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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more
Albert Einstein was a German physicist who lived between 1879-1955. His special and general theories of relativity, theory of Brownian motion, work in quantum physics, statistical mechanics, and on the...more
Charles Darwin was an English Naturalist who lived between 1809-1882. In 1859, with the publication of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, he challenged existing views on the appearance...more
Christian Doppler was an Austrian mathematician who lived between 1803-1853. He is known for the principle he first proposed in Concerning the coloured light of double stars in 1842. This principle is...more
Ben Franklin was an American scientist and statesman who lived between 1706-1790. At a time when little was known about electricity, he carried out many experiments to learn of its dangers and possible...more
Edmond Halley was an English astronomer who lived between 1656-1742. Using historical records, his own observations, and Newton's universal law of gravitation, he reasoned that the comets which had appeared...more
William Herschel was born in Germany and lived in England while he worked as an astronomer. He lived between 1738-1822. He built reflecting telescopes of high magnification, that let him observe the universe...more
Christian Huygens was a Dutch physicist and astronomer who lived between 1629-1695. He found new methods for grinding and polishing lenses, making telescopes more powerful. Using a telescope he had made,...more