Celebrating Scotland’s Einstein

Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Professor Catherine Heymans, and black hole hunter Professor Martin Hendry are teaming up to celebrate James Clerk Maxwell – one of the greatest scientists of all time.

James Clerk Maxwell was born in Edinburgh and raised in Dumfries and Galloway. The 19th century scientist and mathematician is credited with many achievements, including the theories that explain light and electromagnetism, being the father of electrical engineering and even creating the first colour image. Maxwell’s revolutionary understanding of energy paved the way for technology that is fundamental to life today, from bluetooth to broadband, from mobile phones to microwave ovens. He also laid the foundations for Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Professors Heymans and Hendry will share the life, work and legacy of James Clerk Maxwell at an online event on 10 March which is part of Big Bang, the Dumfries and Galloway festival of space and science. The event will be broadcasted from 14 India Street Edinburgh, the birthplace of James Clerk Maxwell, which is now home to a museum containing portraits, manuscripts and books associated with Maxwell, his family and scientific contemporaries. They will also lead a discussion about Maxwell on 11 April as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival, which will be held at the National Museum of Scotland.

Professor Heymans commented:

Martin and I are really looking forward to explaining James Clerk Maxwell’s amazing scientific discoveries, and what they mean for us today. And we'll be bringing things right up-to-date and showing people some of the latest discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics that have been made possible because of his amazing, influential work back in the late 1800s.