Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Maxwell's Equations
Wednesday Afternoon, August 6th 2014


The Life of James Clerk Maxwell

Presented by James C. Rautio, Sonnet Software, North Syracuse, NY, USA

Abstract: James Clerk Maxwell stands shoulder to shoulder with Newton and Einstein, yet even those of us who have spent decades working with Maxwell's equations are almost totally unfamiliar with his life and times. This presentation, from the view point of a microwave engineer, draws on many sources in providing an understanding of James Maxwell himself. What was Maxwell like as an infant? What was the tragedy at eight years old that profoundly influenced his life? What unique means oftransportation did young Maxwell use to escape a cruel tutor? What memorable event occurred on his first day of school? When did he publish his first papers, and what were they about? What did Maxwell have to do with the rings of Saturn? Why did he lose his job as a professor? Why did he have a hard time getting another job? What was his wife like? What is Maxwell's legacy to us? The answers to these questions provide insight into Maxwell the person and add an extra dimension to those four simple equations we have studied ever since. There are no equations in this presentation. The presentation is appropriate for anyone with a general interest in the origins of modern physics. For electronic handouts for the lecture, visit and go to "Resources", then "JC MaxwellBiography".

Æthereal Waves Make History: The four scientists who saved James Clerk Maxwell's theories

Presented  by JamesC. Rautio, Sonnet Software, North Syracuse, NY, USA

Abstract: Maxwell first published what came to be called "Maxwell's equations" in 1865. However, it was not until 1888, and Heinrich Hertz's experimental validation that Maxwell's equations were widely accepted as correct. The story of the intervening 23 years is little known. Maxwell, who died in 1879, was exceptionally modest and did not promote his own results at any time. The survival of Maxwell's equations was up to the only three researchers in the entire world who paid serious attention to Maxwell's paper in 1865 and his seminal Treatise in 1873: Oliver Heaviside, Oliver Lodge, and George Francis FitzGerald. Later, Hertz joined the group forming "The Four Maxwellians". This presentation describes the torturous 23 year path Maxwell's equations took from their creation to their initial acceptance. No mathematical knowledge is needed or expected; this presentation is ideal for a general audience.

Maxwell's Legacy: The Heart and Soul of the EMC Discipline

Presented by Bob Scully, National Aeronauticsand Space Administration (NASA) Space Center, Houston, TX, USA   

Abstract: This presentation will provide an examination of Maxwell's original equations, their relationship to the set of equations that survived the transformation process affected by Heaviside, Fitzgerald, Lodge, and Hertz, and how these equations provide the foundation for analytical, design, and test activities within the scope and purview of the EMC discipline and its practitioners.


James C. Rautio received a BSEE from Cornell in 1978, a MS Systems Engineering from University of Pennsylvania in 1982, and a Ph. D. in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in 1986. From 1978 to 1986, he worked for General Electric, first at the Valley Forge Space Division, then at the Syracuse Electronics Laboratory. At this time he developed microwave design and measurement software, and designed microwave circuits on Alumina and on GaAs. From 1986 to 1988, he was a visiting professor at Syracuse University and at Cornell. In 1988 he went full time with Sonnet Software, a company he had founded in 1983. In 1995, Sonnet was listed on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held US companies, the first microwave software company ever to be so listed. Today, Sonnet is the leading vendor of 3-D planar high frequency electromagnetic analysis software. Dr. Rautio was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2000 and received the IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques (MTT) Society Microwave Application Award in 2001. He is a former Distinguished Lecturer with the IEEE MTT Society. Dr. Rautio is an adjunct professor at Syracuse University.

Bob Scully has worked for over 30 years in aviation electrical and electronics engineering and electromagnetic compatibility, with experience ranging from fixed wing business jets to military and commercial rotary wing aircraft to Space Shuttle and Space Station systems support. Bob is the NASA Johnson Space Center Electromagnetics Environmental Effects (E3) Group Lead Engineer, providing technical management of the EMI laboratory facility to the Center, and EMC engineering expertise to multiple projects and programs. He directly supports Orion and Space Station Programs, and is currently serving as the Lead for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) for the Commercial Crew Development Program. Previously, Bob served as the Senior Co-Chair of the Space Shuttle E3 Control Panel for over 10 years. He is also the Lead for the Agency E3 Community of Practice. Bob is an IEEE Fellow, and holds a Ph.D. degree in Electromagnetics. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, USA, and holds certifications as an EMC Engineer from both the University of Missouri at Rolla and the International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics (iNARTE). Bob is an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility, and is currently the President of the IEEE EMC Society.

Back to Special Events