After James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), British outstanding physicist, who made fundamental contributions to electromagnetic theory and the kinetic theory of gases.
Fr.: pont de Maxwell
Fr.: division de Maxwell
A division in Saturn's ring in the outer part of the C ring. It is about 87500 km from Saturn's center and is 500 km wide. The gap was discovered in 1980 by Voyager 1.
Fr.: démon de Maxwell
A → thought experiment meant to raise questions about the possibility of violating the → second law of thermodynamics. A wall separates two compartments filled with gas. A little "demon" sits by a tiny trap door in the wall. He is able to sort hot (faster) molecules from cold molecules without expending energy, thus bringing about a general decrease in → entropy and violating the second law of thermodynamics. The → paradox is explained by the fact that such a demon would still need to use energy to observe and sort the molecules. Thus the total entropy of the system still increases.
Fr.: équations de Maxwell
A set of four fundamental equations that describe the electric and
magnetic fields arising from varying electric charges and magnetic fields,
electric currents, charge distributions,
and how those fields change in time. In their vector differential form,
these equations are:
→ maxwell. It should be emphasized that the equations originally published by James Clerk Maxwell in 1873 (in A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism) were 20 in number, had 20 variables, and were in scalar form. The German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (1857-1894) reduced them to 12 scalar equations (1884). It was the English mathematician/physicist Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925) who expressed Maxwell's equations in vector form using the notations of → gradient, → divergence, and → curl of a vector, thus simplifying them to the present 4 equations (1886). Before Einstein these equations were known as Maxwell-Heaviside-Hertz equations, Einstein (1940) popularized the name "Maxwell's Equations;" → equation.
Fr.: règle de Maxwell
Every part of a deformable electric circuit tends to move in such a direction as to enclose the maximum magnetic flux.
Fr.: distribution de Maxwell-Boltzmann
The distribution law for kinetic energies (or, equivalently, speeds) of molecules of an ideal gas in equilibrium at a given temperature.
Fr.: incompatibilité entre Newton et Maxwell
The incompatibility between → Galilean relativity and Mawxell's theory of → electromagnetism. Maxwell demonstrated that electrical and magnetic fields propagate as waves in space. The propagation speed of these waves in a vacuum is given by the expression c = (ε0.μ0)-0.5, where ε0 is the electric → permittivity and μ0 is the magnetic → permeability, both → physical constants. Maxwell noticed that this value corresponds exactly to the → speed of light in vacuum. This implies, however, that the speed of light must also be a universal constant, just as are the electrical and the magnetic field constants! The problem is that → Maxwell's equations do not relate this velocity to an absolute background and specify no → reference frame against which it is measured. If we accept that the principle of relativity not only applies to mechanics, then it must also be true that Maxwell's equations apply in any → inertial frame, with the same values for the universal constants. Therefore, the speed of light should be independent of the movement of its source. This, however, contradicts the vector addition of velocities, which is a verified principle within → Newtonian mechanics. Einstein was bold enough to conclude that the principle of Newtonian relativity and Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism are incompatible! In other words, the → Galilean transformation and the → Newtonian relativity principle based on this transformation were wrong. There exists, therefore, a new relativity principle, → Einsteinian relativity, for both mechanics and electrodynamics that is based on the → Lorentz transformation.