Frequently asked questions
- What are the objectives of the website?
- How do I access the transcriptions and images from the main page?
- I found an error! Who should I tell about it?
- Who is behind the website?
- Who pays the bills?
- Who is responsible for the website content?
- What is the source used for the transcriptions?
- What is your transcription policy?
- The transcriptions look strange. How do I configure my browser to get the right display?
- The transcriptions are displayed (partially or wholly) as code. How do I fix this?
- How can I make the digitized image fit on one printed page?
- Will all the letters be transcribed?
- How often is content updated?
- Who owns the copyright?
- How do I cite the documents on the website?
- Who did the annotation?
- Have the documents on the website appeared elsewhere?
- How is the website generated?
- Are there any websites similar to this one?
- What are the objectives of the website? The Henri Poincaré Papers website aims to facilitate scholarly access to Poincaré's works. Launched at the University of Nancy 2 in 2002 by Scott A. Walter, the site was ported to a server at Nantes University in June of 2016, and is updated regularly.
- How do I access the transcriptions and images? There are three methods available, two of which are accessible under the "Correspondance et Varia" banner. Choose "Inventaire" to use a search form, or "Édition" to get a listing by volume. The third method covers all the documents of interest, including images, via document metadata and full-text hashes. This method requires entry of a term (or several terms) in the search box located in the upper-right-hand corner. Results of the search are returned according to the document class (publications, correspondence, varia, reports on doctoral theses, biographical notices, commentary), with a maximum of 100 documents. Conjunction is implicit, and search terms may include year numbers, as in "hertz (1890 | 1891)", which is a conjuction of "hertz" with the disjunction of the two years, such that the result set contains all documents featuring the word "hertz" and at least one of the years "1890" or "1891". To refine a result set, combine search terms with Boolean operators [ | - ! ( ) ], or use the Extended Query Syntax. The full-text search component is morphological, based on rules of French grammar. Case and accents are ignored.
- I found an error! Whom should I tell about it? Any and all errors, be they big or small, should be communicated to the website editor. We greatly appreciate help in identifying stale links (in particular), as external link targets (for example, to publications on external servers) tend to evolve without our knowledge.
- Who is behind the website? The Henri Poincaré Papers website is the result of three decades of work by students, scholars, and staff affiliated with the Henri Poincaré Archives in Nancy, and the Atlantic Center for Philosophy (CAPHI) in Nantes. The transcriptions were established with the collaboration of the following scholars: É. Bolmont, O. Bruneau, A. Coret, A. Csiszar, A. Gharnati, G. Heinzmann, Ph. Henry, C. Jullien, Ph. Katz, R. Krömer, A. Moktefi, Ph. Nabonnand, L. Rollet, M. Schiavon, T. Volpe, and S. Walter. Editorial assistance was provided by S. Aksin, P.-E. Bour, C. Clozza, P. Doh, M.-C. Duchenne, S. Hannaire, A. Husson, S. Jokulsson, A. Klein, M. Lagarde, R. Nazin, G. Schuppert, M. Sakhri, and A. Tiusan. The website was designed by S.A. Walter, and realized by S.A. Walter and P. Couchet.
- Who pays the bills? The Poincaré Papers Project has received generous funding and support from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Project Corpus-2006: SSM20: Sources of mathematical knowledge in the early 20th century), the Lorraine Region, the Urban Community of Greater Nancy, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Nantes University, the University of Lorraine, and the Atlantic Center for Philosophy. The website is hosted by Nantes University.
- Who is responsible for the website content? Scott A. Walter edits the Henri Poincaré Papers website; please direct your comments, queries, complaints, and suggestions to him.
- What is the source used for the transcriptions? The source of every transcribed document is displayed immediately following the content, in boldface. Over the years, Henri Poincaré Papers has benefited from the generous collaboration of many scholars willing to share the results of research gleaned from public and private archives. A great number of letter photocopies were collected by Pierre Dugac and donated to the Poincaré Archives. This collection was exploited by Dugac for his edition of a selection of letters published in the Cahiers du séminaire d'histoire des mathématiques, Volumes 7 (1986) and 10 (1989). Other scholars have supported the transcription project, as indicated in the following list, where the correspondent's name (or the object transcribed) appears in parentheses: Patrice Bret (A. Gauthier-Villars, Paul Vieille), Alain Chenciner (E. Flammarion), Alex Csiszar (D'Ocagne, Felix Klein), Ahmed Gharnati (Darwin), Thomas Marcou (1882 manuscript) David E. Rowe (Felix Klein), Oliver Schlaudt (Dingler), Rossana Tazzioli (Guccia).
- What is your transcription policy? Paragraph breaks are always reproduced when indicated unambiguously in the MS; otherwise, breaks are introduced at the editor's discretion. Transcriptions are diplomatic: spelling errors are silently corrected, and variants neglected at the editor's discretion. At the discretion of the editors, textual variants are indicated in the notes, where struck-out passages are reproduced with strikeouts. Document type is indicated at the end of each transcription in boldface, followed by information about its location. A list of document codes is provided here.
- The transcriptions look strange. How do I configure my browser to get the right display? Some adjustment to your browser may be required in order to render symbols and accented characters correctly. All pages employ unicode character encoding (UTF-8), so you should verify that your browser is configured to render this encoding. You may also need to acquire fonts. For Debian users, the mathematica-fonts package is recommended. Math symbols are represented using MathML; for configuration of Firefox or Mozilla, see the MathML in Mozilla page. For hints on the configuration of other browsers, see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For users of Internet Explo*er, a free plug-in is available from Design Science.
- Some mathematical formulas are displayed as LaTeX markup. How do I fix this? This is a browser problem. The transcriptions are coded in MathML, except in a few places where MathML fails, in which case we code in LaTeX and rely on MathJax for display. Try switching to a different browser, like Google Chrome, which requires no configuration. The iPad Chrome app renders MathML-encoded formulas. Other browsers may require a plug-in for display of MathML; a free plug-in is available from Design Science.
- How can I make the digitized image fit on one printed page? The images are scaled to fit on an A4 page. Margins can be adjusted in the page setup of your browser. Otherwise, you might try saving the image locally (by right-clicking), opening it with image-processing software (such as The Gimp), and printing it from there.
- Will all the letters be transcribed? Yes, all the letters will be transcribed. Poincaré's correspondence with G. Mittag-Leffler (Volume 1, 1999), with physicists, chemists, and engineers (Volume 2, 2007), and with astronomers and geodesists (Volume 3, 2016) has been transcribed in its entirety. The correspondence with mathematicians (Volume 4) and with non-scientists (Volume 6) will follow, by and by.
- How often is content updated? New transcriptions are added on a weekly basis, and existing transcriptions are corrected as part of the ongoing editorial process. Every transcription features a time stamp indicating the date of the most recent edit.
- Who owns the copyright? The images on this site were created from many sources. Most of the images were established from documents from one of the following four sources: the Archives of the Academy of Sciences (Paris), the Library of the Institute of France (Paris), the Nobel Archives of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Stockholm), and a private collection. A stamp on each image indicates the holder of copyright. Unauthorized reproduction of the images on this website is prohibited. All transcriptions and annotations on this website are subject to a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-ND 4.0).
- How do I cite the documents on the website?
There are two cases to consider. Digitized images
should be referenced according to the copyright on the image, for example:
- The Nobel Archives of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Letter transcriptions and editorial material should be referenced as follows:
- Scott A. Walter, ed., Henri Poincaré Papers, Doc. N-N-N, https://henripoincarepapers.univ-nantes.fr, accessed on YYYY-MM-DD.
- Who wrote the annotations?
The documents are the result of a collaborative, ongoing effort, such that precise attribution of authorship is pointless for the electronic edition. However,
the editors of the first paper edition (published by Birkhäuser) are easily identified, according to the following table:
Volume Editors Year of Publication 1 Philippe Nabonnand 1999 2 Scott A. Walter, ed., Étienne Bolmont & André Coret, ass. eds. 2007 3 Scott A. Walter, ed., Philippe Nabonnand, Ralf Krömer & Martina Schiavon, ass. eds. 2016 4 Philippe Nabonnand, ed.,Olivier Bruneau, Philippe Henry, Jean Mawhin, Klaus Volkert & Scott A. Walter, ass. eds. forthcoming 5 Laurent Rollet 2017 6 Laurent Rollet forthcoming
- Have the documents on the website appeared elsewhere? The documents held in a private Parisian collection were reproduced on microfilm (35mm, B/W) by A.I. Miller in the 1970s with support from the American Institute of Physics. This microfilm can be consulted at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives (College Park). A selection of Poincaré's correspondence with mathematicians was edited by P. Dugac in volumes 7 (1986) and 10 (1989) of the Cahiers du séminaire d'histoire des mathématiques. Some of these transcriptions have been verified and reedited on this website. Others will follow. A legacy site, last updated in 2019, is available via the Poincaré Archives (CNRS), along with a forked Omeka platform, which features transcriptions of Poincaré's family correspondence annotated by Laurent Rollet.
- Are there any websites similar to this one? Yes, indeed. A subset of Poincaré's correspondence may be consulted at the MPIWG-Berlin website. If you like reading Poincaré's letters, you will probably enjoy perusing those of his contemporary Arnold Sommerfeld, those of Charles Darwin, as well as Darwin's manuscripts, the letters of the great mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, the brilliant physicist André-Marie Ampère, or the 17th-century mathematicians and philosophers G.W. Leibniz and Isaac Newton.