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STARS:Maxwell's Equations

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Author: Graham Turnbull


Maxwell’s Equations provide a complete description of electromagnetic phenomena and underpin all modern information and communication technologies. They are named after James Clerk Maxwell, the Scottish physicist whose pioneering work during the second half of the 19th century unified the theories of electricity, magnetism, and light. The theory of electromagnetism was built on the discoveries and advances of many scientists and engineers, but the pivotal contribution was that of Maxwell. Today, Maxwell’s Equations are the essential tools of electrical engineers in the design all types of electrical and electronic equipment.


1785 Coulomb’s Law is published
1812 Poisson’s Law is published
1813 Gauss’ Divergence Theorem is discovered
1820 H.C. Ørsted discovers that an electric current creates a magnetic field
1820 André-Marie Ampère’s work founds electrodynamics; Biot-Savart Law is discovered
1826 Ampère’s Law is published
1831 Faraday’s Law is published
1856 James Clerk Maxwell publishes "On Faraday’s lines of force"
1861 Maxwell publishes "On physical lines of force"
1865 Maxwell publishes "A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field"
1873 Maxwell publishes Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
1870 In this decade Lorentz and Helmholtz develop the electromagnetic theory of light
1880 In this decade Heaviside recasts equations into vector form
1888 Heinrich Hertz discovers radio waves
1940 Albert Einstein popularizes the name 'Maxwell’s Equations'
1966 Kane Yee introduces finite-difference time domain methods to solve Maxwell’s Equations



References of Historical Significance

References for Further Reading

About the Author(s)