10/01/09 Dear Dale,
ok, I've been following up on Fitzgerald and have corresponded with 2 Irish professors who have written respectively a Memorial lecture and a book on him.
He was a distinguished Irish professor 1851-1901, specializing in electromagnetic theory & physics, an innovator, with a leaning towards practical application - e.g. he once had students at Trinity College Dublin tow him along in an early flying machine!
He was interested in the Ether, and as a result of the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment he went on to develop what became known as the 'Fitzgerald-Lorentz Contraction' which provided an explanation of Michelson-Morley. The 'Contraction' was an early aspect of Relativity theory which Einstein went on to develop of course later on.
We are not 100% certain of the authorship because this article (Ether and Its Functions) seemingly does not appear in a list of his publications, but how many other Prof. George Fitzgerald's would have been writing on the Ether in 1895? His practical bent makes it not at all surprising that he should have delivered this lecture to an Engineering College.
The article was delivered and published in 1895, it refers to an event 'last year' which I have confirmed occurred in 1894. So no doubt about the date.
So, its pretty certain that the middle name 'Frazer' instead of Francis is just a typo at the time, and of course I cannot actually find any record of 'Frazer'. I would go with the author being Prof. George Francis Fitzgerald.
Best wishes, David.