Manuscript & Correspondence Archive

Description: Handwritten letter from A. C. Gifford to T. J. J. See
Keywords: Aetheron | Mathematics | Maxwell | Bolide | Eyewitness
Letterhead: -
Date: 19 January 1945
Language: English
Dimensions:
Remarks: 3 pages + envelope.
Acquisition date: 2011
Copyright: A. C. Gifford
Source: The Tricottet Collection Manuscript & Correspondence Archive


A. C. Gifford T. J. J. See bolide eyewitness letter
A. C. Gifford T. J. J. See bolide eyewitness letter A. C. Gifford T. J. J. See bolide eyewitness letter A. C. Gifford T. J. J. See bolide eyewitness envelope

"Tirohanga"
Silverstream
Wellington
Jan 19th 1945

Dear Professor See

Many thanks for your letter of Dec 6th which reached me a week ago, & for so kindly sending me a copy of Book VII which has not yet arrived. I will let you know as soon as it comes.

I am still going on with your 1917 and 1922 volumes, and have lent a copy of the 1922 one to S. H. Jenkinson author of "Science in New Zealand."

A point I haven't come to yet is this. The pressure due to the bombardment of the molecules in air is greater than that due to waves of sound. On the same way must not the pressure due to the bombardment of aetherons be greater than that due to their waves. If the waves produce gravitation what does the bombardment of aetherons do? You may have dealt with this in points I have not read.

I cannot remember whether I have asked you whether you have published a short statement of all your conclusions. I think one would be extremely useful. Many who would like to study the scientific questions are quite unable to tackle the mathematics you use. I know it frightens me. I went to Cambridge knowing only school mathematics and when the final tripos examination came I had covered only a small fraction of the syllabus and yet I was called 14th wrangler. This shows how extremely little most university men know.

What I am keen to know of your work is all about the aetherons. You tell at the beginning a good deal about their physical properties, but -- a statement without difficult demonstrations, of what you have concluded with regard to their cosmological effects would be of immense use.

I have got an old second hand copy of Maxwell's 1873 edition of M. & E. but haven't studied it. I haven't access to Weber's work. I can get the formula you give for f from that of V, but I don't know why the latter holds. I see Maxwell p. 429 and 428 with an extra factor 1/2 in the second terms. But please do not worry about explaining any of these details to me. The physical and cosmological actions of your aetherons are far more important.

We had a wonderful meteor on Dec 30th. I was fortunate I happened to be looking out of an open window. Suddenly the ground was all lighted up, with nothing to account for it. Then the meteor appeared from behind the roof of the house, looking 1 1\2 or twice the length of the Southern Cross, say about 9°.
It seemed when I saw it to be broken into several parts all joined by a luminous cloud and brilliantly coloured. As it passed on it crossed midway between K Orionis and Sirius and travelled almost parallel to the line joining K and α Orionis. Before it disappeared it had become foreshortened almost to a point 2 or 3 times the brightness of Venus.

When last I heard R.A. McIntosh Director of the Meteor Section of the N.Z.A.S. had received 400 reports. He calculates that it became visible at a height of 26 miles and travelled 345 miles from where it first shone before disappearing over the sea at a height of 12 miles. It shows it passed the coast. It was overtaking the earth and so had a relative speed of about 11 1/2 m.p.s only.
Its luminous coma occupied over half a minute but the trail persisted for fully 20 minutes. I think it was the finest I have ever seen.

Do you know "The Torch Bearers" by Alfred Noyes?

With greetings and all good wishes
yours very sincerely

A. C. Gifford

I am posting a few pamphlets.