Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell

Biography / Memoir

By: Basil Mahon

226 pages, B/w illus

John Wiley & Sons

Hardback | Dec 2003 | #144003 | ISBN: 047086088X
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NHBS Price: £18.99 $24/€22 approx

About this book

Maxwell was perhaps the most perceptive physicist in the interval between Faraday and Enstein, yet remains relatively unknown. This is a personal, accessible account of the man whose famous four equations (showing that electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light) opened the way for the work of Einstein, the theory of relativity, and the development of quantum mechanics.

...Mahon has written a first rate book on Maxwell's science and legacy... (New Scientist, 20 September 2003) "...an inspiring account of a man with legendary imagination..." (Galloway News, 11 September 2003) "...a readable and straightforward biography..." (Sunday Telegraph, 28 September 2003) "...Mahon's biography is sincere and affectionate..." (The Scotsman, 4 October 2003) "...Basil Mahon does a good job of raising the profile of the greatest of all Scots Scientists..." ( Sunday Herald, 12 October 2003) "...Mahon tells the tale of Maxwell's childhood economically but well..." (Nature, 23 October 2003) "...[the book] is well set to achieve its aim. All you have to do is read it..." (Scottish Daily Mail, 17 October 2003) "...it is admirably clear in its exposition of his powerful mathematical insights and amiable in its appreciation of his life..." (The Guardian, 25 October 2003) "...On the ever-expanding Science and Technology front I really liked The Man Who Changed Everything..." (Sunday Herald, 7 December 2003) "...Full of warmth and personal detail...an inspiring account of a man with legendary imagination..." (Materials World, Decmber 2003) "...presents simply and directly ... the personality, talents, and contributions of one of the greatest scientists the world has known..." (The Alchemist, 23 January 2004) "...a good introduction to the thought of a great man..." (Royal Society of Topical Medicine) "...beautifully clear and accessible ... This is an entertaining and gripping read that does justice to one of the truly great modern scientists..." (Good Book Guide, February 2004) "... a sympathetic, eminently readable and interesting biography of one of the intellectual giants of the 19th century." (IEE Review, February 2004) "... a most sympathetic and readable biography." (New Directions, March 2004) "Brian Mahon has done us a great sevice by writing this accessible, informative and delightful book." (Chemistry & Industry, 3 May 2004) "A fascinating insight into the life and works of one of the most respected scientists, not just of his day, but of possibly recent times." (M2 Best Books 12 March 2004) "... an excellent and informative story of a brilliant scientist..." (Materials World, June 04) "...well-written...accessible to the non-scientist..." (Lloyds List, Jan 05)


Contents

List of Illustrations.Preface.Acknowledgements.Chronology: principal events in Maxwell's life.Cast of characters: Maxwell's relations and close friends.Introduction.1. A country boy: Glenlair 1831-1841.2. Pins and string: Edinburgh Academy 1841-1847.3. Philosophy: Edinburgh University 1847-18504. Learning to juggle: Cambridge 1850-1854.5. Blue and yellow make pink: Cambridge 1854-1856.6. Saturn and statistics: Aberdeen 1856-1860.7. Spinning cells: London 1860-1862.8. The beautiful equations: London 1862-1865.9. The Laird at home: Glenlair 1865-1870.10. The Cavendish: Cambridge 1870-1879.11. Last days.12. Maxwell's legacy.Notes.Bibliography.Index.

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Biography

Basil Mahon is a former officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and a graduate in Engineering. He is a retired Government Civil Servant and ran the 1991 census in England and Wales. He has a long-time passion for the physical sciences and has for many years been fascinated by the impact that Maxwell has had on all our lives

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