James Clerk Maxwell

Facts about James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell died at 48 years old
Born: June 13, 1831
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Best known as: The physicist who came up with the theory of electromagnetism


James Clerk Maxwell Biography

Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell is considered one of the greatest theoretical physicists, thanks to his theories on electromagnetism that paved the way for scientists such as Albert Einstein and Max Planck.

A brilliant mathematics student, he had his first paper published when he was 15 years old. After graduating from Cambridge in 1854, he received his first professorship at Aberdeen, but Maxwell was most associated with the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, where he served as director after 1871.

Maxwell took Michael Faraday‘s idea of magnetic lines of force and put them into mathematical form, showing that electricity and magnetism move together. He published this “electromagnetic theory” in Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873).

He also predicted radiations beyond the spectrum of visible light and in 1861 made the world’s first color photograph — a tartan ribbon.


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