, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 233–236 | Cite as

The history of electromagnetic theory through the lives of its founders

Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon: Faraday, Maxwell, and the electromagnetic field: How two men revolutionized physics. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2014, 320pp, US $25.95 HB
  • Naomi Pasachoff
Book Review

This engaging book presents the history of the development of the science of electromagnetism through the lives of two of its founders. The first seven chapters of this seventeen-chapter book belong to Michael Faraday, the story of whose rise to scientific prominence from an unprivileged background (his father was a blacksmith) is eternally appealing. Chapters eight through fifteen belong to James Clerk Maxwell, a truly great scientist whose name should be better known than it is. The book’s penultimate chapter introduces the “Maxwellians”—the Britons Oliver Heaviside, Oliver Lodge, and George Francis Fitzgerald and their German colleague, Heinrich Hertz—and describes their achievements building on Maxwell’s and Faraday’s contributions. The final chapter takes us from Michelson and Morley’s 1887 experiment disproving the existence of the aether to Einstein’s annus mirabilisof 1905, in which, among other achievements, he explained the photoelectric effect, predicted the photon, and...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Williams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

Personalised recommendations