J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’

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                                <u>Phil. Trans.<\u>
Read Dec 8 1864
VIII A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field 
By J. Clerk Maxwell. F.R.S. 
Received October 27 — 1863<s>3<\s> 
Part I . Introductory (1) The most obvious mechanical phenomenon in electrical and 
magnetical experiments is the mutual action by which bodies 
in certain states set each other in motion while still at a 
sensible distance from each other. The first step, therefore, 
in reducing these phenomena into scientific form, is to ascertain 
the magnitude and direction of the force acting between the bodies, 
and when it is found that this force depends in a certain way 
upon the relative position of the bodies and on their electric or 
magnetic condition, it seems at first sight natural to explain the 
facts by assuming the existence of something either at rest or in 
motion in each body, constituting its electric or magnetic 
state, and capable of acting at a distance according to mathematical 
laws. 

In this way mathematical theories of statical electricity, of 
magnetism, of the mechanical action between conductors carrying 
currents, and of the induction of currents have been formed. In 
these theories the force acting between the two bodies is <s>considered<\s> treated with 
reference only to the condition of the bodies and their relative position, 
and without any express consideration of the surrounding medium. 

These theories assume, more or less explicitly the existence of substanc[es?] 
the particles of which have the property of acting on one another at a 
distance by attraction or repulsion. The most complete development 
of a theory of this kind is that of M.W. Weber*, who has made one 
theory include electrostatic and electromagnetic phenomena. 

In doing so, however, he has found it necessary to assume that 
the force between two electric particles depends on their relative 
velocity, as well as on their distance. 

* Elektrodyanimische 
<s>Elektrisch<\s> Massbestimmungen 
                            
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Manuscript details

Author
James Clerk Maxwell
Reference
PT/72/7
Series
PT
Date
1864
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J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’, 1864. From The Royal Society, PT/72/7

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