In advance of the forthcoming Luci Association conference on urban lighting event Glasgow City Under a Microscope, running November 11 to 15, 2015, Wildopeneye blog is taking this opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the enormous contribution to our lives made by the C19th Scottish Scientist, James Clerk Maxwell with the publication of his theory of electromagnetism 150 years ago. Though I am no physicist myself, I understand that his application of mathematics has advanced human understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and is one of the most influential scientific papers of all time! Every advancement in human endeavour pertaining to light, heat, radio and any other type of electromagnetic energy is viewed in light of his insights.
As photographers then, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the relevance of his work to our field. I learned from the Glasgow City of Science Blog post on Maxwell that among his many scientific achievements, James Clerk Maxwell could be considered a father of colour photography.
He was also among the first to develop colour photography, combining core colours to create other shades and filtering light through coloured plastic to develop photographs.”
Presumably we owe in part the fantastic quality of today’s camera lenses, binoculars and telescopes to his mathematical genius.
According to my uncle Roland, his late brother, John Paxton M.A. wrote the inspiring epigram to James Clerk Maxwell that’s written in gold leaf on a plaque in the lecture room of The James Clerk Maxwell Foundation at 14 India Street Edinburgh, where Maxwell was born in 1831. It reads:
to James Clerk Maxwell
HAC DOMO NATALI
NOMEN EST LATUM
PER ORBEM TERRARUM
ETIAMQUE AD ASTRA
He tells me that “John’s English translation, which he said was nothing like as definitive and eloquent as the Latin, was:
From this home of his birth
the name spread
around the globe
and even to the stars“
If you would like to know a bit more about James Clerk Maxwell and his work please see sites below.
Films about James Clerk Maxwell on Youtube