Joseph Larmor

From Academic Kids

Joseph Larmor (July 11, 1857 - May 19, 1942), an Irish physicist and mathematician, researched electricity, dynamics, and thermodynamics.



Larmor explained the Fitzgerald contraction independently of Hendrik Lorentz (as he developed the Lorentz transformations in 1898). Larmor had described the phenomenon of time dilation in "Aether and Matter" (treating this as a dynamic rather than kinematic effect). Larmor was in opposition to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity (though he supported it for a short time). Larmor rejected both the curvature of space and the special theory of relativity.

Larmor proposed that the aether could be represented as a homogeneous fluid medium which was perfectly incompressible and elastic. Larmor believed the aether was separate from matter. Larmor united Lord Kelvin's model of spinning gyrostats (e.g., vortexes) with this theory.

Larmor held that matter consisted of particles moving in the aether. Larmor believed the source of charge was from a "particle" (later named the electron). Larmor held that the flow of charged particles constitutes the current of conduction (but was not part of the atom). Larmor calculated the rate of energy radiation from an accelerating electron. Larmor explained the splitting of the spectral lines in a magnetic field by the oscillation of electrons.

In 1919, Larmor proposed sunspots are self-regenerative dynamo action on the Sun's surface.

Awards and honors

1898 -- Adams Prize (Cambridge)
1914 -- De Morgan Medal (London Mathematical Society)
1915 -- Royal Medal (Royal Society)
1921 -- Copley Medal (Royal Society)

The Crater Larmor on the moon was named in his honor.


Larmor edited the complete works of George Stokes and William Thomson. Larmor wrote the obituaries of George Stokes, Josuah Gibbs, and William Thomson. Larmor's publications include:

  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the direct applications of first principles in the theory of partial differential equations". Proceedings of the Royal Society. 1887.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the theory of electrodynamics". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1891.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the theory of electrodynamics, as affected by the nature of the mechanical stresses in excited dielectrics". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1892.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Dynamical Theory of the Electric and Luminiferous Medium" Proceedings of the Royal Society; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society; 1893-1897. (Larmor's physical theory of the universe; Series of three papers)
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Least action as the fundamental formulation in dynamics and physics". Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, 1884.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "The influence of a magnetic field on radiation frequency". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1896.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the absolute minimum of optical deviation by a prism". Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1896.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Note on the complete scheme of electrodymnamic equations of a moving material medium, and electrostriction". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1898.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the origin of magneto-optic rotation". Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1898.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Aether and Matter". (renamed by Horace Lamb "Aether and no matter"), 1900.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On the electrodymanic and thermal relations of energy of magnetisation". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1903.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Aether". Encyclopędia Britannica 11th edition. London, 1907.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs. 1824-1907 (Obituary)". Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1908.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "On Editing Newton". Nature, 1924.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Newtonion time essential to astronomy". Nature, 1927.
  • Larmor, Joseph, "Mathematical and Physical Papers". Cambridge, Cambridge, 1929.

See also

External links and references

  • Weisstein, Eric W., "Larmor, Joseph ( (1857-1942)". Science World.
  • "Larmor, Sir Joseph ( (1857-1942)". AIM25.
  • "Sir Joseph Larmor (".
  • "Sir Joseph Larmor (". School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland.
  • "Joseph Larmor (". University Science.
  • Greco, Diane, "Ether and field theories (". Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • "Papers of Sir Joseph Larmor (;recurse=1)". Janus, University of Cambridge.
  • Warwick, Andrew, "On the Role of the FitzGerald-Lorentz Contraction Hypothesis in the Development of Joseph Larmor's Electronic Theory of Matter". Archive for History of Exact Sciences 43 (1991): Larmor

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