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Please explore our website to find out more about this great Scottish physicist
and the Foundation which bears his name.

We have a wealth of information in the form of articles, images, video, audio and other documents available in our new Resources section.

You can find us in Edinburgh, in the house of James Clerk Maxwell’s birth, and here on-line.
Let us share our enthusiasm with you!

Winter 2015 Newsletter

The James Clerk Maxwell Young Writer's Prize

Previous Newsletters are available from the archive


The trustees of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation are delighted to announce that
Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS FRSE (Nobel Prize in Physics 2013)
has kindly accepted our invitation to become our Honorary Patron.

Will Self  embarks on a road trip from Edinburgh to Cambridge on the trail of James Clerk Maxwell.  A short radio series in 5 parts.
In the first episode Self, accompanied by Prof. Akram Khan, visits Maxwell’s Birthplace and speaks with our Chairman, David Forfar.
Listen at BBC iPlayer

Presentations from Inspiring Brilliance: Celebrating Maxwell's Genius and Legacy, a recent conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Maxwell’s Equations, are now available on our video resources page.

IYOL_200IYL 2015
The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  United Nations Resolution 68/221 notes that:
2015 coincides with the anniversaries of a series of important milestones in the history of the science of light, including the works on optics by Ibn Al-Haytham in 1015, the notion of light as a wave proposed by Fresnel in 1815, the electromagnetic theory of light propagation proposed by Maxwell in 1865, Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and embedding light in cosmology through general relativity in 1915, the discovery of cosmic microwave background by Penzias & Wilson and Kao’s achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication, both in 1965.

The James Clerk Maxwell Foundation (Registered Charity SC015003) was formed in Scotland in 1977 to honour  one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived: James Clerk Maxwell.

In 1993 the Foundation acquired James Clerk Maxwell's birthplace in Edinburgh (see brochure).  This elegant Georgian house, after period restoration, displays a growing collection of heritage material associated with James Clerk Maxwell, his associates and family circle.

The James Clerk Maxwell Foundation's objectives are:-

  • To provide in the birthplace an attractive and stimulating environment for the mathematicians, scientists and engineers
           from all over the world to meet in seminars, symposia, workshops and courses.
  • To display the history of Maxwell's family and his many technical advances, as a simple museum, within his birthplace.
  • To develop programmes to encourage young students to become  mathematicians, scientists and engineers. 
           Research and travel grants are made to young scientists.  James Clerk Maxwell prizes are awarded.
  • To increase public awareness of the foundations laid by James Clerk Maxwell for the increasingly pervasive
           technologies of today, e.g. through meetings, exhibitions,  lectures, and cultural events.

We welcome you to our web site and invite you to explore it, we hope that you will find something of interest about James Clerk Maxwell  - The man who changed everything.

Mark Lazarowicz, former Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North and Leith,
 tabled Early Day Motion 2554 (Session 07-08) in the UK Parliament as follows

That this House welcomes the unveiling of a statue to the great Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell, taking place in George Street, Edinburgh on 25th November 2008; recognises that Clerk Maxwell is one of the most influential scientists of all time, his discovery of the nature of electromagnetic waves paving the way for radio, television, radar and the mobile telephone; congratulates the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the many donors who made the monument possible; believes it is right there should be public recognition of the achievements of Clerk Maxwell in the city of his birth; and hopes that wider appreciation of the works of great Scottish scientists and engineers will inspire new generations to seek to follow in their footsteps.

See this article about the statue, reproduced by kind permission of The Scotsman

2006 marked the 175th Anniversary of James Clerk Maxwell’s birth -
click here for further information about the special events held in his honour.

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