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11 votes
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Did Maxwell originally write his equations using quaternions?

I read somewhere, some time ago that Maxwell originally wrote his eponymous equations using the formalism of quaternions ... Is this true? It seems that the answer is "Not quite". Maxwell originally ...
Peter Taylor's user avatar
8 votes
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Is it thought that Maxwell used Green's Theorem to derive his equations?

Of course Maxwell knew Green's theorem, by the time he was writing this was the common knowledge. Maxwell's book has a mathematical preliminary chapter (chapter 2) where he explains mathematical tools ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
7 votes
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Did Maxwell discover the distribution of velocities in a gas during an exam set by Stokes?

No, he did not. Stokes could not have offered a problem of the distribution of velocities of gas particles for the simple reason that he never thought of fluids as consisting of particles. He was a ...
Conifold's user avatar
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7 votes
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Was the sun assumed to be at rest aether frame?

Not necessarily. They did not know the velocity of the Sun with respect to aether. What they tried to do is to measure the speed of the Earth with respect to aether. If any velocity were detected, one ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
6 votes
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What is the idea behind Maxwell's "displacement current" in electromagnetism?

Maxwell did not think of the displacement current as a continuation of the conduction current, and his motivations are generally entwined with his mechanical models of ether. But the naming itself ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
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"Équation de Maxwell-Thomson"

In French, physical laws are not always named the same as in English (usually some Frenchman is added) Snell's law $\to$ loi de Snell-Descartes Gauss' theorem $\to$ théorème de Ostrogradski-Gauss WKB ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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5 votes

Why do Maxwell's equations bear his name?

Ampère never wrote down what is confusingly called "Ampère's circuital law," not even the form without the displacement current term, as Ampère never dealt with the field concept.* Maxwell derived $$\...
Geremia's user avatar
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5 votes
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What did Maxwell mean by different types of people to whom science should be presented in different forms?

The quote is from Maxwell's Address to the Mathematical and Physical Sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at the 40th Meeting in Liverpool (1870). The address offers some ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes

Did Maxwell originally write his equations using quaternions?

Maxwell's equations as they are expressed today, with modern vector notation and not Maxwell's quaternion notation, were first written by Oliver Heaviside in a few papers in the mid- to late 1880s, ...
Geremia's user avatar
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4 votes

How did Maxwell fall short of Einstein?

Einstein, on the contrary, was free of any kind of traditions ... This I think really says a great deal more about the author, his preconceptions, the Einstein hagiographical industry and the ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes

Was the sun assumed to be at rest aether frame?

Short Answer: 19th centry astronomers believed that the Sun and the Solar System revolved around the central point of the Milky Way Galaxy. Thus 19th centry physicists should have believed that the ...
M.A. Golding's user avatar
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4 votes

Component form of the fourth Maxwell's equation

It is very clear from Maxwell's original work that he was writing component by component see 1865 A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field in chapter III. See equations with letters (A to H). ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,937
3 votes

How has the modelling of classical electrodynamics changed since Maxwell?

We will take the cutoff to be 1873, the publication date of the first edition of Maxwell's treatise. I'm not an expert in electrodynamics by any stretch, but here are some of the things that come to ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
3 votes
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Did James Clerk Maxwell derive the permittivity of free space from his "Maxwell's" equations or was the parameter already known by him?

This answer is a repost of a comment of Conifold on the question, which the asker indicated gave a satisfactory answer to their question: Wiki's History of Maxwell's equations implies that the ...
3 votes

Did Maxwell discover the distribution of velocities in a gas during an exam set by Stokes?

Who am I to cast doubt on what Kapitsa wrote? But I thought Maxwell's first work on kinetic theory, including his first argument for the Maxwellian distribution, was presented in 1859 and had been ...
Philip Wood's user avatar
3 votes
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Why is Maxwell and not Ampère credited for unifying electricity and magnetism?

On my opinion, the following citation from Poincare answers this question: “At the time, when Maxwell initiated his studies, the laws of electrodynamics adopted before him explained all known ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
3 votes

Did Maxwell invent the Maxwell's wheel?

Confusingly, a Maxwell wheel used to refer to a totally different invention: a color top invented by Maxwell as a student and described in "Experiments On Colour, As Perceived By The Eye" (1855). ...
Uri Granta's user avatar
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2 votes

Why did Maxwell predict radiation pressure?

According to Brian Clegg's biography of Maxwell the idea that light could exert pressure only came to Maxwell's attention shortly after the publication of his Treatise while "pulling at the ...
nwr's user avatar
  • 6,909
2 votes

Why is Maxwell and not Ampère credited for unifying electricity and magnetism?

There are two reasons: As explained by Alexandre Eremenko, the laws of electrodynamics before Maxwell (like Ampere's force law, Neumann's law of induction, Weber's law, etc.) explained all the known ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 181
2 votes

Why do Maxwell's equations bear his name?

Let's consider each law seperatey. 1) and 2): Gauss law for electricity and magnetism: Its integral form was first formulated by Joseph-Louis Lagrange in 1773 (See here). The next step, the Gauss ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 181
1 vote

Did Maxwell originally write his equations using quaternions?

The 1861 paper primarily used differential forms, but in the context of line integrals and area integrals rather than as a Grassmann calculus, though it was around at the time (Die Lineale ...
NinjaDarth's user avatar

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