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The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.
Portrait of James Clerk Maxwell
Image digitized by J.C. Max, Inc. from engraving by G.J. Stoddard from photograph by Fergus of Greenock appearing in "The Life of James Clerk Maxwell" by L. Campbell & W. Garnett (published in 1882).

James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish physicist who lived between 1831-1879. He studied Saturn's rings and suggested that they were composed of solid particles. This theory was confirmed 100 years later by the Voyager 1 space probe.

Maxwell is most famous for his equations linking electricity and magnetism, and his belief that electromagnetism moved through space in waves. His revolutionary work lead to the development of quantum physics in the early 1900's and to Einstein's theory of relativity.

Maxwell also described the properties of gas molecules using statistics. His improvements to the kinetic theory of gases included showing that temperature and heat are caused only by molecular movement.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA