James Clerk Maxwell

In 1871 James Clerk Maxwell was appointed Professor of Experimental Physics.

The Duke of Devonshire gave to Maxwell, as Head of the Laboratory, the manuscripts of Henry Cavendish's unpublished Electrical Works. The editing and publishing of these was Maxwell's main scientific work while he was here. Cavendish's work aroused Maxwell's intense admiration and he decided to call the Laboratory (formerly known as the Devonshire Laboratory) the Cavendish Laboratory and thus to commemorate both the Duke and Henry Cavendish.

Maxwell died in 1879 and was succeeded by Lord Rayleigh, who took the appointment for five years only. It was Rayleigh, and the two demonstrators, Glazebrook and Shaw, whom he appointed, who were responsible for establishing practical classes for undergraduates. This was the origin of the practical classes which are run today.

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