The Natural Philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell

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THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHY OF JAMES CLERK MAXWELL by P. M. Harman

Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, 232 pp., 1998

If you are interested in the history of nineteenth century physics and scientific thought, particularly electricity and magnetism, you will love The Natural Philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell is shown to be not only an insightful and creative physicist, but also a mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and metaphysicist. This, however, is not a history of Maxwell's life, nor really a history of his work, but a history of English contributions to physics and natural philosophy in the nineteenth century using Maxwell's scientific contributions as point of departure.

The author assumes a strong background in electricity and magnetism, a working knowledge of advanced applied calculus, a passing knowledge of philosophy, and possibly a familiarity with some of Maxwell's papers. Thus, the lay reader may become lost among such undefined terms as lines of force, Stokes theorem, and Kantian philosophy. …