FRANCES EVELEGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCES EVELEGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Electromagnetism. Photograph illustrating Maxwell's electromagnetic field equations. Faraday had viewed electricity and magnetism as stemming from lines of force. In 1861-2, Maxwell developed this idea, and by analogy to the flow of an incompressible fluid, showed that the two phenomena were aspects of a single field, electromagnetism. By adding elasticity into the model, Maxwell showed that transverse waves could move through the medium, and that these waves would move at the speed of light. Light was thus seen as a manifestation of wave- like disturbances in the electromagnetic field which inhabited the hypothetical medium, 'ether'.
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