HAPPY BIRTHDAY, James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879)!

“There’s just something about the people like James Clerk Maxwell and their crazy beards. It’s like a birds’ nest for your chin!

James was a theoretical mathematician and physicist – If you’ve ever heard of or practiced the modern electromagnetic theory, you have heard of James Clerk Maxwell. Many people consider James as important as Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday.

Jimmy Max’s life was quite interesting. He was home schooled by his mother, he got tired of his toys when he was 6 or 7 and started playing with reflecting plates of metal and studied frogs’ life cycles, and unfortunately his mom died after an operation when he was 8. James was raised by his dad and sister-in-law Jane, educated by an unknown 16-year old boy who treated James like a bother. Since James was raised on his father’s country estate in solitude most of the time after his mother’s death, his school experiences were apparently harsh and full of ridicule. James was more intelligent than his teachers and fellow students, which also probably didn’t help things much.

Maxwell was fascinated by geometry at an early age, rediscovering the regular polyhedron before any formal instruction. Much of his talent went unnoticed however, and, despite winning the school’s scripture biography prize in his second year, his academic work remained unremarkable, until, at the age of 13, he won the school’s mathematical medal, and first prizes for English and poetry.

For his first scientific work, at the age of only 14, Maxwell wrote a paper describing a mechanical means of drawing mathematical curves with a piece of twine, and the properties of ellipses and curves with more than two foci. His work, “Oval Curves”, was presented to the Royal Society of Edinburgh byJames Forbes, professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University, Maxwell deemed too young for the task. The work was not entirely original,Descartes having examined the properties of such multifocal curves in the seventeenth century, though Maxwell had simplified their construction.”

James Clerk Maxwell developed the theory of electromagnetism, and Maxwell’s Equations are the basis of this theory:Gauss’s LawGauss’s Law for MagnetismFaraday’s Law (for Induction)Ampere’s Law (with Maxwell’s Correction)[x]

Happy Birthday Jimmy Max.

(via unbearablevastness)