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Encyclopedia > James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell
Born June 13, 1831(1831-06-13)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died November 5, 1879 (aged 48)
Cambridge, England
Nationality Scottish
Field Mathematics, Physics
Alma mater University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge
Known for Maxwell's Equations, The Maxwell Distribution, Maxwell's Demon
Notable prizes Rumford Medal
Adams Prize

James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 18315 November 1879) was a Scottish mathematician and theoretical physicist. His most significant achievement was aggregating a set of equations in electricity, magnetism and inductance — eponymously named Maxwell's equations — including an important modification of Ampère's Circuital Law. It was the most unified model of electromagnetism yet. It is famous for introducing to the physics community a detailed model of light as an electromagnetic phenomenon, building upon the earlier hypothesis advanced by Faraday (Faraday Effect). Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links James_Clerk_Maxwell. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Edinburgh (disambiguation). ... This article is about the country. ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the city in England. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Scottish as an ethnic group. ... For other meanings of mathematics or uses of math and maths, see Mathematics (disambiguation) and Math (disambiguation). ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... For thermodynamic relations, see Maxwell relations. ... The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is a probability distribution with applications in physics and chemistry. ... Maxwells demon is an 1867 thought experiment by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, meant to raise questions about the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics. ... In 1796, Benjamin Thompson, known as Count Rumford, gave $5000 separately to the Royal Society of London and the other by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to give awards every two years for outstanding scientific research on heat or light. ... See also the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Society, and not to be confused with the Douglas Adams Prize for homourous writing The Adams Prize is awarded each year by the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and St Johns College to a young... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the country. ... Mathematical physics is the scientific discipline concerned with the application of mathematics to problems in physics and the development of mathematical methods suitable for such applications and for the formulation of physical theories. ... An eponym is the name of a person, whether real or fictitious, who has (or is thought to have) given rise to the name of a particular place, tribe, discovery, or other item. ... For thermodynamic relations, see Maxwell relations. ... Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field: a field which exerts a force on particles that possess the property of electric charge, and is in turn affected by the presence and motion of those particles. ... In physics, the Faraday effect or Faraday rotation is a magneto-optical phenomenon, or an interaction between light and a magnetic field. ...


He also developed the Maxwell distribution, a statistical means to describe aspects of the kinetic theory of gases. These two discoveries helped usher in the era of modern physics, laying the foundation for future work in such fields as special relativity and quantum mechanics. He is also known for creating the first true colour photograph in 1861. The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Kinetic theory or kinetic theory of gases attempts to explain macroscopic properties of gases, such as pressure, temperature, or volume, by considering their molecular composition and motion. ... Two-dimensional analogy of space-time curvature described in General Relativity. ... For a less technical and generally accessible introduction to the topic, see Introduction to quantum mechanics. ...


Maxwell demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space, in the form of waves, and at the constant speed of light. Finally, in 1861 Maxwell wrote a four-part publication in the Philosophical Magazine called On Physical Lines of Force where he first proposed that light was in fact undulations in the same medium that is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena. Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field: a field, encompassing all of space, composed of the electric field and the magnetic field. ... Magnetic field lines shown by iron filings Magnetostatics Electrodynamics Electrical Network Tensors in Relativity This box:      In physics, the magnetic field is a field that permeates space and which exerts a magnetic force on moving electric charges and magnetic dipoles. ... A WAVES Photographer 3rd Class The WAVES were a World War II era division of the U.S. Navy that consisted entirely of women. ... For other uses, see Light (disambiguation). ...


Maxwell is considered by many physicists to be the scientist of the nineteenth century most influential on twentieth century physics. His contributions to physics are considered by many to be of the same magnitude as those of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.[1] Sir Isaac Newton FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ... “Einstein” redirects here. ...

[The work of Maxwell] ... the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.

Albert Einstein, The Sunday Post[2] Sir Isaac Newton FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ... “Einstein” redirects here. ...

Contents

Biography

Early life and education

James Clerk Maxwell was born on 13 June 1831 in Edinburgh, to John Clerk Maxwell and Frances Maxwell (née Cay). His birthplace, at 14 India Street, is now the location of the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences. is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Edinburgh (disambiguation). ... The International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) is a mathematical research centre based in Edinburgh. ...


Maxwell married Katherine Mary Dewar when he aged 27. They had no children. He died in Cambridge of abdominal cancer at the age of 48. He had been a devout Christian his entire life. Maxwell is buried at Parton Kirk, near Castle Douglas in Galloway, Scotland. The village of Parton Parton is a village situated on the banks of the River Dee in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. ... For the castle in South Lanarkshire, see Douglas Castle Castle Douglas (Gd: Caisteal Dhùghlais), a town in the south of Scotland in Dumfries and Galloway, lies in the eastern part of Galloway known as the Stewartry, between the towns of Dalbeattie and Gatehouse of Fleet. ... Galloway (Scottish Gaelic, Gall-Ghàidhealaibh or Gallobha, Lowland Scots Gallowa) is an area in southwestern Scotland. ... This article is about the country. ...


Maxwell grew up on his father's estate in the Scottish countryside. He was encouraged by his father to pursue his scientific and mathematical interests. Maxwell entered college at the age of 16 and eventually graduated with high honours in mathematics. All indications suggest that Maxwell had maintained an unquenchable curiosity from an early age. By the age of three, everything that moved, shone, or made a noise drew the question: "what's the go o' that?".[3] In a letter to her sister Jane Cay in 1834, his mother describes this innate sense of inquisitiveness: An Estate comprises the houses and outbuildings and supporting farmland and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. ...

He is a very happy man, and has improved much since the weather got moderate; he has great work with doors, locks, keys, etc., and 'show me how it doos' is never out of his mouth. He also investigates the hidden course of streams and bell-wires, the way the water gets from the pond through the wall...[1]

Recognizing the potential of young Maxwell, his mother Frances took responsibility for his early education, which in Victorian times was largely the job of the women of the house. She became ill — probably with cancer — and died in 1839. His father, John Clerk Maxwell, undertook the education of his son, with the aid of his sister-in-law Jane Cay, both of whom played pivotal roles in the life of James. His formal education began, unsuccessfully, under the guidance of a hired tutor. Not much is known about the man James's father hired to instruct his son, except that he treated the younger Maxwell harshly. His educational philosophy was founded upon coercion, often physical. James never responded well to the tutor's instruction; he chided his student for being slow and wayward. After considerable searching, John Maxwell sent James to the Edinburgh Academy. His school nickname was "Daftie", earned when he arrived for his first day of school wearing home-made shoes. The Edinburgh Academy is an independent school. ...


Maxwell was captivated by geometry at an early age, rediscovering the regular polyhedra before any formal instruction. Much of his talent went unnoticed however, and his academic work remained unremarkable until, in 1845 at the age of 13, he won the school's mathematical medal, and first prizes for English and for English verse. For his first piece of original work, at the age of 14, Maxwell wrote a paper describing mechanical means of drawing mathematical curves with a piece of twine and properties of ellipses and curves with more than two foci. This work, Oval Curves, was published in an issue of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and although it shows the curiosity of Maxwell at a young age, it is important to note that the work itself was not mathematically profound. Unlike other great minds, such as Gauss, Pascal or Mozart, Maxwell was not a child prodigy. Rather, his genius would mature slowly. For other uses, see Geometry (disambiguation). ... This article is about the geometric shape. ... In mathematics, the concept of a curve tries to capture the intuitive idea of a geometrical one-dimensional and continuous object. ... A spool of twine. ... For other uses, see Ellipse (disambiguation). ... In geometry, the focus (pl. ... Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss or Gauß ( ; Latin: ) (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, electrostatics, astronomy, and optics. ... Blaise Pascal (pronounced ), (June 20 [[1624 // ]] – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ... “Mozart” redirects here. ... Wunderkind redirects here. ...


Middle years

A young Maxwell at university. He is holding the colour wheel which he invented.
A young Maxwell at university. He is holding the colour wheel which he invented.

Maxwell left the Academy and began attending class at the University of Edinburgh. Having the opportunity to attend Cambridge after his first term, Maxwell decided instead to complete the full three terms of his undergraduate studies at Edinburgh. The main reason for this was that Cambridge was too far from home, and he would only have the opportunity to see his father twice a year. Another reason was Maxwell's concern for his future. He wanted to become a scientist, but jobs in science were rare at this time, and it would have been much more difficult to obtain a lecturing post at a university as prestigious as Cambridge. Accordingly, Maxwell completed his studies at Edinburgh in natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and mental philosophy under Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet. In his eighteenth year he contributed two papers for the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh — one of which, On the Equilibrium of Elastic Solids, laid the foundation for an important discovery of his later life: the temporary double refraction produced in viscous liquids by shear stress. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In the arts of painting, and photography, color theory is a set of basic rules for mixing color to achieve a desired result. ... The Edinburgh Academy is an independent school. ... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature, known in Latin as philosophia naturalis, is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe that was regnant before the development of modern science. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... Sir William Hamilton, Bart (March 8, 1788 - May 6, 1856) was a Scottish metaphysician. ... The Royal Society of Edinburghs Building on the corner of George St. ... A calcite crystal laid upon a paper with some letters showing the double refraction Birefringence, or double refraction, is the division of a ray of light into two rays (the ordinary ray and the extraordinary ray) when it passes through certain types of material, such as calcite crystals, depending on... For other uses, see Viscosity (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Liquid (disambiguation). ... Shear stress is a stress state where the stress is parallel or tangential to a face of the material, as opposed to normal stress when the stress is perpendicular to the face. ...


In 1850, Maxwell left for Cambridge University and initially attended Peterhouse, but eventually left for Trinity College where he believed it was easier to obtain a fellowship. At Trinity, he was elected to the secret society known as the Cambridge Apostles. In November 1851, Maxwell studied under the tutor William Hopkins (nicknamed the "wrangler maker"). A considerable part of the translation of his electromagnetism equations was accomplished during Maxwell's career as an undergraduate in Trinity. The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... College name Peterhouse Named after Saint Peter Established 1284 Previously named The Scholars of the Bishop of Ely Saint Peter’s College Location Trumpington Street Admittance Men and women Master The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn Undergraduates 284 Graduates 130 Sister college Merton College, Oxford Official website Boat Club website Peterhouse... Full name The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity Motto Virtus vera nobilitas Virtue is true Nobility Named after The Holy Trinity Previous names King’s Hall and Michaelhouse (until merged in 1546) Established 1546 Sister College(s) Christ Church Master The Lord Rees of Ludlow Location Trinity Street... A fellow in its broadest sense is someone who is an equal or a comrade. ... Trinity College Great Court. ... William Hopkins (February 2, 1793 – October 13, 1866) was an English mathematician and geologist. ... At the University of Cambridge, a wrangler is a student who has completed the third year (called Part II) of the Mathematical Tripos with first-class honours. ...


In 1854, Maxwell graduated with a degree as second wrangler in mathematics from Trinity (i.e. scoring second-highest in the final mathematics examination) and was declared equal with the senior wrangler of his year in the more exacting ordeal of the Smith's prize examination. Immediately after taking his degree, he read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society a novel memoir, On the Transformation of Surfaces by Bending. This is one of the few purely mathematical papers he published, and it exhibited at once to experts the full genius of its author. About the same time, his elaborate memoir, On Faraday's Lines of Force appeared, in which he gave the first indication of some of the electrical investigations which culminated in the greatest work of his life. For other meanings of mathematics or uses of math and maths, see Mathematics (disambiguation) and Math (disambiguation). ... Michael Faraday, FRS (September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867) was an English chemist and physicist (or natural philosopher, in the terminology of that time) who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. ...

The first permanent colour photograph, taken by James Clerk Maxwell in 1861.
The first permanent colour photograph, taken by James Clerk Maxwell in 1861.

From 1855 to 1872, he published at intervals a series of valuable investigations connected with the Perception of Colour and Colour-Blindness, for the earlier of which he received the Rumford medal from the Royal Society in 1860. The instruments which he devised for these investigations were simple and convenient in use. For example, Maxwell's discs were used to compare a variable mixture of three primary colours with a sample colour by observing the spinning "colour top." In 1856, Maxwell was appointed to the chair of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College, Aberdeen, which he held until the fusion of Aberdeen's two colleges in 1860. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (831x1011, 145 KB) Summary Taken from A World History of Photography ISBN 0789203294 Tartan Ribbon, photograph taken by James Clerk Maxwell in 1861. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (831x1011, 145 KB) Summary Taken from A World History of Photography ISBN 0789203294 Tartan Ribbon, photograph taken by James Clerk Maxwell in 1861. ... In 1796, Benjamin Thompson, known as Count Rumford, gave $5000 separately to the Royal Society of London and the other by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to give awards every two years for outstanding scientific research on heat or light. ... Maxwells discs are a set of interlocking coloured discs which appear to be a single colour to the human eye when spun rapidly. ... Marschal College viewed from Upper Kirkgate Marischal College was founded in 1593 in Aberdeen by George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal of Scotland. ... This article is about the Scottish city. ...


In 1859, he won the Adams prize in Cambridge for an original essay, On the Stability of Saturn's Rings, in which he concluded the rings could not be completely solid or fluid. Maxwell demonstrated stability could ensue only if the rings consisted of numerous small solid particles, which he called "brickbats". He also mathematically disproved the nebular hypothesis (which stated that the solar system formed through the progressive condensation of a purely gaseous nebula), forcing the theory to account for additional portions of small solid particles. See also the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Society, and not to be confused with the Douglas Adams Prize for homourous writing The Adams Prize is awarded each year by the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and St Johns College to a young... A planetary disk forming in the Orion Nebula In this artists conception, of a planet spins through a clearing in a nearby stars dusty, planet-forming disc In cosmogony, the nebular hypothesis is the currently accepted argument about how Earths Solar System formed. ... This article is about the Solar System. ... For other uses, see Condensation (disambiguation). ... In astronomy, diffuse nebulae is the common term for both reflection nebulae and emission nebulae. ...


In 1860 he became a professor at King's College London. In 1861, Maxwell was elected to the Royal Society. He researched elastic solids and pure geometry during this time. For other uses, see Kings College. ... For other uses, see Royal Society (disambiguation). ... In solid mechanics, elasticity is the property of materials which undergo reversible deformations under applied loads. ... This box:      For other uses, see Solid (disambiguation). ...


Kinetic theory

Main article: Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution

One of Maxwell's greatest investigations was on the kinetic theory of gases. Originating with Daniel Bernoulli, this theory was advanced by the successive labours of John Herapath, John James Waterston, James Joule, and particularly Rudolf Clausius, to such an extent as to put its general accuracy beyond a doubt; but it received enormous development from Maxwell, who in this field appeared as an experimenter (on the laws of gaseous friction) as well as a mathematician. The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Daniel Bernoulli Daniel Bernoulli (February 8, 1700 – March 17, 1782) was a Dutch-born mathematician who spent much of his life in Basel, Switzerland where he died. ... John Herapath (May 30, 1790 - February 24, 1868) was an English physicist who gave a partial account of the kinetic theory of gases in 1820 though it was neglected by the scientific community at the time. ... John James Waterston (1811 - June 18, 1883) was a Scottish physicist, a neglected pioneer of the kinetic theory of gases. ... James Prescott Joule (December 24, 1818–October 11, 1889) was an English physicist, born in Salford, near Manchester. ... Rudolf Clausius - physicist and mathematician Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius (January 2, 1822 – August 24, 1888), was a German physicist and mathematician. ...


In 1865, Maxwell moved to the estate he inherited from his father in Glenlair, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. In 1868, he resigned his Chair of Physics and Astronomy at King's College, London. Glenlair House, near the village of Corsock in the Scottish Council area of Dumfries and Galloway, is most famous for having been the home of 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell. ... Kirkcudbrightshire (pronounced Kir-COO-bri-shir, also known as the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright or as East Galloway, and Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt in Gaelic) is a traditional county of south-western Scotland, bounded on the north and north-west by Ayrshire, on the west and southwest by Wigtownshire, on the south...


In 1866, he formulated statistically, independently of Ludwig Boltzmann, the Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic theory of gases. His formula, called the Maxwell distribution, gives the fraction of gas molecules moving at a specified velocity at any given temperature. In the kinetic theory, temperatures and heat involve only molecular movement. This approach generalized the previously established laws of thermodynamics and explained existing observations and experiments in a better way than had been achieved previously. Maxwell's work on thermodynamics led him to devise the thought experiment that came to be known as Maxwell's demon. Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (Vienna, Austrian Empire, February 20, 1844 – Duino near Trieste, September 5, 1906) was an Austrian physicist famous for his founding contributions in the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics. ... The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is a probability distribution with applications in physics and chemistry. ... Kinetic energy (also called vis viva, or living force) is energy possessed by a body by virtue of its motion. ... Thermodynamics (from the Greek θερμη, therme, meaning heat and δυναμις, dynamis, meaning power) is a branch of physics that studies the effects of changes in temperature, pressure, and volume on physical systems at the macroscopic scale by analyzing the collective motion of their particles using statistics. ... In philosophy, physics, and other fields, a thought experiment (from the German Gedankenexperiment) is an attempt to solve a problem using the power of human imagination. ... Maxwells demon is an 1867 thought experiment by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, meant to raise questions about the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics. ...


Electromagnetism

Main article: Maxwell's Equations
A postcard from Maxwell to Peter Tait.
A postcard from Maxwell to Peter Tait.

The greatest work of Maxwell's life was devoted to electricity. Maxwell's most important contribution was the extension and mathematical formulation of earlier work on electricity and magnetism by Michael Faraday, André-Marie Ampère, and others into a linked set of differential equations (originally, 20 equations in 20 variables, later re-expressed in quaternion- and vector-based notations). These equations, which are now collectively known as Maxwell's equations (or occasionally, "Maxwell's Wonderful Equations"), were first presented to the Royal Society in 1864, and together describe the behaviour and relation between electric and magnetic fields, as well as their interactions with matter. For thermodynamic relations, see Maxwell relations. ... Postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Peter Guthrie Tait. ... Postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Peter Guthrie Tait. ... Peter Tait Peter Guthrie Tait (April 28, 1831 - July 4, 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist. ... Electricity (from New Latin Ä“lectricus, amberlike) is a general term for a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. ... For other senses of this word, see magnetism (disambiguation). ... Michael Faraday, FRS (September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867) was an English chemist and physicist (or natural philosopher, in the terminology of that time) who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. ... André-Marie Ampère (January 20, 1775 – June 10, 1836), was a French physicist who is generally credited as one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism. ... Visualization of airflow into a duct modelled using the Navier-Stokes equations, a set of partial differential equations. ... In mathematics, the quaternions are a non-commutative extension of the complex numbers. ... This article is about vectors that have a particular relation to the spatial coordinates. ... For thermodynamic relations, see Maxwell relations. ... The electromagnetic field is a physical field that is produced by electrically charged objects and which affects the behaviour of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. ...


Maxwell showed that the equations predict the existence of waves of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that travel through empty space at a speed that could be predicted from simple electrical experiments; using the data available at the time, Maxwell obtained a velocity of 310,740,000 m/s. In his 1864 paper A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, Maxwell wrote, Lasers used for visual effects during a musical performance. ... This box:      Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is a self-propagating wave in space with electric and magnetic components. ... Metre per second (U.S. spelling: meter per second) is an SI derived unit of both speed (scalar) and velocity (vector), defined by distance in metres divided by time in seconds. ... A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field was the third of James Clerk Maxwells papers concerned with electromagnetism. ...

The agreement of the results seems to show that light and magnetism are affections of the same substance, and that light is an electromagnetic disturbance propagated through the field according to electromagnetic laws.

Maxwell was proved correct, and his quantitative connection between light and electromagnetism is considered one of the great triumphs of 19th century physics.


At that time, Maxwell believed that the propagation of light required a medium for the waves, dubbed the luminiferous aether. Over time, the existence of such a medium, permeating all space and yet apparently undetectable by mechanical means, proved more and more difficult to reconcile with experiments such as the Michelson-Morley experiment. Moreover, it seemed to require an absolute frame of reference in which the equations were valid, with the distasteful result that the equations changed form for a moving observer. These difficulties inspired Albert Einstein to formulate the theory of special relativity, and in the process Einstein dispensed with the requirement of a luminiferous aether. The luminiferous aether: it was hypothesised that the Earth moves through a medium of aether that carries light In the late 19th century the luminiferous aether (light-bearing aether), or ether, was a substance postulated to be the medium for the propagation of light. ... The Michelson-Morley experiment, one of the most important and famous experiments in the history of physics, was performed in 1887 by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University, and is considered by some to be the first strong evidence against the theory of... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... “Einstein” redirects here. ... For a less technical and generally accessible introduction to the topic, see Introduction to special relativity. ...


Control theory

Maxwell published a famous paper "On governors" in the Proceedings of Royal Society, vol. 16 (1867-1868). This paper is quite frequently considered a classical paper in the early days of control theory. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ...


Later years

James and Katherine Maxwell, 1869.
James and Katherine Maxwell, 1869.

Maxwell also made contributions to the area of optics and colour vision, being credited with the discovery that colour photographs could be formed using red, green, and blue filters. He had the photographer Thomas Sutton photograph a tartan ribbon three times, each time with a different colour filter over the lens. The three images were developed and then projected onto a screen with three different projectors, each equipped with the same colour filter used to take its image. When brought into focus, the three images formed a full colour image. The three photographic plates now reside in a small museum at 14 India Street, Edinburgh, the house where Maxwell was born. Download high resolution version (471x713, 53 KB)James Clerk Maxwell with his wife Katherine, 1869. ... Download high resolution version (471x713, 53 KB)James Clerk Maxwell with his wife Katherine, 1869. ... For the book by Sir Isaac Newton, see Opticks. ... For other uses, see Photograph (disambiguation). ... A photographer at the Calgary Folk Music Festival Paparazzi at the Tribeca Film Festival A photographer is a person who takes a photograph using a camera. ... For the artificial athletic track surface, see tartan track. ...


Maxwell's work on colour blindness won him the Rumford Medal by the Royal Society of London. He wrote an admirable textbook of the Theory of Heat (1871), and an excellent elementary treatise on Matter and Motion (1876). Maxwell was also the first to make explicit use of dimensional analysis, also in 1871. Color blindness in humans is the inability to perceive differences between some or all colors that other people can distinguish. ... In 1796, Benjamin Thompson, known as Count Rumford, gave $5000 separately to the Royal Society of London and the other by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to give awards every two years for outstanding scientific research on heat or light. ... ... Dimensional analysis is a conceptual tool often applied in physics, chemistry, and engineering to understand physical situations involving a mix of different kinds of physical quantities. ...


In 1871, he was the first Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge. Maxwell was put in charge of the development of the Cavendish Laboratory. He supervised every step of the progress of the building and of the purchase of the very valuable collection of apparatus paid for by its generous founder, the 7th Duke of Devonshire (chancellor of the university, and one of its most distinguished alumni). One of Maxwell's last great contributions to science was the editing (with copious original notes) of the electrical researches of Henry Cavendish, from which it appeared that Cavendish researched such questions as the mean density of the earth and the composition of water, among other things. The Cavendish Professorship is one of the senior Professorships in Physics at Cambridge University and was founded by grace of 9 February 1871 alongside the famous Cavendish Laboratory which was completed three years later. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... Plaque, at old site Entrance, old site, Free School Lane The Cavendish Laboratory is the University of Cambridges Department of Physics, and is part of the universitys School of Physical Sciences. ... The Most Noble William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire (27 April 1808 —21 December 1891) (known previously as 2nd Earl of Burlington of the second creation), was the great-grandson of the 4th Duke of Devonshire and grandson of the 1st Earl of Burlington of the second creation, whom he... For other persons named Henry Cavendish, see Henry Cavendish (disambiguation). ... In statistics, mean has two related meanings: the arithmetic mean (and is distinguished from the geometric mean or harmonic mean). ... For other uses, see Density (disambiguation). ...


The extended biography The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, by his former schoolfellow and lifelong friend Professor Lewis Campbell, was published in 1882 and his collected works, including the series of articles on the properties of matter, such as Atom, Attraction, Capillary Action, Diffusion, Ether, etc., were issued in two volumes by the Cambridge University Press in 1890. Lewis Campbell (September 3, 1830 - October 25, 1908), British classical scholar, was born at Edinburgh. ... The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ...


Personality

From the start of his childhood, religion touched all aspects of Maxwell's life. Both his father and mother were devout churchgoers (Presbyterian and Episcopalian) and instilled a strong faith in their son. All information available suggests that neither in his adolescence, nor in his later years, did Maxwell ever reject the fundamental principles of his Christian faith.[citation needed] Ivan Tolstoy, author of one of Maxwell's biographies, remarked at the frequency with which scientists writing short biographies on Maxwell often omit the subject of his religion.


As a great lover of British poetry, Maxwell memorized poems and wrote his own. The best known is Rigid Body Sings closely based on Comin' Through the Rye by Robert Burns, which he apparently used to sing while accompanying himself on a guitar. It has the immortal opening lines[1]: For the chain gang fugitive and author from Georgia, see Robert Elliott Burns. ...

Gin a body meet a body
Flyin' through the air.
Gin a body hit a body,
Will it fly? And where?

A collection of his poems was published by his friend Lewis Campbell in 1882. Lewis Campbell (September 3, 1830 - October 25, 1908), British classical scholar, was born at Edinburgh. ...


Legacy

Maxwell was ranked #24 on Michael H. Hart's list of the most influential figures in history and #91 on the BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Michael H. Hart (born April 28, 1932 in New York City) is an American astrophysicist turned author and activist. ... The cover of the 1992 edition. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... // In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to determine whom the general public considers the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. ...

  • The maxwell (Mw), a compound derived CGS unit measuring magnetic flux (commonly abbreviated as f).
  • Maxwell Montes, a mountain range on Venus, one of only three features on the planet that are not given female names.
  • The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the largest sub-mm astronomical telescope in the world, with a diameter of 15 metres.
  • The 1977 James Clerk Maxwell building of the University of Edinburgh, housing the schools of mathematics, physics, computer science and meteorology.
  • The James Clerk Maxwell building at the Waterloo campus of King's College London, in commemoration of him being Professor of Natural Philosophy at King's from 1860 to 1865. The university also has a chair in Physics named after him, and a society for undergraduate physicists.
  • Maxwell House was selected in 1968 as the name for Dorm B at the newly-opened Crown College at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It was the most-desired name of those offered to the eight houses.
  • The £4 million James Clerk Maxwell Centre of the Edinburgh Academy was opened in 2006 to mark his 175th anniversary.
  • James Clerk Maxwell Road in Cambridge, which runs along one side of the Cavendish Laboratory.
  • The University of Salford's main building has also been named after him.
  • James Clerk Maxwell was featured in the 1995 SNES game Tales of Phantasia as a summon that can aid the party in battle. His ability consisted of electromagnetic spheres that attacked the enemy.
  • Also featured in the 2004 GameCube game Tales of Symphonia as the especial and most powerful of all summons of the game, being called the king of summons. Had the ability to shoot meteors and could only be gotten after getting every other summon spirit.
  • The software company Next Limit sells a software package called Maxwell Render which renders 3d geometry using the full unbiased spectral properties of natural light.

The maxwell, abbreviated as Mx, is the compound derived CGS unit of magnetic flux. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Magnetic flux, represented by the Greek letter Φ (phi), is a measure of quantity of magnetism, taking account of the strength and the extent of a magnetic field. ... Maxwell Montes is a mountain massif on the planet Venus, part of which contains the highest point on the planets surface. ... (*min temperature refers to cloud tops only) Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 9. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... For other meanings of mathematics or uses of math and maths, see Mathematics (disambiguation) and Math (disambiguation). ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... // Meteorology (from Greek: μετέωρον, meteoron, high in the sky; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting. ... For other uses, see Kings College. ... Crown College is one of the residential colleges that makes up the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA. Located on the upper northern side of campus by Merrill College, Crown also borders the newly constructed Colleges Nine and Ten. ... “UCSC” redirects here. ... The Edinburgh Academy is an independent school. ... This article is about the city in England. ... Plaque, at old site Entrance, old site, Free School Lane The Cavendish Laboratory is the University of Cambridges Department of Physics, and is part of the universitys School of Physical Sciences. ... Mascot: Lion Affiliations: University Alliance Association of Commonwealth Universities Northern Consortium United Kingdom North West Universities Association Website: http://www. ... The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as Super Nintendo, Super NES or SNES, is a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, and Australia. ... Tales of Phantasia ) is a Super Famicom game in the RPG genre published by Namco and released in Japan in 1995. ... The Nintendo GameCube (Japanese: ゲームキューブ; originally code-named Dolphin during development; abbreviated as GCN) is Nintendos fourth home video game console, belonging to the 128-bit era; the same generation as Segas Dreamcast, Sonys PlayStation 2, and Microsofts Xbox. ... Tales of Symphonia ) is a video game first released for the Nintendo GameCube and later for the PlayStation 2. ...

Publications

In geometry, an oval or ovoid (from Latin ovum, egg) is any curve resembling an egg or an ellipse. ... In mathematics, the concept of a curve tries to capture the intuitive idea of a geometrical one-dimensional and continuous object. ... In geometry, the focus (pl. ... A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field was the third of James Clerk Maxwells papers concerned with electromagnetism. ... A young Maxwell at university. ... The Aether of classical elements is a concept, historically, used in science and in philosophy. ...

See also

Maxwells demon is an 1867 thought experiment by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, meant to raise questions about the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics. ... For thermodynamic relations, see Maxwell relations. ... In probability theory, Maxwells theorem, named in honor of James Clerk Maxwell, states that if the probability distribution of a vector-valued random variable X = ( X1, ..., Xn )T is the same as the distribution of GX for every n×n orthogonal matrix G and the components are independent, then... Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with analysis of random phenomena. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The Scottish Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in Scotland, running from approximately 1740 to 1800. ... Maxwell is a common Scottish, English, or Irish name that may refer to: // Anna Maxwell (1851–1929) Augustus Maxwell (1820–1903) Blakey Harris James 2006 Colt Telecom Brian Maxwell (1953–2004) Carmen Maxwell Cedric Maxwell (born 1955) Charlie Maxwell (born 1927) David Maxwell (academic) David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... In physics, wave-particle duality holds that light and matter exhibit properties of both waves and of particles. ... The Crookes radiometer, also known as the light mill or solar engine, consists of an airtight glass bulb, containing a partial vacuum. ... Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field: a field which exerts a force on particles that possess the property of electric charge, and is in turn affected by the presence and motion of those particles. ... Maxwell is a common Scottish, English, or Irish name that may refer to: // Anna Maxwell (1851–1929) Augustus Maxwell (1820–1903) Blakey Harris James 2006 Colt Telecom Brian Maxwell (1953–2004) Carmen Maxwell Cedric Maxwell (born 1955) Charlie Maxwell (born 1927) David Maxwell (academic) David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of... Classical electrodynamics (or classical electromagnetism) is a theory of electromagnetism that was developed over the course of the 19th century, most prominently by James Clerk Maxwell. ... For other uses, see Light (disambiguation). ... A diagram illustrating the emission of electrons from a metal plate, requiring energy gained from an incoming photon to be more than the work function of the material. ... Magnetic field lines shown by iron filings Magnetostatics Electrodynamics Electrical Network Tensors in Relativity This box:      In physics, the magnetic field is a field that permeates space and which exerts a magnetic force on moving electric charges and magnetic dipoles. ... Radiation pressure is the pressure exerted upon any surface exposed to electromagnetic radiation. ... For other uses, see Electron (disambiguation). ... For the controversy about who invented radio, see Invention of radio. ... This article is about the type of Electromagnetic radiation. ... For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ... Peter Tait Peter Guthrie Tait (April 28, 1831 - July 4, 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist. ... Oliver Heaviside (May 18, 1850 – February 3, 1925) was a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, developed techniques for applying Laplace transforms to the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwells field equations in terms of electric and... “Einstein” redirects here. ... “Ørsted” redirects here. ... Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (February 22, 1857 - January 1, 1894) was the German physicist and mechanician for whom the hertz, an SI unit, is named. ... Michael Faraday, FRS (September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867) was an English chemist and physicist (or natural philosopher, in the terminology of that time) who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. ... Josiah Willard Gibbs (February 11, 1839 – April 28, 1903) was an American mathematical physicist who contributed much of the theoretical foundation that led to the development of chemical thermodynamics and was one of the founders of vector analysis. ... Joseph Stefan (Slovene Jožef Stefan) (March 24, 1835 – January 7, 1893) was a Slovene physicist, mathematician and poet. ... Sir Joseph John Thomson Sir Joseph John Thomson (18 December 1856 – 30 August 1940), often known as J. J. Thomson, was an English physicist, the discoverer of the electron. ... Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (July 18, 1853, Arnhem – February 4, 1928, Haarlem) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and elucidation of the Zeeman effect. ... Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (March 3, 1829 - 1894) was an English lawyer and judge, created 1st Baronet Stephen by Queen Victoria. ... Sir George Gabriel Stokes, 1st Baronet (13 August 1819–1 February 1903) was an Irish mathematician and physicist, who at Cambridge made important contributions to fluid dynamics (including the Navier-Stokes equations), optics, and mathematical physics (including Stokes theorem). ... Lewis Campbell (September 3, 1830 - October 25, 1908), British classical scholar, was born at Edinburgh. ... Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (March 25, 1833 - June 12, 1885) was Professor of Engineering at Edinburgh University, remarkable for his versatility. ... Full name The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity Motto Virtus vera nobilitas Virtue is true Nobility Named after The Holy Trinity Previous names King’s Hall and Michaelhouse (until merged in 1546) Established 1546 Sister College(s) Christ Church Master The Lord Rees of Ludlow Location Trinity Street... The University of Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: ), founded in 1582,[4] is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... The Edinburgh Academy is an independent school. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... The Analytical Society was a group of individuals in early-19th century Britain whose aim was to promote the use of Leibnizian or analytical calculus as opposed to Newtonian calculus. ... The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ... Ï€ (or Pi) is a 1998 American psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... (*min temperature refers to cloud tops only) Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 9. ... Photography [fÓ™tÉ‘grÓ™fi:],[foÊŠtÉ‘grÓ™fi:] is the process of recording pictures by means of capturing light on a light-sensitive medium, such as a film or electronic sensor. ... An undated color photograph from 1905 to 1915 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Color photography was explored throughout the 1800s. ... List of Scots is an incomplete list of notable people from Scotland. ... This page aims to list all Wikipedia articles that are related to physics. ... Since antiquity, human beings have sought to understand the workings of nature: why unsupported objects drop to the ground, why different materials have different properties, the character of the universe such as the form of the Earth and the behavior of celestial objects such as the Sun and the Moon... Below is a list of famous physicists. ... Clerks studying astronomy and geometry. ... Timeline of materials technology // 29,000–25,000 BCE - First ceramic appears 3rd millennium BC - Copper metallurgy is invented and copper is used for ornamentation 2nd millennium BC - Bronze is used for weapons and armour 1st millennium BC - Pewter beginning to be used in China and Egypt 16th century BC... Timeline of electromagnetism and classical optics 130 — Claudius Ptolemy tabulates angles of refraction for several media, 1269 — Pélerin de Maricourt describes magnetic poles and remarks on the nonexistence of isolated magnetic poles, 1305 — Dietrich von Freiberg uses crystalline spheres and flasks filled with water to study... A timeline of events related to thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and random processes. ... Timeline of solar system astronomy // 2137 BC, October 22 - Chinese astronomers record a solar eclipse ca. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Time discipline. ... The cover of the 1992 edition. ... // In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to determine whom the general public considers the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

References

  1. ^ a b Tolstoy, Ivan (1981). James Clerk Maxwell: A Biography. Edinburgh: Cannongate, 12. ISBN 086241010X. 
  2. ^ McFall, Patrick "Brainy young James wasn't so daft after all" in The Sunday Post, April 23 2006
  3. ^ Mahon, Basil (2003). The Man Who Changed Everything – the Life of James Clerk Maxwell. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN 0-470-86171-1. 

The Canongate is a small district and former burgh at the heart of Edinburgh, Scotlands capital city. ...

External links

Biographical-related links

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James Clerk Maxwell Foundation Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... The MacTutor history of mathematics archive is a website hosted by University of St Andrews in Scotland. ...

Maxwell's 175th Anniversary

Song lyrics and poetry

Maxwell - Christian/Creationist interpretation

Photos

Academic-related links

Mathematics

Treatise On Electricity And Magnetism - 1873 Edition

Versions of Maxwell's 1873 treatise readable online

Supplementary material for understanding Maxwell's 1873 treatise

  • On Quaternions, Or On A New System Of Imaginaries In Algebra by William Rowan Hamilton - PDF File
  • Lectures On Quaternions by William Rowan Hamilton(Google Books)
  • An Elementary Treatise On Quaternions by Peter Guthrie Tait - Archive.org
  • Open Library Edition
  • Introduction to Quaternions by Phillip Kelland & Peter Guthrie Tait(Google Books)
  • Original Maxwell Equations - Maxwell's 20 Equations in 20 Unknowns - PDF
  • A Dynamical Theory Of The Electromagnetic Field - 1865 Maxwell's 1865 paper describing his 20 Equations in 20 Unknowns - Predecessor to the 1873 Treatise
Persondata
NAME Maxwell, James Clerk
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION mathematical physicist
DATE OF BIRTH 13 June 1831(1831-06-13)
PLACE OF BIRTH Edinburgh
DATE OF DEATH 5 November 1879
PLACE OF DEATH Cambridge

  Results from FactBites:
 
Who Was James Clerk Maxwell? (416 words)
James Clerk Maxwell has recently been hailed as the No 1 Scientist in a National Library of Scotland poll, and the 4th most important topic in Scotland’s History by a BBC poll.
James Clerk Maxwell was one of the greatest scientists who have ever lived.
On the 13th June 1831 James Clerk Maxwell was born in Edinburgh, at 14 India Street, a house built for his father in that part of Edinburgh's elegant Georgian New Town which was developed after the Napoleonic Wars.
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James Clerk Maxwell related papers and essays etc
List of Books and Scientific Papers written by JCM, including those not in Collected Works by Niven, Sir W D (editor) (1890) The scientific papers of James Clerk Maxwell, Cambridge University Press.
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