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General idea of what Maxwell did with electromagnitism

  1. Feb 7, 2005 #1
    I have a general idea of what Maxwell did with electromagnitism, but I'm writing an essay for an Electronics class and need some information on how he directly or indirectly affected affected this topic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2005 #2
    Actually “all” Maxwell did was to generalize amperes law (that a changing electric field produces a magnetic field). However this generalization is important since it predicts the existence of electromagnetic waves moving at the speed of light.

    Besides that Maxwell put electromagnetism into a mathematical formulation. Not the one we see today, because at the time vector calculus was not invented yet.

    It should not be too difficult to Google out enough for an essay (and if you have decent library access make use of it).
  4. Feb 7, 2005 #3
    It is easy to be cynical about maxwell, because much of the mathematics that now bears his name would have been unfamiliar to him. Also, his defining treaty was poorly organized and difficult to understand.

    On the other hand, it is easy to get to overly romantic about Maxwells achievements. His equations (which are just a set of partial differential equations that were discovered by others) completely determine the electromagnetic field (he realized the completeness, the scope of this set of these equations) and (in modern notation) lead quite elegantly to the conclusion that light is an electromagnetic wave. Perhaps, the greatest triumph in the history of mankind.
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