- DJB's recommended "amazing" paper
J Clerk Maxwell:
A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field. Maxwell, J Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1776-1886).
is available free online here:
in several formats; "read online" seems for me the best.
Maxwell's seems pretty pitiful to me compared with modern treatments.
Definitely would not recommend that anyone try to learn from this.
It is interesting in showing the magnitude of the struggle he had to endure
and the fact that in various ways he still remained trapped in some false/misleading
- On Tue, 2013-05-14 at 20:09 +0000, John wrote:
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "WarrenS" <warren.wds@...> wrote:
> > DJB's recommended "amazing" paper
> > J Clerk Maxwell:
> > A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field. Maxwell, J
> Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London
> > is available free online here:
> > http://archive.org/details/philtrans00041514
> > in several formats; "read online" seems for me the best.
> > Maxwell's seems pretty pitiful to me compared with modern
> > Definitely would not recommend that anyone try to learn from this.
> > It is interesting in showing the magnitude of the struggle he had to
> > and the fact that in various ways he still remained trapped in some
> > notions.
> Now, concerning Maxwell's ideas and their "false/misleading" I presumeWarning: possible heresy ahead.
> were to do with the "ether" in great part. Whatever is in the material
> world is capable of rudimentary description, and that description
> becomes in its most sophisticated form the thing called science. Some
> science uses mathematics in order to attempt to understand and
> manipulate matter, in which case it makes possible technology, which
> contains within it aspects of craft and art.
> I understand that, in scientific circles, the idea of "ether" has not
> been completely dismissed, but this is possily because the idea of
> empty space is abhorrent, as in "Nature abhors a vacuum".
"Aether" as the medium of transmission of electromagnetic waves has
rather gone out of fashion, and for good reasons, not least the famous
Michelson-Morley experiment. However, the work of Einstein, Poincare et
al has shown that space-time has many of the properties of the old
Consider: space-time is the transmission medium for gravitational
radiation; aether for electromagnetic radiation. It is invisible to
anything except gravitational physics (c.f. aether's invisibility to
anything but electromagnetic physics). It is the most rigid material
known (the entire mass-energy of the earth is sufficient only to bend
space-time to a radius of curvature of around one light year) and is
arguably the most rigid possible (c.f. aether's perfect elasticity).