James Clerk Maxwell


Portrait of James Maxwell by Jack Kamen

Jack Kamen Artwork

James Maxwell was a Scottish mathematical physicist. Maxwell explored many subjects and was the first person to demonstrate color photography. He is best known for his explanation of the relationship between electricity and magnetism, and his prediction that electromagnetic waves could travel though space. His work led directly to the development of the wireless telegraph, radio and television.

Carving his own path

His first tutor felt he was slow at learning and he did not perform well on his exams. Despite these difficulties, he pursued learning and published his first scientific paper when he was just 14 years old. His talents began to be recognized while he was studying at the University of Cambridge and his work is now considered as influential as that of Newton and Einstein.

Explore Additional Portraits in the Collection

These portraits were commissioned by Dean Kamen for the SEE Science Center.  The artist is Jack Kamen (1920-2008), an American graphic artist and Dean’s father. The series was created to inspire children through the stories of scientists and engineers whose work changed the world.  While many of the pieces represent men, the duo worked hard to identify female scientists.  Had Jack not passed, their goal was to continue to increase representation within the collection.  The original artwork is on display at the SEE Science Center in the Jack Kamen Portrait Gallery.