may be able to represent the light curves of any other variables. To this end I write to enquire whether you can put into my hands a copy of the paper containing your discussion, or discussions, of your various forms of rotating liquid masses in equilibrium. If you can do so, you will greatly oblige me and help me, perhaps, to accomplish something which may be of interest to you as furnishing tangible proof of the existence in the universe of such equilibrium forms as your matchless pen has proved possible.

Most respectfully yours,

G. W. Myers

ALS 1p. Private collection, Paris 75017.

Time-stamp: "18.01.2016 01:26"


  • C. André (1900) Traité d’astronomie stellaire, Volume 2. Gauthier-Villars, Paris. External Links: Link Cited by: footnote 2.
  • H. Poincaré (1901) André, Traité d’astronomie stellaire, 2e partie. Bulletin astronomique 18 (1), pp. 42–45. External Links: Link Cited by: footnote 2.