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

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                                This theory as developed by M.M W. Weber* & C. Neumann* is 
exceedingly ingenious, and wonderfully comprehensive in its 
application to the phenomena of statical electricity, current electricity, electromagnetic attractions, induction of currents 
and diamagnetic phenomena, and it comes to us with the 
more authority, as it has served to guide the speculations 
of one who has made so great an advance in the practical 
part of electric science, <s>and has<\s> both by introducing a consistent 
system of units in electrical measurement, and by actually 
determining electrical quantities with an accuracy hitherto 

(2) The mechanical difficulties, however, which are involved in the 
assumption of particles acting at a distance with forces which 
depend on their velocities are such as to prevent me from 
considering this theory as an ultimate one, though it <s>mag<\s> may 
have been, and may yet be useful in leading to the coordination 
of phenomena. 

I have therefore preferred to seek an explanation of the 
facts in another direction, by supposing them to be produced 
by actions which go on in the surrounding medium as 
well as in the excited bodies, and endeavouring to explain the 
action between distant bodies without assuming the existence of 
forces capable of acting directly at sensible distances. 

(3) The theory I propose may therefore be called a theory of 
the <u>Electromagnetic Field<\u>, because it <s>is occupied with<\s> has to 
do with the space in the neighbourhood of the electric or 
magnetic bodies, and it may be called a <u>Dynamical<\u> Theory, 
because it assumes that in that space there is matter in 
motion, by which the observed electromagnetic phenomena 
are produced. 

*Leipzic Transactions 18 p. Taylors Scientific Memoirs Vol V and XIV Hale's Saxonum 1858 
+ "Explicare tentatur" &c

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James Clerk Maxwell
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Cite as

J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’, 1864. From The Royal Society, PT/72/7



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