Matter and Motionby James Clerk Maxwell
This primer on physics, written in 1877 by the most eminent physicist of the 19th century, is intended as a brief introduction to Newtonian mechanics for students and educated lay readers. Though by modern standards this small work covers no new ground, it attests to the logical rigor and powers of elucidation of a scientific genius, whose insights into… See more details below
This primer on physics, written in 1877 by the most eminent physicist of the 19th century, is intended as a brief introduction to Newtonian mechanics for students and educated lay readers. Though by modern standards this small work covers no new ground, it attests to the logical rigor and powers of elucidation of a scientific genius, whose insights into electromagnetism and the chemistry of gases were pivotal to the great discoveries in physics during the 20th century. Einstein described Maxwell's influence on the scientific understanding of the physical universe as "the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton." Maxwell's ideas also laid the groundwork for Max Planck's subsequent development of the quantum hypothesis.
In seven concise and lucidly written chapters, Maxwell covers all the basic concepts of physics: time, space, matter, mass, force, momentum, velocity, acceleration, laws of motion, work, energy, gravitation, and many other ideas. This edition also includes a chapter on equations of motion from Maxwell's classic Electricity and Magnetism, plus two appendices, one on the relativity of motion and the other on the Principle of Least Action.
Complete with many useful illustrations to clarify the concepts discussed in the text, this accessible work is well suited for history of science courses or as a still-relevant introduction to basic physics for the average reader.
Meet the Author
James Clerk Maxwell: In His Own Words — And Others
Dover reprinted Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism in 1954, surely one of the first classics of scientific literature over a thousand pages in length to be given new life and accessibility to students and researchers as a result of the paperback revolution of the 1950s. Matter and Motion followed in 1991 and Theory of Heat in 2001.
Some towering figures in science have to speak for themselves. Such is James Clerk Maxwell (1813–1879), the Scottish physicist and mathematician who formulated the basic equations of classical electromagnetic theory.
In the Author's Own Words:
"We may find illustrations of the highest doctrines of science in games and gymnastics, in traveling by land and by water, in storms of the air and of the sea, and wherever there is matter in motion."
"The 2nd law of thermodynamics has the same degree of truth as the statement that if you throw a tumblerful of water into the sea, you cannot get the same tumblerful of water out again." — James Clerk Maxwell
Critical Acclaim for James Clerk Maxwell:
"From a long view of the history of mankind — seen from, say, ten thousand years from now — there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade." — Richard P. Feynman
"Maxwell's equations have had a greater impact on human history than any ten presidents." — Carl Sagan
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