Lecture on Thomson's galvanometer : delivered to a single pupil in an alcove with drawn curtains

Poem in which James Clerk Maxwell aims a joke at William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin

Date: Published in 1872.
Publication: 'Nature', Volume 6, Page 6.

James Clerk Maxwell's sense of humour led him to write several light-hearted poems. Often they were aimed at his friends and contemporaries.

This small poem was directed at William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin. It poked fun at the galvanometer, Thomson's invention. Maxwell signed the poem with his pseudonym, 'dp/dt', which came from one of his equations: JCM=dp/dt. Since 'JCM' were Maxwell's own initials, it made sense for him to use the other half of the equation as his pseudonym.

It was later published as one of Maxwell's 'Lectures to women on physical science'.

'Nature' described itself as a 'weekly illustrated journal of science'. The poem is on page 46, dated 18 May 1972.