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Someone Else Wrote Maxwell's Equations
May 22, 2013
03:41
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Satellite Spy
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A controversial article in the IEEE News Source "The Institute": http://theinstitute.ieee.org/t.....-equations
This will wobble those folks who are into electromagnetics et al .....

July 23, 2013
11:59
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Christopher Benson
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Satellite Spy said

A controversial article in the IEEE News Source "The Institute": http://theinstitute.ieee.org/t.....-equations
This will wobble those folks who are into electromagnetics et al .....

It seems that the title of that IEEE article should have been "Someone else reformulated Maxwell's [original] equations into manageable form". I don't wish to take away credit clearly due to Mr Oliver Heavisde; Maxwell's original formulation of 20 scale-dependent equations were "altogether too Scottish" for most engineers (see [1]). Heaviside reduced and reformulated 12 of those 20 equations into the four we know today. Heaviside left school at age 16, and never attended a university or even a college. He was an "amateur" in every sense: although he lived to the age of 74, the only employment of his life was as a telegraph operator starting at age 18. His Uncle Charlie got him the job (see [2]). After just six years into his only job, at age 24, he resigned to focus on a book. He had come across a copy of Maxwell's "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism" and the rest, as they say, is history. Or in Heaviside's own words:

"I was very ignorant. I had no knowledge of mathematics [...] It took me several years before I could understand as much as I possibly could. Then I set Maxwell aside and followed my own course. And I progressed much more quickly."

Of course he had to quit his job. Maxwell's brand new treatise was 375 pages laid out in 324 sections across two volumes of intense academic discussion as well as practical observations. It wasn't exactly written for the uneducated reader. Despite that and 50 subsequent years of unemployment and poverty, Heaviside achieved much. He independently derived a continuous-time generalisation of Laplace's z-transform, and even invented and patented coaxial cable. He later became a Fellow of the Royal Society - not bad for a poor uneducated amateur from Camden Town in London.
[1]. Maxwell's Equations were indeed written by others BEFORE him, though. The four standard equations in usual order were originally formulated by Gauss, Gauss, Faraday, and Ampere respectively - though with modifications to all but the first by Maxwell. Maxwell's treatise clearly credits Gauss and Faraday in its preface.
[2].. Oliver Heaviside's Uncle Charlie was Sir Charles Wheatstone, famous for the Wheatsone bridge (an electrical instrument that he didn't invent), but not famous for the concertina (a musical instrument that he did invent).
Chris Benson.

July 23, 2013
16:23
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Satellite Spy
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That's really interesting and informative, Chris.
You've obviously spent a lot of time researching this, so thank you very much indeed for sharing.

Speaking of Oliver Heaviside, many people will have heard of the Heaviside Layer. Heaviside advanced the idea that the Earth's uppermost atmosphere contained an ionized layer known as the ionosphere; in this regard, he predicted the existence of what later was dubbed the Kennelly–Heaviside layer. However, it was not until 1924 that its existence was shown by British scientist Edward V. Appleton, for which he received the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physics.
It is this layer that makes over-the-horizon propagation of medium frequency radio waves possible.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive summary of Heaviside's many achievements => http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O....._Heaviside

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