2022: Celebrate JCM's 191st Anniversary!

James Clerk Maxwell: Virtual and Real-World Activities

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79) was one of the most important scientists of the 19th Century. He laid the foundations for many of the scientific and technological advances which shape our world.

Take the Virtual Tour
Please come in and explore the house and exhibits.

He was born in this elegant Georgian house. It now displays a growing collection of heritage material associated with James Clerk Maxwell, his associates and family circle. ...MORE

14 India Street, Edinburgh

Entrance Hall

The James Clerk Maxwell statue in Edinburgh


Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

The walking tour takes you round sites in Edinburgh associated with Maxwell including his statue, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and his birthplace. There are apps for mobile phones available. ...MORE

Maxwell's first job was professor of natural philosphy at Marischal College in 1856 where he met his future wife ...MORE.
(The Aberdeen pages were produced by former Trustee Dr John Reid 1942-2021.)

Later (1874) he set up the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge which houses a small museum ...MORE

His family's country estate was at Glenlair in Dumfries and Galloway, and he is buried in Parton churchyard there.

His life (JCM and wife Katherine above), work, remarkable family, poetry, art ...MORE

Scientific achievements (colour photography above) ...MORE

Picture Gallery of Maxwell (as a young boy above), family and contemporaries.

This video (YouTube) by the Glasgow Science Centre describes Maxwell's work in a very accessible way.


Glasgow musician and composer PJ Moore (of ‘The Blue Nile') is an enthusiastic promoter of James Clerk Maxwell's memory. An example of his work is this video piece (Vimeo) which combines the animations from Maxwell's zoetrope and images of Glenlair (Maxwell's country home), with words written by Maxwell at age 23 set to Paul's music.

A song and video (YouTube) about JCM, with words by Howie Firth and music by Andy & Flora Munro. This was written in 2012 and has been performed many times since then to appreciative audiences.


The Foundation organised many events for Maxwell's 175th anniversary in 2006 ...MORE

... and plans to organise more leading up to Maxwell's 200th anniversary in 2031. Watch this space!

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. United Nations Resolution 68/221 notes that:

2015 coincides with the anniversaries of a series of important milestones in the history of the science of light, including the works on optics by Ibn Al-Haytham in 1015, the notion of light as a wave proposed by Fresnel in 1815, the electromagnetic theory of light propagation proposed by Maxwell in 1865, Einstein's theory of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and embedding light in cosmology through general relativity in 1915, the discovery of cosmic microwave background by Penzias & Wilson and Kao's achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication, both in 1965.

The JCM Foundation is a charity formed in Scotland in 1977. (Registered Charity SC015003)
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