This Rede Lecture was originally published in Nature, Vol. XVIII. It makes fascinating reading one hundred years later in a very different world. Clerk Maxwell gave this Rede Lecture in 1879. The story goes that the Vice Chancellor, in introducing him, said they were much indebted to Professor Maxwell, for he had helped them when they were in a great difficulty. They had asked everyone they could think of to be Rede Lecturer, and they had all refused, and he did not know what would have happened if someone at the last moment had not suggested Professor Maxwell.
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