A talk by Dr John Arthur FRSE FREng FinstP FIET SMIEE, Trustee, James Clerk Maxwell Foundation
The talk will start with who James Clerk Maxwell was and the origins of his electromagnetic equations. It will show some of the difficulties he had with the mathematics of the day and how, from there, the original cumbersome equations were gradually shaped into the set most commonly seen today. But even now there is confusion and misunderstanding about some of the key concepts, such as questions concerning the roles and relative usefulness of D and E and, even more so, B and H. We therefore set about clarifying the essential fields. As to the usefulness, or otherwise, of magnetic poles as a concept, we investigate an alternative view of magnetism which leads to the idea of replacing two separate electromagnetic fields with just one composite field. This requires a change to the treatment of Maxwell’s equations which has some surprising benefits, as will be demonstrated, ending up with how they reduce to just one very simple equation.
Speaker's biography: Although born and bred in Edinburgh, John Arthur took a degree in physics and mathematics at the University of Toronto before returning to complete a PhD in physics from the University of Edinburgh where he then worked for several years in post-doctoral research. Thereafter he moved from academia to industry, where he spent the greater part of his career specialising in high technology developments for communications and radar in areas covering signal processing, surface acoustic waves, microwaves and electronics. He has published a number of articles, and more recently a recent book, on electromagnetic theory. Since 2012 he has been a trustee of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation based at 14 India Street, Edinburgh, the birthplace of James Clerk Maxwell.