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James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist

James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), Scottish physicist. Maxwell's works cover a wide area of science, and he is regarded as one of the finest minds of the 19th century. His major work was on light and electromagnetic waves. He showed that oscillating charges produced waves in an electro- magnetic field, and that these waves had the same velocity as light. This led him to predict other forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves. His equations introduced the value c for the speed of light. He also worked on the motions of molecules in a gas, and showed that Saturn's rings must be composed of numerous particles.

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