Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 July 2019

Experiments of Thought

Experiments of Thought

(p.383) Chapter Forty-Seven Experiments of Thought
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter focusses on James Clerk Maxwell, who at age 14 produced a scientific paper that was read to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A few years later it was followed up by a second paper, ‘On the Equilibrium of Elastic Solids’, resulting from an experiment where he shone a beam of polarized light into a twisted cylinder of gelatin. The then 18-year-old Maxwell discovered that as the light shone through the stressed jelly, the strain patterns became visible to the naked eye, and had thereby invented a technique widely used by engineers until it was eventually superseded by computer modelling. While Maxwell never achieved the kind of celebrity accorded to Newton or Darwin, his achievements were not lost on his successors. Twentieth-century physicists have described Maxwell as among ‘the most penetrating intellects of all time’.

Keywords:   James Clerk Maxwell, scientists, equilibrium, elastic solids, strain, computer modeling

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .