The year 2006 marked the 175th anniversary of the birth of James Clerk Maxwell, a Scot whose ideas increasingly electrify, magnetize and change the world today.
“Maxwell's importance in the history of scientific thought is comparable to Einstein’s (whom he inspired) and to Newton’s (whose influence he curtailed)”
Ivan Tolstoy, biographer of Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell himself (in 1864) said: “We have strong reason to conclude that light itself - including radiant heat and other radiation, if any - is an electromagnetic disturbance in the form of waves propagated through the electro-magnetic field according to electro-magnetic laws.”
On which Professor RV Jones commented: “This paper is the first pointer to the existence of radiation other than light and heat, and ranks as one of the greatest leaps ever achieved in human thought.”
A consortium of civic, university, learned society and educational bodies planned a series of events during the year to bring the little known achievements of James Clerk Maxwell before young people and a wider general public.
These events, in the form of lectures and dynamic demonstrations, extended from April to December 2006 in city venues open to the public and in schools as well as other places with which he was associated. Details are shown on the events page.