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Great Physicists

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Background info: the following quote is from a major physics paper published before the era of Quantum Mechanics. It was the first time the concept of "wave" was applied to the concept of "light."

[We can scarceley avoid the conclusion that]light consists of the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena.

The first to answer all or any combination or any one of the following earns points as described below:

1. The Author (10 points)

2. The title of the paper (15 points)

3. The year it was published (20 points)

4. Where it was originally published (25 points)

I've changed my mind and made the time period for submitting answers open-ended. Guesses must be from memory, but you have as many tries as you wish. Honor system, no googling or otherwise searching the internet. Game on!

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Id guess Maxwell, although the quote says 'we' implying more than one author. I dont have a clue about the rest so I'll say the 'treastise on electricity and magneticism' which is the only work of his I know.

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Brief biographical notes

James Clerk Maxwell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1831. Until the age of eight, his formal education consisted of uninspired tutoring involving beatings when he objected to, for example, drills in Latin grammar. He later attended the Edinburgh Academy, living with his paternal aunt in Edinburgh, where, among other things, he was labeled "dafty" by the school kids due to his general wierdness of dress and personality and, at the age of fourteen, wrote a paper describing a novel method for constructing ovals.

The paper landed him entrance into the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under the undying attention of, unlike the three friends at Patrick Henry in Atlas, a philosopher and a physicist who turn out to be sworn enemies.

The next step for Maxwell was Cambridge, where he studied under the illustrious William Hopkins and perfected his mathematical skill set. Upon graduating, he took up a professorship of natural philosophy at Mischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland, where as is often the case with great scientists, he was not successful as a teacher.

He later took up a professorship of natural philosophy at King's College in 1860, leaving the society of little great merit or demerit at Aberdeen for London life. After five incredibly creative years at London, he decided he had enough dealings with pupils, and found "the total oblivion of them for definite intervals [a] necessary condition of doing them justice...", so he retired to Glenlair, the name he gave to his childhood home in Edinburgh.

On the paper

Light as traveling electromagnetic waves: it was a simple idea, yet its implications for science and technology were still being realized a hundred years later.

Maxwell, among other great insights, was the first to make this incredible connection when in On Physical Lines of Force, published in London in 1861, he wrote: "We can scarcely avoid the conclusion that light consists of the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena." [italics his]


1. Great Physicists: the life and times of leading physicists from Galileo to Hawking, Cropper, William H., Oxford University Press, Inc., 2001.

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