James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was one of the most important mathematical physicists of all time, after only Newton and Einstein. Within a relatively short lifetime he made enormous contributions to science which this lecture will survey. Foremost among these was the formulation of the theory of electromagnetism with light, electricity and magnetism all shown to be manifestations of the electromagnetic field. He also made major contributions to the theory of colour vision and optics, the kinetic theory of gases and thermodynamics, and the understanding of the dynamics and stability of Saturn's rings.
This talk was a part of the conference on '19th Century Mathematical Physics', held jointly by Gresham College and the British Society of the History of Mathematics. The transcript and downloadable versions of all of the lectures are available from the Gresham College website:
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There is currently nearly 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.