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.
Below we list some information about Maxwell to watch and listen, and some UK places associated with him to visit in real life or virtually. There is much more on the rest of our web site, and if you want to keep in touch with Maxwell-related developments, we have a link below.
This short video (YouTube) by the Glasgow Science Centre describes Maxwell's work in a very accessible way.
* More videos
Or see the longer presentation Scotland's Einstein by Prof Catherine Heymans and Prof Martin Hendry at the Wigtown Book Festival 2022
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, contemporaries and places.
Birthplace tour: 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. ...Birthplace Tour Details
14 India Street, Edinburgh
The James Clerk Maxwell statue in Edinburgh
Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)
The Edinburgh tour takes you on foot or virtually round sites associated with Maxwell including his statue, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and his birthplace. There are apps for mobile phones available. ...Edinburgh Tour Details
Maxwell's first job was at Marischal College in 1856 where he met his future wife. Later (1874) he set up the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge.
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.
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.
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