James Clerk Maxwell, a genius too quickly forgotten

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Lecture Theatre MLT1, University of Auckland

Ground Floor, Building 303

38 Princes Street

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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Public Lecture by Professor Gian-Luca Oppo, University of Strathclyde

Distinguished Visitor to Department of Physics , University of Auckland

James Clerk Maxwell, a genius too quickly forgotten

In Einstein’s office in Princeton there were three portraits: Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). Although Maxwell is considered by the academics as one of the most important physicists together with Newton, Galilei, Rutherford, Bohr and, of course, Einstein, his work does not enjoy the same popularity of that of his peers. In his short life, Maxwell has revolutionised the history of science with sensational discoveries: electro-magnetic waves, the speed of light, the unification of electric and magnetic forces, statistical mechanics, the vastness of the electro-magnetic spectrum, light emission, the theory of the thermostat, and even colour photography. While the nineteen century has linked thermodynamics to the industrial revolution, the twentieth century has been dominated by the consequences of Maxwell’s discoveries: the radio, the television, light-matter interactions, x-rays, the radar, the laser, mobile phones, phase transitions, spectroscopy and the internet. Quite an achievement for a shy and reserved Scot.

Professor Gian-Luca Oppo is the 1796 Freeland Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) , a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Optical Society of America, and the Institute of Physics. Professor Oppo is also a recognised teacher and science populariser, and has been awarded the University of Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Awards in 2014 and 2016.

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Lecture Theatre MLT1, University of Auckland

Ground Floor, Building 303

38 Princes Street

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

View Map

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