Talk:Albert A. Michelson

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According to one bio: Born in Strelno, Prussia (later Strzelno, Poland), son of a Jewish merchant, ...[1] To my view that means he was born in Prussia. We don't say that Julius Caesar was born in Italy, or that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Israel. Later political boundry changes shouldn't affect the name of the original place of birth. -Willmcw June 30, 2005 20:07 (UTC)

  • Hmmm ... I think that it helps the reader to get some idea of where a place is. Few will be familiar with historical geography though they probably are in the case of ancient Palestine and Rome. I think giving the original and contemporary locations is encyclopaedic. Like New Style and Old Style dates. Cutler June 30, 2005 22:50 (UTC)
    • I probably wasn't clear enough about that comment. My objection was to the edit that changed the lead sentence from: Albert Abraham Michelson, ...was a Prussian-born American physicist... to Albert Abraham Michelson, ...was a Polish-born American physicist.... I certainly don't object to listing both countries, as the article does later. Sorry for any confusion. Cheers, -Willmcw July 1, 2005 05:06 (UTC)

Not that I care, but it wasn't just "later Poland" and the example with Julius Caeasar is simply bad. Strzelno was Polish name before Prussians took over the area during partitions. It was still Poland, but part of Poland which was inside Prussia Szopen 13:43, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

read the Annus Mirabilis Papers. he knew ... the other paper cites it the same year!!!! 15:10, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Albert Michelson was a Prussian Jew. He spoke German.

I speak Japanese and I'm British. What's your point, deutscher wanker. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:56, August 30, 2007 (UTC)

Objecting to refering Michelson as "German-American"[edit]

As a descent to a Jewish family which is "Prussian" I can tell that not only Jews that were born in Germany spoke German, but also Jews which were born in Austria and Switzerland, and not only them-But many Hungarian as well as Romanian and Czech Jews (and etc)-and, yes, German speaking Polish Jews are not uncommon, especially if their occupation was like this of Michelson father and were born in places which were under Prussian occupation (it doesn't mean that somebody who was born there is a "German" in the same way that some body who were born in Libya under the Italian occupation wasn't an Italian). If someone is speaking German it dosn't mean that he/she is actually a German (actually, Yiddish, which was, for centuries, the primary language for most of the Jews all around Europe is originally made of ancient German language) in the same way that a Jamaican English speaker is not an American /British by his nationality or by his ethnic Identity.Polish-born (optionally :Jewish)-American scientist is much accurate formulation.Michelson wasnt a German by his residence nor by his birth place or by his ancestry (i.e he was an Ashkenazi Jew, so he "had" historical roots in Germany in the same way that , lets say, Richard Feynman, which his parents were Jews from Russia, had ;Actully, as one might notice, most of the Askenazi Jews have a German surname), so I cant find even one good reason to refer Michelson as "German", in fact, its a very bad style.--Gilisa 08:22, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

It´s not up to wiki to find good reasons, that woud be OR. |Britannica´s guide to nobel prizes calls him German-born, here [2] he´s called German-American. -- (talk) 22:54, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Missing the Point[edit]

I'm afraid user Gilisa is missing the point. It doesn't go around, that someone speaks german or not, it goes around, if the area in question is claimed by a nation or not. Therefore this topic is a controversial. One knows the boundaries of Mitteleurope were constantly changing ("territories" were always "occupied" by its neighbour.) Also, jiddisch is no more a different language from high german as bairisch or badisch is from german. Even this differentiation really goes around the same sort of claiming (or us-versus-them). So the conclusion "in fact, it's very bad style" shows itself to be somewhat biased.


Historic Irony[edit]

"If in the future you will give less attention to scientific matters and more attention to your naval gunnery, there may come a time when you will know enough to be of some service to your country." -Rear Admiral David D. Porter, US Civil War hero and Naval Academy Superintendent, upon a review of Michelson's performance at the Naval Academy

Nationality Polish?[edit]

He was born in Prussia, and lived in America since he was three. I see no claim for polish nationality, Poland didn't exist for most of his lifetime, and he certainly never lived in a Polish state. I'm putting it as American. (Lucas(CA) 17:35, 6 October 2007 (UTC))

Michelson moved to America from a point now in Poland when he was two and some months. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
He might have had American nationality legally. Some sources and proof are needed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:31, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:01, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


From article: Despite his family being Jewish by birth, his family were non-religious.

The use of "were" is the British method of treating a collective noun. American usage would be "was" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

I have improved the phrasing of the two sentences: from "Despite his family being Jewish by birth, his family was non-religious. Throughout Michelson's life, he was a lifelong agnostic." to "His family was Jewish by birth but non-religious, and Michelson himself was a lifelong agnostic."

I did this to remove repetition of family in the first sentence. In the second, we only need one life. If he was not an agnostic throughout his life, then clearly he would not have been a lifelong agnostic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Harmonic analyzer[edit]

This (see probably deserves a mention. Snori (talk) 08:37, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

The four videos mentioned in this article are on Wiki Commons. I cannot upload and link to then because I created them! That's a conflict of interest by the rules (or better the "spirit") of wikipedia. The full list is here: Video 1:; Video 2:,_springs_and_levers_to_add_sines_and_cosines.webm; video 3:; video 4:

... Bill Hammack Hammack 2017-03-15  —Preceding undated comment added 15:08, 15 March 2017 (UTC) 

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Albert A. Michelson/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Alberto Abraham Michelson whas a Polish jew, he had a cousin, also Abraham Michelson, polish who had among other children, Faiga (Fela) who maried Rafael Groswirt after emigrating to Mexico, then in 1931, when Alberto Abraham Michelzon died, they had a son they named Abraham Alberto in honor of Alberto Abraham in Nov, 1931, a few momths after he died.

Substituted at 18:07, 17 July 2016 (UTC)