Maxwell James Clerk is a British physicist of Scottish descent, a specialist in mechanics, mathematics and optics. The founder of statistical physics and classical electrodynamics. The author of the law of molecular velocity distribution, named in his honor “Maxwell distribution.”
James Maxwell was born June 13, 1831 in the capital of Scotland, the city of Edinburgh, in the family of a lawyer and hereditary nobleman John Clerk Maxwell. The childhood of James passed in a family estate in South Scotland. His mother died early, and the father raised the boy’s upbringing. It was he who instilled a love for James in the technical sciences. In 1841 he entered the Edinburgh Academy. Then, in 1847, for three years he studied at the University of Edinburgh. Here, Maxwell
After completing his studies, James remains to be taught in Cambridge. At this time, he begins work on the theory of colors, which later formed the basis for color photography. Maxwell also begins to be interested in electricity and magnetic effect.
In 1856, James Maxwell became a professor at Marishal College in Aberdeen, working there until 1860. In June 1858, Maxwell married the daughter of the director of the college. Working in Aberdeen, James is working on a treatise on the stability of the motion of the rings of Saturn, recognized and approved by the scientific community. Simultaneously, Maxwell develops the kinetic theory of gases, which formed the basis of modern statistical mechanics, and later, in 1866, he discovered the law of molecular velocity distribution, named after him.
In the years 1860 – 1865. James Maxwell was a professor at the Department of Natural Philosophy at Kings College. in 1864 he published his article “Dynamic theory of the electromagnetic field,” which became Maxwell’s main work and predetermined the direction of his further research. He studied the problems of electromagnetism
In 1871, Maxwell returned to Cambridge University, where he headed the first laboratory for physical experiments, named after the English scientist Henry Cavendish – the Cavendish Laboratory. There he taught physics and participated in equipping the laboratory.
In 1873 the scientist finally finishes work on the two-volume work “Treatise on electricity and magnetism”, which has become a truly encyclopedic heritage in the field of physics.
The great scientist died on November 5, 1879 from cancer and was buried near the family estate, in the Scottish village of Parton.