Subject: RE: Fw: Translation
of Maxwell's Equations from Quarternions Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 12:28:39 0600 Edited
Hi Ted,
Thanks for the very fine
and succinct reply. Wellsaid and right on! A simple check of
Maxwell's 1865 paper answers that immediately, much less the short but
sharp "debate"  mostly involving the journal Nature, and never
involving more than 30 scientists  in the 1890s which just tossed
out the quaternions and adopted the vector EM advocated by Heaviside,
Gibbs, et al.  after Maxwell was already dead.
After publication of the
first edition of his Treatise, Maxwell of course also caught strong
pressure from his own publisher to get rid of the quaternions (which
few persons understood). Maxwell thus rewrote and simplified about 80%
of his own 1873 Treatise before he died of stomach cancer in 1879.
The second edition of that treatise was later published with that 80%
revision done by Maxwell himself under strong pressure, and with a
guest editor. But the 1865 Maxwell paper shows the real Maxwell
theory, with 20 equations in 20 unknowns (they are explicitly listed
in the paper). The equations taught today in university as "Maxwell's
equations" are actually Heaviside's equations, with a further
truncation via the symmetrical regauging performed by Lorentz.
Cheers,
Tom
