James Clerk Maxwell (June 13, 1831 – November 5, 1879) is known as the father of electromagnetism. Shy, curious, religious man with an amazing intelligence, which led him to be one of the most recognized physicists in the world. James was born in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. He grew up as an only child in a middle class Scottish family, his father John Maxwell was a prominent lawyer in the city and his French mother, daughter of a renowned naval judge, she died when James was just nine years old because of abdominal cancer, the same disease that would end Maxwell's life.
During his childhood he proved to be restless, skillful and very agile mentally, given these abilities his aunt Jane Cay decides to take responsibility for his basic education by enrolling him in the Edinburgh Academy. His performance was exemplary, especially in the areas of physics and mathematics. Although he also won several poetry and English contests.
By 1850, James began his studies at the University of Cambridge, where the desire to understand and solve complicated problems related to physics in a simple way generated impression and admiration in his contemporaries. In addition, he was accepted into a major college grouping where various academic and intellectual issues were discussed. During his career Maxwell dazzled and aroused all kinds of feelings, for this reason at the end of it, the prestigious Trinity College in Cambridge offered him a place, but due to his father's serious illness due to illness he had to give up the place and go to to his homeland to take care of his father. In 1856, despite the care provided, his father died.
EAt this time James Maxwell leaves Edinburgh and becomes Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Marischal College not only gave him the opportunity to develop his intellectual knowledge but also to marry Katherine Mary Dewar, daughter of the university's director. It is known that she had a great interest in physics and constantly assisted him in the laboratory. His presence in this institution was so relevant that Marischal College commemorated the centenary of his appointment as professor with a bust made by Pilkington Jackson. Two replicas of this bust currently exist in the James Clerk Maxwell Building at the University of Edinburgh and in the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation.
"The science of color must be considered, in essence, as a science of the mind." James Clerk Maxwell
Years later the Cavendish Laboratory appointed him director, at this time Maxwell outlined his academic life to research and set teaching aside, in this sense, James published two classic articles within the study of electromagnetism, one of them was the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873). Likewise, he produced remarkable experimental results in what corresponds to thermodynamic functions, at this stage of his life the presence of Michael Faraday was very important for him because this elderly scientist contributed a lot to his knowledge, specifically, in the field of electrolysis and the principles of electromagnetism.
From that moment on, Maxwell advanced studies, and reflected his curious and insatiable spirit, in fields such as physics, mathematics, astronomy, color perception, electromagnetism, heat photography, among others. To better illustrate: he adequately described the interaction between electricity and magnetism through his famous equations, he established the concept of electromagnetic wave, he created a theory in which he suggested the possibility of conceiving electromagnetic waves in the laboratory, he applied statistical analysis to the interpretation of kinetic theory of gases, enunciated the law of equalization of energy and also elaborated a meritorious theory on chromatic perception, developing the tricolor photography treatises. Finally, in astronomy, after a period between 1855 and 1859 in which he observed the rings of Saturn and pointed out, supported by infinite mathematical calculations, that they were not solid or fluid rings, but rather an accumulation of tiny bodies in orbit, since otherwise the annular system could not be stable. This calculation left the world of science impressed. George Biddell Airy, Royal Astronomer of England and professor at the University of Cambridge, said that this research has been "one of the most extraordinary applications of mathematics to physics that I have ever seen".
"That Maxwell is a genius, he helped me with the theory of relativity." Albert Einstein
Eight years after his death, in 1876 due to cancer, his postulates on electromagnetic waves gave rise to rapid and long-distance communication, Albert Einstein considered Maxwell's contributions to the sciences as the most important since the time of Newton. This man and his intellectual legacy continue to be of great importance and his theories are still being studied. In 2015, the International Year of Light, a tribute was made to Maxwell and recognition of his publication on electromagnetism. In short, without his discoveries we would not have satellites, television, radio, radar, mobile phones. The influence of Maxwell's study was the platform for most of the arguments of both the modern quantum mechanics of the 20th century and the Einsteinian theory of relativity.