Letter | Published:

“The Principles of Magnetism and Electricity”

Nature volume 63, page 515 (28 March 1901) | Download Citation



THROUGH the courtesy of the Editor I am able to reply to the letter of Mr. Llewelyn B. Atkinson, in which he challenges two of my criticisms in the review of “The Principles of Magnetism and Electricity,” by Mr. P. L. Gray. Mr. Atkinson states that I “apparently imply” that measuring magnetic force in dynes, and difference of potential in ergs, is incorrect. To prevent any misconception, I now wish to state quite definitely that I regard the above method of measurement as hopelessly and absolutely wrong. If it be correct, then magnetic force is a quantity whose dimensions are identical with those of dynamical force, and difference of potential a quantity of the dimensions of energy. If Mr. Atkinson is satisfied with these conclusions, and is prepared to uphold them, I have no further remarks to offer on the subject. I may, however, point out that measuring difference of potential in ergs is about as logical a proceeding as measuring difference of (gravitational) level in ft.-lbs. Some eccentric people might, no doubt, be found to uphold this latter proceeding. But a falsehood does not become a truth merely because a number of people give their unreasoning assent to it.

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