James Clerk Maxwell's work on electromagnetism forms the foundation for today's telecommunications, and he is also famed for his pioneering work on colour photography and holography. In 2006 he was voted the greatest Scottish inventor of all time in the National Library of Scotland's Scottish Science Hall of Fame. Maxwell held professorships in natural philosophy (Marischal College, Aberdeen), physics and astronomy (King's College, London) and experimental physics (Cambridge).
The apparatus depicted in this portrait was designed by Lord Kelvin for the work of the British Association Committee which defined the electrical units of measurement. When Maxwell joined the committee, he made much use of the apparatus.
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The Royal Society of Edinburgh
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More on this painting
gift from the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, 1991