This is the first biography in twenty years of James Clerk Maxwell, one of the greatest scientists of our time and yet a man relatively unknown to the wider public. Approaching science with a freshness unbound by convention or previous expectations, he produced some of the most original scientific thinking of the nineteenth century — and his discoveries went on to shape the twentieth century.
The story of two brilliant nineteenth-century scientists who discovered the electromagnetic field, laying the groundwork for the amazing technological and theoretical breakthroughs of the twentieth century Two of the boldest and most creative scientists of all time were Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). This is the story of how these two men - separated in age by forty years - discovered the existence of the electromagnetic field and devised a radically new theory which overturned the strictly mechanical view of the world that had prevailed since Newton's time. The authors, veteran science writers with special expertise in physics and engineering, have created a lively narrative that interweaves rich biographical detail from each man's life with clear explanations of their scientific accomplishments. Faraday was an autodidact, who overcame class prejudice and a lack of mathematical training to become renowned for his acute powers of experimental observation, technological skills, and prodigious scientific imagination. James Clerk Maxwell was highly regarded as one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of the age. He made an enormous number of advances in his own right. But when he translated Faraday's ideas into mathematical language, thus creating field theory, this unified framework of electricity, magnetism and light became the basis for much of later, 20th-century physics. Faraday's and Maxwell's collaborative efforts gave rise to many of the technological innovations we take for granted today - from electric power generation to television, and much more. Told with panache, warmth, and clarity, this captivating story of their greatest work - in which each played an equal part - and their inspiring lives will bring new appreciation to these giants of science.
This book examines James Clerk Maxwell, creator of the electromagnetic theory of light and kinetic theory of gases.
Author: Carlo Cercignani
Publisher: OUP Oxford
This book presents the life and personality, the scientific and philosophical work of Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the great scientists who marked the passage from 19th- to 20th-Century physics. His rich and tragic life, ending by suicide at the age of 62, is described in detail. A substantial part of the book is devoted to discussing his scientific and philosophical ideas and placing them in the context of the second half of the 19th century. The fact that Boltzmann was the man who did most to establish that there is a microscopic, atomic structure underlying macroscopic bodies is documented, as is Boltzmann's influence on modern physics, especially through the work of Planck on light quanta and of Einstein on Brownian motion. Boltzmann was the centre of a scientific upheaval, and he has been proved right on many crucial issues. He anticipated Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions and proposed a theory of knowledge based on Darwin. His basic results, when properly understood, can also be stated as mathematical theorems. Some of these have been proved: others are still at the level of likely but unproven conjectures. The main text of this biography is written almost entirely without equations. Mathematical appendices deepen knowledge of some technical aspects of the subject.
This 1882 biography is an essential starting point for studying the brilliant and influential nineteenth-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
Author: Robyn Arianrhod
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Blending science, history, and biography, this book reveals the mysteries of mathematics, focusing on the life and work of three of Albert Einstein's heroes: Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell.
This biography of Oliver Heaviside profiles the life of an underappreciated genius and describes his many contributions to electrical science, which proved to be essential to the future of mass communications. Oliver Heaviside (1850 -1925) may not be a household name but he was one of the great pioneers of electrical science: his work led to huge advances in communications and became the bedrock of the subject of electrical engineering as it is taught and practiced today. His ideas and original accomplishments are now so much a part of everyday electrical science that they are simply taken for granted; almost nobody wonders how they came about and Heaviside's name has been lost from view. This book tells the complete story of this extraordinary though often unappreciated scientist. The author interweaves details of Heaviside's life and personality with clear explanations of his many important contributions to the field of electrical engineering. He describes a man with an irreverent sense of fun who cared nothing for social or mathematical conventions and lived a fiercely independent life. His achievements include creating the mathematical tools that were to prove essential to the proper understanding and use of electricity, finding a way to rid telephone lines of the distortion that had stifled progress, and showing that electrical power doesn't flow in a wire but in the space alongside it. At first his ideas were thought to be weird, even outrageous, and he had to battle long and hard to get them accepted. Yet by the end of his life he was awarded the first Faraday Medal. This engrossing story will restore long-overdue recognition to a scientist whose achievements in many ways were as crucial to our modern age as those of Edison's and Tesla's.
Author: Basil Mahon
One of the great pioneers of electrical science, Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925) was a self-educated, fiercly independent genius who cared nothing for social or mathematical conventions. He showed how to analyse any circuit, how to rid telephone lines of distortion and interpreted Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism.Heaviside had a caustic wit, to friends he was provocative, amusing, sometimes infuriating but never dull. This is a compelling account of Heaviside's life with a powerful insight into his scientific thinking and why it has been so influential.
James Clerk Maxwell
Author: J. J. Thomson, Max Planck, Albert Einstein
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This 1931 book is comprised of ten essays dealing with various aspects of James Clerk Maxwell's life and achievements.
Author: Colin A. Russell
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the son of a blacksmith, described his education as "little more than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic at a common day-school." Yet from such basics, he became one of the most prolific and wide-ranging experimental scientists who ever lived. As a bookbinder's apprentice with a voracious appetite for learning, he read every book he got his hands on. In 1812 he attended a series of chemistry lectures by Sir Humphry Davy at London's prestigious Royal Institution. He took copious and careful notes, and, in the hopes of landing a scientific job, bound them and sent them to the lecturer. Davy was impressed enough to hire the 21-year-old as a laboratory assistant. In his first decade at the Institution, Faraday discovered benzene, isobutylene, and two chlorides of carbon. But despite these and other accomplishments in chemistry, he is chiefly remembered for his work in physics. In 1831 he proved that magnetism could generate an electric current, thereby establishing the field of electromagnetism and leading to the invention of the dynamo. In addition to his extraordinary scientific activities, Faraday was a leader in his church, whose faith and wish to serve guided him throughout his career. An engaging public speaker, he gave popular lectures on scientific subjects, and helped found a tradition of scientific education for children and laypeople that continues to this day. Oxford Portraits in Science is an ongoing series of scientific biographies for young adults. Written by top scholars and writers, each biography examines the personality of its subject as well as the thought process leading to his or her discoveries. These illustrated biographies combine accessible technical information with compelling personal stories to portray the scientists whose work has shaped our understanding of the natural world.
Michael Faraday was one of the most gifted and intuitive experimentalists the world has ever seen. Born into poverty in 1791 and trained as a bookbinder, Faraday rose through the ranks of the scientific elite even though, at the time, science was restricted to the wealthy or well-connected. During a career that spanned more than four decades, Faraday laid the groundwork of our technological society-notably, inventing the electric generator and electric motor. He also developed theories about space, force, and light that Einstein called the "greatest alteration . . . in our conception of the structure of reality since the foundation of theoretical physics by Newton." The Electric Life of Michael Faraday dramatizes Faraday's passion for understanding the dynamics of nature. He manned the barricades against superstition and pseudoscience, and pressed for a scientifically literate populace years before science had been deemed worthy of common study. A friend of Charles Dickens and an inspiration to Thomas Edison, the deeply religious Faraday sought no financial gain from his discoveries, content to reveal God's presence through the design of nature. In The Electric Life of Michael Faraday, Alan Hirshfeld presents a portrait of an icon of science, making Faraday's most significant discoveries about electricity and magnetism readily understandable, and presenting his momentous contributions to the modern world.
This book is an attempt to reconstitute the tacit knowledge—the shared, unwritten assumptions, values, and understandings—that shapes the work of science. Jed Z. Buchwald uses as his focus the social and intellectual world of nineteenth-century German physics. Drawing on the lab notes, published papers, and unpublished manuscripts of Heinrich Hertz, Buchwald recreates Hertz's 1887 invention of a device that produced electromagnetic waves in wires. The invention itself was serendipitous and the device was quickly transformed, but Hertz's early experiments led to major innovations in electrodynamics. Buchwald explores the difficulty Hertz had in reconciling the theories of other physicists, including Hermann von Helmholtz and James Clerk Maxwell, and he considers the complex and often problematic connections between theory and experiment. In this first detailed scientific biography of Hertz and his scientific community, Buchwald demonstrates that tacit knowledge can be recovered so that we can begin to identify the unspoken rules that govern scientific practice.
Enrico Fermi, Physicist
Author: Emilio Segre
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Student, collaborator and lifelong friend of Enrico Fermi, Emilio Segrè presents a rich, well-rounded portrait of the scientist, his methods, intellectual history, and achievements. Explaining in nontechnical terms the scientific problems Fermi faced or solved, Enrico Fermi, Physicist contains illuminating material concerning Fermi's youth in Italy and the development of his scientific style. Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959.
Pierre-Simon Laplace was among the most influential scientists in history. Often referred to as the lawgiver of French science, he is known for his technical contributions to exact science, for the philosophical point of view he developed in the presentation of his work, and for the leading part he took in forming the modern discipline of mathematical physics. His two most famous treatises were the five-volume Traité de mécanique céleste (1799-1825) and Théorie analytique des probabilités (1812). In the former he demonstrated mathematically the stability of the solar system in service to the universal Newtonian law of gravity. In the latter he developed probability from a set of miscellaneous problems concerning games, averages, mortality, and insurance risks into the branch of mathematics that permitted the quantification of estimates of error and the drawing of statistical inferences, wherever data warranted, in social, medical, and juridical matters, as well as in the physical sciences. This book traces the development of Laplace's research program and of his participation in the Academy of Science during the last decades of the Old Regime into the early years of the French Revolution. A scientific biography by Charles Gillispie comprises the major portion of the book. Robert Fox contributes an account of Laplace's attempt to form a school of young physicists who would extend the Newtonian model from astronomy to physics, and Ivor Grattan-Guinness summarizes the history of the scientist's most important single mathematical contribution, the Laplace Transform.
The Strangest Man
Author: Graham Farmelo
Publisher: Basic Books
Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics. One of Einstein’s most admired colleagues, Dirac was in 1933 the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Dirac’s personality is legendary. He was an extraordinarily reserved loner, relentlessly literal-minded and appeared to have no empathy with most people. Yet he was a family man and was intensely loyal to his friends. His tastes in the arts ranged from Beethoven to Cher, from Rembrandt to Mickey Mouse. Based on previously undiscovered archives, The Strangest Man reveals the many facets of Dirac’s brilliantly original mind. A compelling human story, The Strangest Man also depicts a spectacularly exciting era in scientific history.