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University of Edinburgh: James Clerk Maxwell Building, School of Physics and Astronomy and School of Mathematics


In Person

James Clerk Maxwell Building is the main teaching and research facility for Physics and Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. Construction of this building began in 1966 as part of a major expansion of the King’s Buildings campus. It is named after James Clerk Maxwell, a Scot who was one of the world’s greatest physicists and whose most significant work, The Theory of Electromagnetism, was published in 1873. For Doors Open Day, two groups currently working in this building will showcase their work.

School of Mathematics (Level 3) 
How can you construct a self-supporting bridge? Does the height of the British population follow a specific pattern? Can you cross all bridges in a given city without backtracking? To find out how Mathematics can help answer all these diverse questions, come along and chat with members of the Maths Outreach Team. Investigate some mind-blowing optical illusions, and experience the extraordinary 3D zoetrope: watch solid shapes change and animate before your eyes.

School of Physics and Astronomy (Level 2, ground floor)
The Music and Acoustics laboratory facilities include two unusual rooms used for teaching and research: an anechoic chamber, whose walls, ceiling and floor are covered by long foam rubber wedges to eliminate sound reflection and echoes; and a reverberation room, whose hard plastered surfaces and geometrical design result in a reverberation time approaching ten seconds. Visitors will experience the dramatic difference between these two acoustical environments, and hear about how they have been used recently to study a variety of topics including the sound radiated by brass instruments and the absorption of sound by moss-covered paving.  



Key Information

There will be activities for all ages. However, the use of minors will need to be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.

Where to find us

  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD
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Programmes this building took part in: