Biography James Maxwell

Known for his important contributions in the field of electromagnetism, thermodynamics and optics, James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish physicists who is considered by his fellow physicists and inventors as the most influential 19th century innovator. Some experts and scientists also consider his work and contributions in the field of physics equal in importance as to that of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Maxwell was born on June 13 1831 in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. Maxwell’s family was one of the most prominent in the city having been related to Clerk family and having connections with rich and influential people in Scotland. Thus, due to his family’s nobility, Maxwell was able to pursue higher levels of education.

Maxwell was first taught by a home tutor. His ingenuity and creative mind weren’t immediately manifested during his earlier years as his home tutor considered him as a slow learner. Nonetheless, in 1841 at the age 10, Maxwell attended the Edinburgh Academy, known for its prestige and glamor.

However, Maxwell seemingly didn’t fit school. During his first few years, Maxwell was disoriented and often isolates himself with other students. Hence, all that would change the moment he met Lewis Campbell and Peter Tait which helped and influence him into being a notable scholar.

At the age of 16, Maxwell attended the University of Edinburgh where his unique ingenuity was further honed and his pursuit of greater knowledge was nourished. He studied under the tutelage of brilliant thinkers such as the likes of Sir William Hamilton and James Forbes.

In 1850, Maxwell left Edinburgh in order to move at Cambridge University in order to pursue higher education.

In 1856, Maxwell accepted as position as a professor at Aberdeen University where he also assumed the responsibility as the head of the faculty department despite being surrounded with older and more experienced professors.

In 1860, Maxwell transferred to the King’s College in London where he displayed his brilliance in a variety of fields.Maxwell however, resigned from King’s College in 1865.

During the course of his public life, Maxwell authored numerous papers in electromagnetism and thermodynamics including “On Physical Lines of Force”  “Oval Curves” and “Rolling Curves.” Maxwell also wrote several books during the later phases of his life, after retiring from teaching. Nevertheless, Maxwell was most famous for his contributions in optics, having produced the first true color photograph in 1861 while teaching at King’s College.