Mathematician:James Clerk Maxwell

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Mathematician

Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics.

Most noted for his theory of electromagnetic radiation.

Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism have been called the "second great unification in physics" after the first one realised by Isaac Newton.


Nationality

Scottish


History

  • Born: 13 June 1831 in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • October 1850: went to Peterhouse Cambridge, transferred to Trinity
  • 1854: Graduated with a degree in mathematics from Trinity College
  • November 1856: Took up post of Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College in Aberdeen
  • June 1859: Married Katherine Mary Dewar
  • 1860: Appointed to chair of Natural Philosophy at King's College in London
  • 1865: Returned to his Scottish estate Glenlair
  • 1871: First Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge in 1871
  • Died: 5 November 1879 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England


Theorems and Definitions


Publications

  • 1846: On the description of oval curves, and those having a plurality of foci
  • 1849: On the Equilibrium of Elastic Solids
  • 1849: The Theory of Rolling Curves
  • 1854: On the Transformation of Surfaces by Bending
  • March 1855: Experiments on Colour
  • 1855: On Faraday's lines of force (Part 1)
  • 1856: On Faraday's lines of force (Part 2)
  • 1857: The Motion of Saturn's Rings
  • March 1861: On Physical Lines of Force
  • 1870: On reciprocal figures, frames and diagrams of forces
  • 1871: Theory of Heat
  • 1873: A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism Vol I
  • 1873: A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism Vol II
  • 1876: Matter and Motion
  • 1879: The Electrical Researches of the Honourable Henry Cavendish
  • 1881: An Elementary treatise on electricity


Notable Quotes

Thus number may be said to rule the whole world of quantity, and the four rules of arithmetic may be regarded as the complete equipment of the mathematician.
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say


As I proceeded with the study of Faraday, I perceived that his method of conceiving the phenomena [of electro-magnetism] was also a mathematical one, though not exhibited in the conventional form of mathematical symbols. I also found that these methods were capable of being expressed in the ordinary mathematical forms, and thus compared with those of the professed mathematicians.
-- A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873)
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say


Sources