George Francis FitzGerald (August 3, 1851 – February 22, 1901) was an Irish professor of "natural and experimental philosophy" (that is, physics) at Trinity College, Dublin, in the late nineteenth century. He postulated an alteration in the length of a moving body in the direction of motion—a postulate that became known as the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction. He was also the first to suggest equipment and methods capable of generating electromagnetic waves. He postulated that the speed of light is the maximum that can be achieved, 15 years before Einstein made a similar proposal the basis for his theory of relativity. It appears, however, that he was not well organized in his research, which may have prevented him from developing a detector of radio waves, despite his five-year lead over Heinrich Hertz who later accomplished the task.
From a Unification perspective, several points can be made:
- FitzGerald's brilliant mental capabilities were linked to his God-given spiritual dimension, and also reflected the Creator's intelligence and capabilities. Such capabilities set the human species apart from all other species on Earth. The human desire to engage in scientific and other intellectual pursuits, regardless of their practical benefits, demonstrates that their lives can transcend the day-to-day, survival mode. Moreover, long-term happiness is linked to going beyond that survival mode.
- God's desire is that all people express brilliance of mind far beyond what is thought of as normally possible. The deliberate separation from God has dulled the human spirit and mind, and people have been trapped into lowering their expectations, in the belief that where they are at (internally) is where they are supposed to be and will always be.
- God works through prepared human beings to raise thoughts and standards of life. Thus, leading scientists and mathematicians (such as FitzGerald), as well as major religious leaders, have received inspirations that elevated understanding of the world around.
- Despite his mental brilliance, FitzGerald appears to have been lacking in organizational skills, which prevented him from accomplishing as much as he could have. Thus, accomplishments in life depend not only on talent, but also on the cultivation and practice of certain skills and self-discipline. This applies not only to accomplishments in the external, physical realm but also to the internal, spiritual growth, which depends on cultivating our connection with God and expressing love toward fellow human beings.
- FitzGerald's scientific contributions became a service to humanity. As the Unification principle points out, when one lives for the sake of others, they substantiate the divine nature God has given humanity. Based on that, people can establish a world of peace that all humanity can benefit from.