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About The Maxwell Society

 

History of The Maxwell Society

The Maxwell Society was founded around 1935 by Sir Edward Victor Appleton, Wheatstone Professor of Physics at the University of London, 1924-1936, and was named in honour of the pioneering physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, Professor of Natural Philosophy at King's College London, between 1860 and 1865.It was established to promote knowledge of physics among students of King's. Events included lectures delivered by staff at King's or by distinguished guest speakers on a wide variety of subjects including nuclear physics, ultrasonics, radiobiology, quantum dynamics and aspects of applied science including the development of the computer and television. Members also undertook study visits to research laboratories and technical and manufacturing facilities, and organised other, more occasional, events and social activities.

The records of the Maxwell Society at King's College London consist of minutes, correspondence, programmes and signature books, 1939-1970. These notably include the manuscript minutes of the Maxwell Society, 1947-1950, mostly summarising the title and content of individual Society lectures on subjects ranging from the development of the calculating machine, to 'reasoning automata' or the early theory of intelligent computers, and to the possibility of interplanetary travel, a talk given by Arthur Charles Clarke, the best-selling science author, an alumnus of King's, who was then Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. The minutes notably cover the period of the Secretaryship of Peter Ware Higgs, a leading authority on the behaviour of elementary particles. Correspondence, mainly comprising lecture invitations and organisation and other more minor Society business, 1939-1970; accounts, 1939-1940; Secretary's annual reports, 1939-1946, 1952-1958; lecture attendance register, 1941-1948; programmes including bulletins, 1951-1964, relating to Physics Department visits to Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, the United Kingdom universities' staff and students residential studies venue established after World War Two; presentation copy of Cyril Domb ed., Clerk Maxwell and modern science (London, 1963).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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