Celebrating an Unsung Hero of Science

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2009 marks the anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest scientists of all time.

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Are we calling “Charles Darwin” a great scientist? Sorry, no (although he did make some valuable scientific observations, it’s his main conclusions that were so wrong). Instead, we’re referring to James Clerk Maxwell, and 2009 is the 178th anniversary of his birth. BBC News is noting the accomplishments of Maxwell, who is one of the greatest physicists of all time. But you don’t have to take our word for it; in the words of Albert Einstein, “One scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell.”

The BBC’s Giancarlo Rinaldi reports that, four years ago, scientists voted Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism into a tie for the top equation of all time; he also placed third in a poll for the top physicist of all time.

Rinaldi is covering a new statue of Maxwell that sits on George Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, home of Edinburgh Academy and the University of Edinburgh where Maxwell attended.

“It is quite remarkable that there is not more recognition of James Clerk Maxwell in either the public consciousness of great scientists or, indeed, until now in the shape of a permanent monument in his home city,” said Sir Michael Atiyah, a former president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.1

“[I]n scientific circles his achievements stand comfortably beside any other greats of the field,” Rinaldi notes. “The mobile phone, satellite communications, television and radio were all made possible by his work.”2

What isn’t reported is that Maxwell was a Christian who took a stand against evolution and atheistic models of cosmology. The fact that he was able to so brilliantly revolutionize our understanding of physics is a powerful reminder that one can embrace creation and still develop credible scientific theories—something that didn’t used to surprise anyone. Now, evolutionists argue that only they can conduct good science. But examples like James Clerk Maxwell stand in their way.

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  1. Giancarlo Rinaldi, “The Science World’s Unsung Hero?,” BBC News, November 25, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/7746365.stm.
  2. Ibid.


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