Scientists index


James Clerk Maxwell


Edimburgo 13.November.1831- Cambridge 5.November.1879



    The its exceptional dowries of theorist must the foundation of the kinetic theory of gas and that of the electromagnetic field, besides contributions of first slowly in the thermodynamics, in the theory of the colors, astrophysics.

Son of a modest English lawyer, passes infancy in campaign and reveals, still child, exceptional dowries of manual ability and ingenuities, joined to a delicate constitution and a spirit of dreamer. Remained orphaned of the mother in tender age, he pours its affection on the father, to which the life will remain legacy for all. In 1847 he enters to the university of Edimburgo where studies physical, mathematics, philosophy and chemistry, graduating itself to Cambridge in 1854 with the title it of “second wrangler”.

Eight December 1864 Maxwell introduces, to the Royal Society, a relationship from the title it “To Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field”, in which its famous equations are contained. The work of Maxwell is realized in a mirabile synthesis that fuses the magnetic field and the electric field in a new entity, the electromagnetic field.  


Maxwell reaches the certainty of the electromagnetic field, that is to the fact that a variable electric field generates a magnetic field, exclusively on the base of mathematical logic, since such phenomenon still had not been found experimentally. Unifying in a single theory all the complex interactions between electric currents and magnetism, in which the forces they not only depend from the positions, but also from the movements, electromagnetism of Maxwell concurs, like the gravitation of Newton, an ulterior approach under consideration of the cosmos. The ideas of vanguard of Maxwellare only prevailed to the attention of the scientific world after 1873, when it comes published, to Oxford, the treaty “Treatise of electricity and magnetism”, concentrated of all science electrical worker seen second the theory of the action through means, with perfect mathematical theory and correspondent to the truths experiences them, giving not only to a unitary explanation of the phenomena electromagnetic opticians and introducing the field concept, but destroying that one of ether and allowing to preview, for via pure mathematical, the possibility of the existence of electromagnetic waves. In order to conclude, two words on its life, that they reveal the deeply human character of Maxwell: in the 1856 renunciation to a diamond accommodation to Cambridge in favor of a chair in a small city of province, Aberdeen, for being able to be more near the old father, and in the 1866 spouse a woman, is said much of bisbetico temperament, than he but it loves intensely and that it personally cures affectionately and until its dead women. The same disease of the mother, a cancer to the stomach, is the cause of its passing; the great physicist has only 48 years and comes buried in the church of Glenair, the village where has passed its infancy and where the father has lived.