James Clerk Maxwell - Biography. Scottish physicist Birth November 13, 1831 Death November 5, 1879 Place of Edinburgh, Scotland Birth Known for Discovering that light is an electromagnetic wave Providing a mathematical basis for the kinetic theory of gases, which explains that gases behave as they do because they are composed of particles in constant motion Explaining that the human eye sees color by detecting combinations of the primary colors red, blue, and green Career 1854 Graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in mathematics 1856-1860 Taught natural philosophy at Marischal College in Aberdeen, Scotland 1860-1865 Taught natural philosophy and astronomy at King's College in London 1861 Produced the first color photograph, based on his research on the detection of color by the human eye 1871 Became professor of experimental physics at the University of Cambridge 1873 Summarized his theories on electricity and magnetism in Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism Did You As a teenager in school, Maxwell was nicknamed Dafty by his fellow students, who didn't understand his academic interests. Know Maxwell discovered a new method for drawing a perfect oval at the age of 15. Maxwell developed a mathematical model predicting that Saturn's rings were comprised of a myriad of orbiting fragments of ice and rock. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.