Reply [to “Comment on ‘Maxwell, electromagnetism, and fluid flow in resistive media’” by Glenn Brown]



Glenn Brown takes issue with my statement, “It is hoped that Maxwell's contribution to the foundations of fluids in porous media will receive due attention, and that his novel approach will lead to new insights.” He considers that, because Maxwell did not explicitly develop his theory for fluid flow in porous media, his ideas should not be treated as a contribution in that area. Brown contends that doing so is a disservice to Darcy, and is revisionist.

Brown and I differ in the way we perceive science. He looks at the material I have presented from an ideological perspective of upholding Darcy's position in history. On the other hand, I do not question Darcy's valid contribution. Rather, I presented some of Maxwell's fascinating ideas that are relevant to the study of fluid flow in porous media, published in the same year Darcy published his seminal work. I have shown that the relevance of Maxwell's ideas to flow in porous media has gone unnoticed in the literature. Scientists are fallible human beings, and important ideas and thoughts are occasionally overlooked.When, on a rare occasion, we chance upon such an oversight, it is part of our scientific enterprise to bring the finding to the attention of the scientific community. It is up to the community to judge the historical significance of the new information.