The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell's equations of the electromagnetic field
The work of James Clerk Maxwell changed the world forever
He achieved greatness unequalled.
Maxwell's importance in the history of scientific thought is comparable to Einstein's (whom he inspired) and to Newton's (whose influence he curtailed)
Ivan Tolstoy (Biographer)
From a long view of the history of mankind — seen from, say, ten thousand years from now — there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade.
Maxwell's equations have had a greater impact on human history than any ten presidents.