Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field

Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field

How Two Men Revolutionized Physics

Book - 2014
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The story of two brilliant nineteenth-century scientists who discovered the electromagnetic field, laying the groundwork for the amazing technological and theoretical breakthroughs of the twentieth century

Two of the boldest and most creative scientists of all time were Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). This is the story of how these two men - separated in age by forty years - discovered the existence of the electromagnetic field and devised a radically new theory which overturned the strictly mechanical view of the world that had prevailed since Newton's time.

The authors, veteran science writers with special expertise in physics and engineering, have created a lively narrative that interweaves rich biographical detail from each man's life with clear explanations of their scientific accomplishments. Faraday was an autodidact, who overcame class prejudice and a lack of mathematical training to become renowned for his acute powers of experimental observation, technological skills, and prodigious scientific imagination. James Clerk Maxwell was highly regarded as one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of the age. He made an enormous number of advances in his own right. But when he translated Faraday's ideas into mathematical language, thus creating field theory, this unified framework of electricity, magnetism and light became the basis for much of later, 20th-century physics.

Faraday's and Maxwell's collaborative efforts gave rise to many of the technological innovations we take for granted today - from electric power generation to television, and much more. Told with panache, warmth, and clarity, this captivating story of their greatest work - in which each played an equal part - and their inspiring lives will bring new appreciation to these giants of science.
Publisher: Amherst, New York :, Prometheus Books,, 2014
ISBN: 9781616149420
Branch Call Number: 530.141 F745f 2014
Characteristics: 320 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Mahon, Basil - Author


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Sep 30, 2016

A first-rate science book written at the educated adult level. The authors explain what was known about electricity and magnetism and how experimentation plus formalization of the results mathematically led to all the electronic marvels we take for granted today and formed a platform for Einstein to create his theories upon. Told in clear language and not afraid to show a few of the famous equations—and even make them understandable to the layperson with analogies and pictures—without “dumbing down” anything.

I enthusiastically recommend it to anybody wanting to learn how real science works, and at the same time as an entertaining drama with a group of intellectual giants vying to find out the answers to some of nature’s mysteries first.

Oct 17, 2015

Along with historian, Jill Jonnes' remarkable and extraordinary book, Empires of Light, this remarkable achievement by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon epitomizes the top rung of scientific-historical-biographical writing --- truly outstanding!
I believe it is because these three authors capture the intellectual nuances so neglected by others who have written of these genius types and persevering pioneers of the deepest thought! Plus they tell their stories with unfailing emotional sensitivity.
Fantastic take on Faraday, Maxwell and stunningly of all, The Big E [electromagnetism]!

ChristchurchLib Jun 16, 2014

"In 1813, blacksmith's son Michael Faraday abandoned a career as a bookbinder to study the little-understood phenomenon of electricity. Although his tireless efforts led to the development of the first electric motor and generator, as well as the idea of the electromagnetic field (in which electricity and magnetism travel as waves), few took him seriously until James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish mathematician and physicist, formulated a set of equations to describe Faraday's theories. In this thought-provoking dual biography, science writers Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon explore the lives of two influential men of science as well as their enduring legacy." Nature and Science June 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/eaa85527-59b9-4794-85a8-16a62e26054a?postId=f3c1543b-4239-4258-a283-3e26e8d3608f


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