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James Clerk Maxwell

Dátum narodenia: 13. jún 1831
Dátum úmrtia: 5. november 1879

James Clerk Maxwell bol škótsky fyzik. Jeho najväčším objavom je všeobecný matematický opis zákonov elektriny a magnetizmu, dnes známy ako Maxwellove rovnice. Známe je aj jeho Maxwell-Boltzmannovo rozdelenie rýchlostí v kinetickej teórii plynov.

Maxwell je vo všeobecnosti považovaný za vedca 19. storočia, ktorý mal svojim príspevkom k elementárnym modelom prírody najväčší vplyv na fyziku 20. storočia. Pri príležitosti stého výročia jeho narodenia Albert Einstein opísal Maxwellovu prácu ako „najdômyselnejšie a najplodnejšie, čo fyzika zažila od Newtonových čias“.

Črtou Maxwellovej práce je algebrická matematika s prvkami geometrie. Maxwell demonštroval, že elektrické a magnetické sily sú dve dopĺňajúce sa stránky elektromagnetizmu. Ukázal, že elektrické a magnetické polia sa šíria priestorom vo forme vĺn konštantnou rýchlosťou 3.0 × 108 m/s. Navrhol, že svetlo je forma elektromagnetického žiarenia.

Na jeho počesť bola podľa jeho mena pomenovaná jednotka magnetického toku v sústave jednotiek CGS ako Maxwell . Podobne, podľa jeho mena je pomenované aj pohorie na Venuši. Teleskop Jamesa Clerka Maxwella s priemerom zrkadla 15 m, je najväčší astronomický teleskop na svete.

Citáty James Clerk Maxwell

„In every branch of knowledge the progress is proportional to the amount of facts on which to build“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Letter to Lewis Campbell (9 November 1851) in Ch. 6 : Undergraduate Life At Cambridge October 1850 to January 1854 — ÆT. 19-22, p. 159
Kontext: In every branch of knowledge the progress is proportional to the amount of facts on which to build, and therefore to the facility of obtaining data.

„I mean—that I have the capacity of being more wicked than any example that man could set me, and that if I escape, it is only by God's grace“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Letter to Rev. C. B. Tayler ( 8 July 1853) in Ch. 6 : Undergraduate Life At Cambridge October 1850 to January 1854 — ÆT. 19-22, p. 189
Kontext: I maintain that all the evil influences that I can trace have been internal and not external, you know what I mean—that I have the capacity of being more wicked than any example that man could set me, and that if I escape, it is only by God's grace helping me to get rid of myself, partially in science, more completely in society, — but not perfectly except by committing myself to God as the instrument of His will, not doubtfully, but in the certain hope that that Will will be plain enough at the proper time. Nevertheless, you see things from the outside directly, and I only by reflexion, so I hope that you will not tell me you have little fault to find with me, without finding that little and communicating it.

„Happiness and Misery must inevitably increase with increasing Power and Knowledge“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Letter to Lewis Campbell (9 November 1851) in Ch. 6 : Undergraduate Life At Cambridge October 1850 to January 1854 — ÆT. 19-22, p. 158
Kontext: I believe, with the Westminster Divines and their predecessors ad Infinitum that "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever."
That for this end to every man has been given a progressively increasing power of communication with other creatures.
That with his powers his susceptibilities increase. That happiness is indissolubly connected with the full exercise of these powers in their intended direction. That Happiness and Misery must inevitably increase with increasing Power and Knowledge. That the translation from the one course to the other is essentially miraculous, while the progress is natural. But the subject is too high. I will not, however, stop short, but proceed to Intellectual Pursuits.

„But we have no right to think thus of the unsearchable riches of creation, or of the untried fertility of those fresh minds into which these riches will continue to be poured.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Introductory Lecture on Experimental Physics held at Cambridge in October 1871, re-edited by W. D. Niven (2003) in Volume 2 of The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, Courier Dover Publications, p. 241; this has sometimes been misquoted in a way which considerably alters its intent: "in a few years, all the great physical constants will have been approximately estimated, and … the only occupation which will then be left to the men of science will be to carry these measurement to another place of decimals."
Kontext: This characteristic of modern experiments — that they consist principally of measurements — is so prominent, that the opinion seems to have got abroad, that in a few years all the great physical constants will have been approximately estimated, and that the only occupation which will then be left to men of science will be to carry on these measurements to another place of decimals. If this is really the state of things to which we are approaching, our Laboratory may perhaps become celebrated as a place of conscientious labour and consummate skill, but it will be out of place in the University, and ought rather to be classed with the other great workshops of our country, where equal ability is directed to more useful ends.
But we have no right to think thus of the unsearchable riches of creation, or of the untried fertility of those fresh minds into which these riches will continue to be poured. It may possibly be true that, in some of those fields of discovery which lie open to such rough observations as can be made without artificial methods, the great explorers of former times have appropriated most of what is valuable, and that the gleanings which remain are sought after, rather for their abstruseness, than for their intrinsic worth. But the history of science shews that even during the phase of her progress in which she devotes herself to improving the accuracy of the numerical measurement of quantities with which she has long been familiar, she is preparing the materials for the subjugation of the new regions, which would have remained unknown if she had been contented with the rough methods of her early pioneers. I might bring forward instances gathered from every branch of science, shewing how the labour of careful measurement has been rewarded by the discovery of new fields of research, and by the development of new scientific ideas. But the history of the science of terrestrial magnetism affords us a sufficient example of what may be done by experiments in concert, such as we hope some day to perform in our Laboratory.

„I hope that you will not tell me you have little fault to find with me, without finding that little and communicating it.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Letter to Rev. C. B. Tayler ( 8 July 1853) in Ch. 6 : Undergraduate Life At Cambridge October 1850 to January 1854 — ÆT. 19-22, p. 189
Kontext: I maintain that all the evil influences that I can trace have been internal and not external, you know what I mean—that I have the capacity of being more wicked than any example that man could set me, and that if I escape, it is only by God's grace helping me to get rid of myself, partially in science, more completely in society, — but not perfectly except by committing myself to God as the instrument of His will, not doubtfully, but in the certain hope that that Will will be plain enough at the proper time. Nevertheless, you see things from the outside directly, and I only by reflexion, so I hope that you will not tell me you have little fault to find with me, without finding that little and communicating it.

„Words from empty words they sever—
Words of Truth from words of Pride.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Part III Poems, "Reflection from Various Surfaces" (April 18, 1853)
Kontext: By the hollow mauntain-side
Questions strange I shout for ever,
While echoes far and wide
Seem to mock my vain endeavour;
Still I shout, for though they never
Cast my borrowed voice aside,
Words from empty words they sever—
Words of Truth from words of Pride.

„Colour as perceived by us is a function of three independent variables“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Maxwell, in a letter to William Thomson, The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell: 1846-1862 (1990), p. 245.
Kontext: Colour as perceived by us is a function of three independent variables at least three are I think sufficient, but time will show if I thrive.

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„This velocity is so nearly that of light, that it seems we have strong reason to conclude that light itself“

—  James Clerk Maxwell, A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field

A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field (1864), §20.
Kontext: The general equations are next applied to the case of a magnetic disturbance propagated through a non-conductive field, and it is shown that the only disturbances which can be so propagated are those which are transverse to the direction of propagation, and that the velocity of propagation is the velocity v, found from experiments such as those of Weber, which expresses the number of electrostatic units of electricity which are contained in one electromagnetic unit. This velocity is so nearly that of light, that it seems we have strong reason to conclude that light itself (including radiant heat, and other radiations if any) is an electromagnetic disturbance in the form of waves propagated through the electromagnetic field according to electromagnetic laws.

„How the learned fool would wonder
Were he now to see his blunder,
When he put his reason under
The control of worldly Pride.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Part III Poems, "A Vision Of a Wrangler, of a University, of Pedantry, and of Philosophy. " (November 10, 1852)

„Aye, I suppose I could stay up that late.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

Maxwell, on being told on his arrival at Cambridge University that there would be a compulsory 6 a.m. church service, as quoted in Spice in Science : The Best of Science Funnies (2006) by K. Krishna Murty

„Mathematicians may flatter themselves that they possess new ideas which mere human language is yet unable to express. Let them make the effort to express these ideas in appropriate words without the aid of symbols, and if they succeed they will not only lay us laymen under a lasting obligation, but we venture to say, they will find themselves very much enlightened during the process, and will even be doubtful whether the ideas as expressed in symbols had ever quite found their way out of the equations of their minds.“

—  James Clerk Maxwell

"Thomson & Tait's Natural Philosophy" in Nature, Vol. 7 (Mar. 27, 1873) A review of Elements of Natural Philosophy https://archive.org/details/elementsnatural00kelvgoog (1873) by Sir W. Thomson, P. G. Tait. See Nature, Vol. 7-8, https://archive.org/details/nature7818721873lock Nov. 1872-Oct. 1873, pp. 399-400, or The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, p. 328. https://books.google.com/books?id=lzlRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA328

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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