George Francis Fitzgerald

Life
1851-1901; natural philosopher; ed. TCD; Senior Fellow of TCD; Erasmus Smith Professor; FRS; Pres. Physical Society; carried out successful gliding experiments in College Park; prominent in Irish educational affairs; Scientific Writings ed. Sir Joseph Larmour (1902). ODNB

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Commentary
J. C. Kelly-Rogers, ‘Aviation in Ireland - 1784 to 1922’, Éire-Ireland, 6, 2 (Summer 1971), pp.3-17 notes that Fitzgerald carried out gliding experiments in College Park, using a glider of the Otto Lilienthal type, in 1895. ‘Pictures show the glider hovering successfully in tethered flight but his own efforts to fly were, regretfully, unsuccessful. Using a platform erected by the Nassau Street rail-(p.5)ings of the Park, and helped by tow ropes hauled on by the students, he made many attempts to launch himself into the air. Photographs show him coatless, but still wearing his top hat, running at high speed across College Park in his fruitless endeavors to become airborne. The glider hung in the College Museum until it was accidentally consumed by fire.’ (p.6)

Roy Johnston, ‘Godless Colleges and Non-Persons’, Causeway 1 (Autumn 1993), pp.36-38, notes that Fitzgerald was Professor of Nat. Phil., TCD, from 1881, and contributed to international controversy on electromagnetic theory involving Mazwel and Hertz. [bibl. B. J. Hunt, of Smithsonian Inst., address to RIA, bicentenary symposium, 1985, and James O’Hara of Hamburg].

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