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Maxwell, James Clerk

Born: 1831 AD
Died: 1879 AD
Nationality: Scottish
Categories: Physicists

1831 – Born on June 13th in Edinburgh, Scotland. British physicist, the last representative of a younger branch of the well-known Scottish family of Clerk of Penicuik. He developed kinetic theory of gases.

1840-1850 – He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and the University of Edinburgh.

         – He spent a term or two at Peterhouse, but afterwards migrated to Trinity.

1854 – Took his degree as second wrangler, and was declared equal with the senior wrangler of his year (E. J. Routh) in the higher ordeal of the Smith’s prize examination.

1856 – He held the chair of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College, Aberdeen, until the fusion of the two colleges.

1859 – He wrote "On the Stability of Saturn’s Rings" (demonstrating that, to be stable, Saturn’s rings must consist of particles rather than being solid and continuous), "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism".

1868 – He held the chair of Physics and Astronomy in King’s College, London, but resigned in 1868 and retired to his estate of Glenlair in Kirkcudbrightshire.

1871 – He was summoned from his seclusion to become the first holder of the newly founded professorship of Experimental Physics in Cambridge; and it was under his direction that the plans of the Cavendish Laboratory were prepared.

         – The 1st professor of experimental physics at Cambridge University.

         – He superintended every step of the progress of the building and of the purchase of the very valuable collection of apparatus with which it was equipped at the expense of its munificent founder the seventh Duke of Devonshire (Chancellor of the University, and one of its most distinguished alumni).

1879 – Died on November 5th in Cambridge, England.