Start reading Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Forbes , Basil Mahon
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $12.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $7.79
You Save: $18.16 (70%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.79  
Hardcover $16.41  
Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Adventure," an engaging, interactive dive into the versatile actor's life (available in hardcover and Kindle book).

Book Description

The story of two brilliant nineteenth-century scientists who discovered the electromagnetic field, laying the groundwork for the amazing technological and theoretical breakthroughs of the twentieth century

Two of the boldest and most creative scientists of all time were Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). This is the story of how these two men - separated in age by forty years - discovered the existence of the electromagnetic field and devised a radically new theory which overturned the strictly mechanical view of the world that had prevailed since Newton's time.

The authors, veteran science writers with special expertise in physics and engineering, have created a lively narrative that interweaves rich biographical detail from each man's life with clear explanations of their scientific accomplishments. Faraday was an autodidact, who overcame class prejudice and a lack of mathematical training to become renowned for his acute powers of experimental observation, technological skills, and prodigious scientific imagination. James Clerk Maxwell was highly regarded as one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of the age. He made an enormous number of advances in his own right. But when he translated Faraday's ideas into mathematical language, thus creating field theory, this unified framework of electricity, magnetism and light became the basis for much of later, 20th-century physics.

Faraday's and Maxwell's collaborative efforts gave rise to many of the technological innovations we take for granted today - from electric power generation to television, and much more. Told with panache, warmth, and clarity, this captivating story of their greatest work - in which each played an equal part - and their inspiring lives will bring new appreciation to these giants of science.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's just the best book of its kind I have ever read, and I just hugely enjoyed it. Couldn't put it down. [Their discovery] was a fabulous human achievement."
Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, on CNBC's "Squawk Box"

“Compelling. …A lively account of the men and their times and a brilliant exposition of the scientific circumstances and significance of their work.”
Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“The life and science of these two giants of nineteenth-century physics is beautifully documented and narrated in this riveting book.”
Eric D’Hoker, Distinguished Professor of Physics, UCLA; past president, Aspen Center for Physics

“Perhaps the names of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell aren’t as well known as Newton or Einstein, but they should be. The book traces their amazing collaboration.... But as equally fascinating as the tale of the discovery is that of the men behind it.... A fascinating true tale of the lives of two essential men of physics!” —AstroGuyz
 
“Blends science history and lively biography. …Accessible writing and a feel for character make this an interesting look at two scientists whose work defined an era and set the course for modern physics.”
Publishers Weekly

“Fans of biographies, as well as anyone interested in science and technology…will enjoy reading about these ‘two modest and genial men whose combined endeavors changed the world.’”
Library Journal

About the Author

Nancy Forbes is an experienced science writer with over twenty-five publications in the area of science and technology including Imitation of Life:  How Biology Is Inspiring Computing. She has also served as a contributing editor for The Industrial Physicist of the American Institute of Physics, and IEEE's Computing in Science and Engineering. Currently, she works for the US Department of Defense.

Basil Mahon is the author of The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell and Oliver Heaviside: Maverick Mastermind of Electricity, among other publications. With degrees in engineering and statistics, Mahon was formerly an officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and until his retirement worked for the British Government Statistical Service.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Combining two biographies, those of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, is a good device for telling the story of an era in science. The subjects' working lives span most of the 19th century. Though they came from different backgrounds, the two had quite a bit in common. They were incredibly hard-working. The authors go out of their way to tell how genuinely kind they were. They had a true knack for making friends and avoiding long-lasting enmities. The third virtue was of course incredible intelligence. But it seems hardly likely that Englishman of the 19th century alone her were more gifted than other populations and times. Something about that epoch allowed genius to flourish, to reveal itself fully. That epoch is the subject of this rather remarkable book.

Faraday was born as of a poor second generation blacksmith from the North Country. He had the good fortune to arrive in London at a time when the city was intellectually very alive. He could bounce between low-paying jobs giving people a chance to notice and take advantage of his talent. One of the most fortunate postings was as a book binder. The work was not mentally demanding, but it put young Faraday in contact with books. He loved to read, and quickly became quite well informed. It also put him in such with the customers for the books, some of whom took note of the young man's alertness and talents. It was not too long before he became an apprentice to the famous scientist Humphry Davy, who brought him along rather quickly

Among Faraday's attributes was being meticulous, faulting himself deeply when he failed to put out work of the quality he expected of himself. He was kind and generous, and extremely apologetic when he accidentally gave offense, as he did one a couple of occasions.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can't find the proper words to describe the emotions that were felt while reading the book. As an electrical engineer, I was familiar with the concepts behind the story. But learning how it was discovered, shows how great these men were. Maybe for the general reader, the book will not trigger these emotions. I always remember the joke among our classmates while we were studying Maxwell's theory: "And God said... Maxwell's equations... and there was light". I even have a t-shirt with that joke! It summarizes the beauty of these discoveries. The book made me want to travel in time to see first hand how these discoveries were made!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the very best of scientific biographies April 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The authors succeed at using the biographical details to describe the scientists manner of thinking, and in doing so convey perfectly the concepts that we know. A masterpiece on the initial development of electromagnetism!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fascinating Men Who Discovered Electromagnetism August 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is both a biography and the history of the development of an idea or, perhaps, a succession of related ideas. The two men, Michael Faraday (1791—1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831--1879), were together responsible for some of the greatest scientific discoveries in history: the relation between electricity, magnetism, and light and the discovery of something that cannot be known to the senses---the electromagnetic field. Although Faraday and Maxwell were separated by a generation and never worked together, this book makes it clear that their discoveries were a joint project.

The two men came from very different backgrounds. Faraday, the son of a blacksmith, had very little formal education. Early on, he became fascinated by electricity and magnetism and became convinced that there was some relation between the two forces. He educated himself by reading everything he could in those fields and in the field of chemistry and then devised experiments to further his understanding of matter and energy. He invented the first electric motor and the first electric generator and hypothesized the existence of an electromagnetic force field. His weakness in mathematics, a handicap imposed on him by his lack of formal education, made it difficult for him to advance his theories and have them appreciated by the scientific community of his time. But his strengths were his genius, dogged determination, and self-discipline. He recorded the details of every experiment and published the results---successes and failures alike. The publication of this work, "Experimental Researches in Electricity," would prove to be both the inspiriation for and foundation of the work of the next genius, James Clerk Maxwell.

Maxwell, unlike Faraday, was born into a social class of privilege.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field is a readable and engaging account of the two pioneers of the subject and how they developed as individuals and developed their respective theories. Electromagnetics and the field theory that came with it is one of the most important development in physics and allowed us to move from the theory of classical physics to what is today modern physics. Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon give the reader an account of the evolution of thinking on the subject by writing the overlapping biographies of Faraday and Maxwell. It is engaging, readable and gives the reader a sense of the subject by discussing the physical results that both characters and in particular Faraday personally discovered.

In reading the book one gets a sense of the character of each and where there strengths and weaknesses lied. Faraday, born in 1791 was an incredible experimental physicist. He had the fortune early in his career to work with Davy who was a skilled experimenter as well. One gets a sense of the totally open nature of the subject during that era and how it was wide open to be explored. Faradays growing stature and influence is documented and the reader is familiarized with the deep insight Faraday had about discussing the phenomenon he was observing via a field theory rather than the action at a distance models that continental europe was focused on. The historical statements that are documented in the book give a sense of how visionary Faraday was. Despite his remarkable qualities as an experimental scientist he was not mathematically trained and the formalizing of the theory into something along the lines of newtons theory of classical mechanics was lacking. Maxwell, the Scottish prodigy, was to come along and bridge the gap.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for anyone interested in 19th century developments...
An excellent book for history of science buffs. Notable regarding details on Maxwell's ingenious development of physical analogs for the behavior of electrical and magnetic fluxes.
Published 8 days ago by Anonymous
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read. Long on history (which is truly fascinating) ...
Great read. Long on history (which is truly fascinating) but short on theory of electromagnetism or physics in general. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Vladimir Zuzukin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read.
Published 11 days ago by Frank in Dublin, Ireland
5.0 out of 5 stars If you loved James Glieck's 'Genius', you will love this too.
Ask a physicist to name their top three physicists and James Clerk Maxwell comes into the mix along with Einstein and Newton. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Erin Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting. Well written. I am learning a lot about the science and...
I have not finished this book yet, but am about half way through and really enjoying it. One of my favorite things is reading about early scientists before they got so stuffy and... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Stephen P. Suelzle
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a biography.
This book is more than a biography of two outstanding scientific geniuses that changed the World forever. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Alvaro Pastor
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting but dull
Published 21 days ago by arthur pesch
4.0 out of 5 stars Hunting for understanding
I was looking for an explanation of these concepts in the words of the men themselves. Faraday's work was explained the best. Read more
Published 21 days ago by leon e buckwalter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book!
Published 23 days ago by Alex Sanders
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book about the life of Faraday and Maxwell, but so-so about the...
This is a great book about the subject of electromagnetism and the history behind it. It tells in details the history of Faraday and Maxwell, two truly scientists that everyone... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Daniel Ribas Tandeitnik
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category