Mathematician:Oliver Heaviside

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Largely self-taught English mathematician and physicist who was one of the pioneers in the field of electrical engineering.

Invented a considerable amount of the mathematics and terminology used in electromagnetism.

Significantly developed the theory of operational calculus, which are still used in modern-day mathematics in the context of Laplace transforms.

Developed a vector calculus independent of that of Josiah Willard Gibbs, completely independent of him.




  • Born: 18 May 1850, Camden Town, London, England
  • Died: 3 February 1925, Torquay, Devon, England

Theorems and Definitions

Results named for Oliver Heaviside can be found here.

Definitions of concepts named for Oliver Heaviside can be found here.


  • 1885, 1886, 1887: Electromagnetic Induction and its Propagation
  • 1887: Electrical Papers
  • 1888/89: Electromagnetic Waves, the Propagation of Potential, and the Electromagnetic Effects of a Moving Charge
  • 1889: On the Electromagnetic Effects due to the Motion of Electrification through a Dielectric
  • 1892: On the Forces, Stresses, and Fluxes of Energy in the Electromagnetic Field
  • 1893: A Gravitational and Electromagnetic Analogy

Notable Quotes

'Quaternion' was, I think, defined by an American schoolgirl to be 'an ancient religious ceremony'. This was, however, a complete mistake. The ancients -- unlike Prof. Tait -- knew not and did not worship Quaternions.
--Preface to Electromagnetic Theory

Logic can be patient, for it is eternal.
-- Quoted in 1990: William Dunham: Journey Through Genius: Preface