The Great Westmen:

Science and Technology

James Clerk Maxwell

Featured Accomplishment: The equations that bear his name.
Scottish mathematical physicist
Born: June 13, 1831, Edinburgh, UK
Died: November 5, 1879, Cambridge, UK
   James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon (as formulated in the equations that bear his name).

  Maxwell was the first to accurately describe the composition and the reason for the stability of the rings of Saturn.

  Maxwell also showed that color blindness was due to individuals being unable to recognize red light and he conclusively proved the theory of three primary colors: that any natural color could be produced from red, green and blue. Maxwell’s work in optics led to color matching experiments and Colorimetry, the science and technology that is used to quantify and describe physically human color perception. Maxwell also applied the theory of color perception in photography. He reasoned that if any three lights could reproduce any perceivable color, then color photographs could be produced with a set of three colored filters. In 1861 he created the first color photograph.

   He was the first to apply the methods of probability and statistics in describing the properties of gases. Maxwell is also recognized as the father of control theory, being the first to understand the importance of feedback to control theory.

   The unit of magnetic flux, the Maxwell (in the centimeter-gram-second, cgs unit system) is named in his honour.