Oliver Heaviside--a first rate oddity--sage in solitude

Authors: John S. Belrose, PhD Cantab

Source: FERMAT, Volume 02, Communication 5, Mar_Apr, 2014

Abstract: The very possibility of wireless communications are founded on the work of James Clerk Maxwell, whose name is synonymous with electromagnetic waves and the basis of wireless. But not realized by many is that the four equations that we use today under the heading “Maxwell’s Equations” were written by Oliver Heaviside, who put them in vector form. Maxwell’s Equations (of which there were many more than four, some 20) were written in terms of several different variables, fields and potentials, as well as current density, and they were in Cartesian Format, with each component stated separately. Heaviside was convinced that the formulation should be in terms of fields (E and H) rather than potentials and in general the vector rotation which makes the symmetry and excellence of the equations so clear. Every engineer is aware of Maxwell’s equations, the four mathematical expressions, that explain the full behavior of electromagnetism ---and grace many engineering school sweatshirt!!

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Oliver Heaviside--a first rate oddity--sage in solitude