James Clerk Maxwell

James_Clerk_MaxwellJames Clerk Maxwell (Scottish; 13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) Mathematical physicist who developed a set of (4) equations that express the basic laws of electricity and magnetism. He is believed to be one of the finest mathematical minds of any theoretical physicist of his time, and is widely regarded as the nineteenth century scientist who had the greatest influence on twentieth century physics. He showed that electric and magnetic fields can travel through the vacuum of space, in the form of waves, and at a constant velocity of 3.0 × 108 m/s (which is known as the speed of light). He also proposed that light was a form of electromagnetic radiation. His (4) equations were based on the previous works of Ampère, Faraday, Gauss, and others. His first equation, called Ampère’s Law, predicts the magnetic field that will be created by a given flow of current. The second equation, called Faraday’s Law, is essentially the inverse of the first, and calculates the electrical current that will be generated from a changing magnetic field (this is how most electrical power is generated). The third equation, called Gauss’ Law, states that a static electrical charge must generate an electrical voltage. The fourth equation, simply called the Fourth Equation, basically asserts that a magnetic charge (or magnetic monopole) cannot exist – the way that an electron can carry an electrical charge. It is believed – though may be disproved in the future – that all magnetic fields have equal and opposing poles. Read more…

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