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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
MAXWELL, Professor James Clerk (1831-1879)
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
3 volumes


Name of creator(s)

Maxwell, James Clerk Maxwell, 1831-1879, Professor of Physics

Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1831; student, University of Edinburgh, 1847-1850; Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1850; Trinity College, Cambridge, 1850-1854; Fellow of Trinity, 1855; Professor of Natural Philosophy, Marischal College, Aberdeen, 1856-1860; Professor of Natural Philosophy, King's College London, 1860-1865; private studies, 1865-1871; Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge, 1871-1879; died, 1879.

Publications: On the stability of the motion of Saturn's rings (Cambridge, 1859); Introductory lecture on experimental physics (London and Cambridge, 1871); A treatise on electricity and magnetism , 2 vols (1873); edited The electrical researches of the Honourable Henry Cavendish (Cambridge, 1879)

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to King's College London by the executors of Sir George Greenhill, 1927.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Collection comprising three manuscript notebooks of theoretical problems relating to mechanics compiled by James Clerk Maxwell mainly during his employment at King's College London, including exam questions on aspects of mechanics and geometry, 1860-1865; problems on the collision of elastic spheres and the dynamic relation between other solid bodies; the refraction of light; the relationship between heat and volume in materials; attraction between particles, 1860-1873; notes on the works of leading authorities on mathematics and physics including Arthur Cayley, Franz Neumann and Siméon Poisson, 1867-1873; bibliography of textbooks mainly on mechanics, [1860-1865]; list of scientific instrument suppliers, [1860-1865]; outline of the contents of Maxwell's Treatise on electricity and magnetism (1873).

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Summary guide entry online and due to be published in hard copy.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London College Archives holds further entries relating to Maxwell's career in King's College Council Minutes (Ref: KA/C/M), In-Correspondence (Ref: K/IC), photographs (Ref: K/PHOTO), King's College Maxwell Society papers (Ref: KSM), and papers relating to the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation (Ref: K/PP 45).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: Dictionary of national biography; Cyril Domb ed., Clerk Maxwell and modern science (London, 1963); The manuscript papers of British scientists (HMC, London, 1982); National Register of Archives; British Library OPAC. Entry compiled by Geoff Browell.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

3 August 2000


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  • Bibliographies
  • Educational evaluation
  • Electricity
  • Equipment
  • Examinations
  • Geometry
  • Magnetism
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics
  • Optics
  • Physics education
  • Science education
  • Scientific equipment
  • Secondary documents
  • Student evaluation
  • Thermodynamics

Personal names

  • Cayley, Arthur, 1821-1895, Mathematician
  • Maxwell, James Clerk Maxwell, 1831-1879, Physicist
  • Neumann, Franz, 1798-1895, Physicist
  • Poisson, SimĂ©on, 1781-1840, Mathematician

Corporate names

  • King's College London College Archives

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