New dance honours great Scot

A NEW DANCE WAS LAUNCHED at the Festival to honour one of the greatest Scots of all time – who has had all too little recognition in his own land.

James Clerk Maxwell is to science in Scotland what Robert Burns is to poetry, and like Burns he is an international figure. Einstein ranked him with Galileo, Newton and Faraday and built his own theory of relativity around the four beautiful equations developed by Maxwell which proved that light is formed out of electromagnetic waves. Maxwell’s work led to the discovery of radio waves and forms the basis for much of modern science and communications.

He showed mathematically that Saturn’s rings are rocky fragments and he made the world’s first colour photograph.

All this and much more was achieved in a short life – he was only 48 when he died.

Yet he is not well known in his own native land, and the Post Office have consistently refused to issue a commemorative stamp – unlike the Post Offices of Mexico, Mali, Nicaragua and San Marino.

Maxwell

But around the world momentum is growing for recognition to come in 2014, the 150th anniversary of Maxwell’s great paper on light waves. We’re making several contributions to the campaign, starting with the new dance, Maxwell’s Waves, specially created by the well-known dancing teacher Jessie Stuart from Dufftown, which was launched at the Saturday night ceilidh. The equally well-known accordionist Freeland Barbour has written the music – the strathspey Glenlair followed by the reel Maxwell’s Waves. So now, wherever you are, it’s your opportunity to try! To show how quickly it can be learned, here are some of the dancers in Dufftown after a few minutes’ introduction to the steps.