A treatise on electricity and magnetism. Vol. 2. Reprint of the unabr. 3rd ed. (English) Zbl 1049.01022

Oxford Classic Texts in the Physical Sciences. Oxford: Clarendon Press (ISBN 0-19-850374-1/pbk). xxiv, 507 p. (1998).
“It is of great advantage to the student of any subject to read the original memoirs on that subject, for science is always most completely assimilated when it is in the nascent state, ...” Vol. 1, p. xi. These words still ring true, and apply to all the founders of electricity and magnetism as well as to Maxwell himself. However, there are traps for new players: mathematics has moved on since Maxwell’s time, the original “theorems” of Gauss and Green, to mention just two, have undergone scrutiny and been proved under correct conditions; the place of quaternions has been decided (mainly the sidelines, not the centre); new theories explaining contested phenomena have arisen. There is no historical survey attached to either of these volumes, and that fact decreases their value.
For the original (Oxford, 1873) see JFM 05.0556.01, for the third ed. (New York: Dover, 1954) see Zbl 0056.20612.


01A75 Collected or selected works; reprintings or translations of classics
78-03 History of optics and electromagnetic theory