Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field

Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field (2014) by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon is a great account of the two scientific geniuses who enabled humanity to understand and exploit electromagnetism and in doing so changed the picture of the physical world.

Faraday was a lower middle class man who through incredible hard work became the premier experimental physicist of his day. He worked extensively on chemistry and electromagnetism and invented the electric motor and the generator. He was not, however, particularly good at math and did not express his ideas in mathematics.

Maxwell was one of the greatest physicists of all time and was a great mathematician who took Faraday’s results and some of his ideas and generalised and made more accurate theories from them and then went further and postulated electromagnetic waves. His quaternion and vector mathematics transformed physics.

The book is well written and on a very interesting subject. The authors combine the biographical and scientific aspects to well. It’s an excellent book.


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