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Video Documentaries About James Clerk Maxwell

Our featured video presentation is James Clerk Maxwell - A Sense of Wonder.

2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of one of the greatest scientific papers of all time, in which James Clerk Maxwell described his transformative theory of electromagnetism. This video celebrates his life, his poetry, his creative genius as a mathematician and scientist and his love of Galloway, told through the journey of poet and writer Rab Wilson and featuring conversations with contemporary scientists, music, poetry and songs.

Produced with support from the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation and the Dr David Summers Charitable Trust. Commissioned by Wigtown Festival Company.


James Clerk Maxwell - What's the go o' that? This video by the Glasgow Science Centre describes Maxwell's work in a very accessible way.

Also Scotland's Einstein by Prof Catherine Heymans and Prof Martin Hendry at the Wigtown Book Festival 2022, ...

... and Maxwell's Light by Prof Tom Stevenson at the Orkney International Science Festival 2021.

Presentations by James Rautio, founder of Sonnet Software and one of our Trustees.
Life of James Clerk Maxwell (YouTube), recorded at Nanyang Univeristy in Singapore.
Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory Without Equations (YouTube), recorded by the IEEE MTT San Diego Chapter.

Inspiring Brilliance: Celebrating Maxwell's Genius and Legacy, a conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Maxwell's Equations (the conference report is available from RSE). The video presentations in the section below are available from RSE

All presentations are on YouTube.

Maxwell's Equations: The Tip of an Iceberg Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS FRSE
Maxwell, Field Theory and the Road to Relativity and Quantum Theory Sir Peter Knight FRS
Clerk Maxwell's Influence on Mathematics Sir Michael Atiyah OM FRS HonFRSE HonFREng
The Impact of Maxwell's Work on Colour and Statistical Physics Professor Malcolm Longair CBE FRS FRSE
The Impact on Astronomy of Maxwell's Adams Prize Essay Professor Carl Murray
Maxwell, colour vision and the future of digital communication (Demonstation) Peter Reid and Professor Harald Haas
The Impact on Engineering of Maxwell's Articles on Structural Mechanics Professor Iain McLeod
The Impact on Control Theory and Cybernetics of Maxwell's Paper On Governors Professor Rodolphe Sepulchre
The Impact of Maxwell's Demon on Information Theory and Computing Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRAS HonFBAASc

James Clerk Maxwell: The Man Who Made the Modern World: A 2015 BBC TV documentary in which Professor Iain Stewart reveals the story behind the Scottish physicist who was Einstein's hero. The programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer. (Please note, for contractual reasons BBC video material is not available to viewers located outside of the UK.)

BBC programme web page with short video clips from the programme

Opening passage and The White Across The Blue from: In Time of Light Two exerts from a work-in-progress by musician P J Moore. This celebrates James Clerk Maxwell's ‘A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field' completed in the summer of 1864 and published in 1865.

The Unification of Electricity and Magnetism Episode 8 of Professor Brian Cox's series explains how Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell showed that electricity and magnetism are two facets of the same thing.

Maxwell and the Old Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge Simon Schaffer describes the work of Maxwell and his generation, it is part of a longer video called: A tour round the Old Cavendish Laboratory.

Professor Raymond Flood's lecture on James Clerk Maxwell from the conference 19th Century Mathematical Physics held jointly by Gresham College and the British Society of the History of Mathematics.

Maxwell's Equations and Electromagnetic Waves: Part 1 and Part 2 Professor Ramamurti Shankar's Yale lectures

Maxwell's Equations Professor Greg Durgin of Georgia Tech

Sesquicentenario de las Ecuaciones de Maxwell Professor José Ignacio Íñiguez-de-la-Torre, Salamanca, Spain
Lecture from minute 23:30 onwards.

For audio material please see our Documentary Audio page.

The JCM Foundation is a charity formed in Scotland in 1977. (Registered Charity SC015003)
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