Today, we commemorate the life and work of James Clerk Maxwell, the Scottish mathematical physicist who died on this day in 1879.
While most people will have heard of arguably the two most prominent physicists of all time – Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein – far less are likely to recognise the name of the third person on the list: James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell, who formulated classical electromagnetic theory, has been hailed as the 19th century scientist whose work had the greatest influence on 20th century physics, and Einstein described it as the “most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.”
What makes Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory so important is that it is one of the great unifying theories in physics, combining the fields of electricity, magnetism and optics into a single, consistent theory. He showed that electric fields and magnetic fields…
View original post 272 more words