By Oliver Heaviside
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:September 2011
Original Publication Year:1899
Subjects: Theoretical Physics and Mathematical Physics , History of Science and Technology
Oliver Heaviside (1850–1925) was a scientific maverick and a gifted self-taught electrical engineer, physicist and mathematician. He patented the co-axial cable, pioneered the use of complex numbers for circuit analysis, and reworked Maxwell's field equations into the more concise format we use today. In 1891 the Royal Society made him a Fellow for his mathematical descriptions of electromagnetic phenomena. Along with Arthur Kennelly, he also predicted the existence of the ionosphere. Often dismissed by his contemporaries, his work achieved wider recognition when he received the inaugural Faraday Medal in 1922. Published in 1899, the second of three volumes of Heaviside's collected work argues that physical problems (such as the age of the Earth) drive mathematical ideas, and then goes on to compare the propagation of electromagnetic waves with physical analogues.