Maxwell, Hertz, the Maxwellians and the early history of electromagnetic waves

D. L. Sengupta, T. K. Sarkar

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In 1864 Maxwell conjectured from his famous equations that light is a transverse electromagnetic wave. Maxwell's conjecture does not imply that he believed light could be generated electromagnetically; in fact, he was silent about electromagnetic waves and their generation and detection. It took almost a quarter of a century before Hertz discovered electromagnetic waves and his brilliant experiments confirmed Maxwell's theory. Maxwell's ideas and equations were expanded, modified and made understandable by the efforts of Hertz, FitzGerald, Lodge and Heaviside, the last three being referred to as the Maxwellians. It is found that historical facts do not support the views proposed by some in the past that Hertz's epoch making findings and contributions were "significantly influenced by the Maxwellians".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-17
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, AP-S International Symposium (Digest)
StatePublished - 2001
Event2001 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium- Historical Overview of Development of Wireless- - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Jul 8 2001Jul 13 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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