William Thomson: Temperament and temperature

December 17, 2011, Posted by Admin at 11:17 pm

(Belfast, 1824 – Netherhall, 1907) British mathematician and physicist. It is commonly known as Lord Kelvin, and was the second son of James Thomson, professor of mathematics at the University of Glasgow.

In 1841 he went to Cambridge, where he graduated in 1845 and won first prize Smith. Then he went to Paris for a year worked in the laboratory of Regnault, who by then carried out his classical research on the steam. In 1846, twenty-two, was appointed professor of natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

In the England of that time knew no experimental studies a great success despite this, the chair of Kelvin became a pulpit that inspired over half a century, scientists: the scholar in question is mainly the merit of prominent place occupied by the Great Britain in the development of physics. One of his first studies related to the age of the Earth based on heat conduction, believed that a hundred million years ago the physical conditions of our planet must have been very different from today, which led to disputes with the geologists.

Joule met in 1847 during a scientific meeting held in Oxford. At that time he conducted his experiments and had heat as a form of energy, which came to the first principle of thermodynamics. However, it took several years before most eminent physicists agreed with Joule. Kelvin was one of the earliest to do so, and because it was criticized by Stokes, who was considered “joulista inclined to become.”

Joule’s ideas about the nature of heat exerted indeed a considerable influence in Kelvin, and carried it in 1848 to create a scale for thermodynamic temperature, absolute, and therefore independent of equipment and substances used, such an instrument is named after its inventor, and is commonly used in many measures thermometer.

Kelvin continued the journey begun, and in 1851 introduced the “Royal Society” of Edinburgh a report on the dynamical theory of heat, Dynamical theory of heat, In this famous text of the principle of energy dissipation, which, together with the equivalent of Clausius statement, a year earlier, integrates the base of the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, Kelvin found that Carnot’s conclusions were not opposed to the work of Rumford, Robert Mayer and Joule, the dynamical theory of heat, together with the principle of conservation of energy, was accepted by everyone.

The scientist also conducted research in various systems of units of measurement, in 1851 Weber had proposed the application of the absolute system of units of Gauss to electromagnetism, and Kelvin renewed such propositions to be achieved in 1861 , within the “British Association”, the famous committee for the determination of electrical units.

The wise, however, owes its fame to further contributed to the transfer of submarine cables. In 1855, discussed the mathematical theory of these signals and studied the factors that hinder transmissions, his research culminated in the invention of the galvanometer of his name and “siphon recorder”, by siphon recorder was patented in 1861.

In 1866, particularly in recognition of services rendered to the transatlantic telegraph cable through, Kelvin was knighted, in 1892 was elevated to the peerage as “Baron Kelvin of Largs.” He invented various instruments, and made valuable contributions to navigation. He was very modest, and this sometimes made him appear withdrawn, however, always showed great kindness to students, and never felt happier than when he could help and document even the most humble researcher. He received many honors, and in 1904 was appointed rector of the University of Glasgow. Retired from the chair, spent most of his time in the management of conferences in the United States on the wave theory of light.


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