William Thomson

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In existographies, William Thomson (131-48 BE) (1824-1907 ACM) (IQ:185|#52) (ID:2.23|83) (Cattell 1000:989) (RGM:619|1,350+) (Gottlieb 1000:111) (Becker 160:27|7L) (Kanowitz 50:19) (Cropper 30:5|T) (GPE:47) (SIG:6) (EPD:M6) (CR:390) (LH:29) (TL:433|#12), aka "Lord Kelvin" (or Kelvin), was an Irish-born Scottish mathematical physicist and philosopher, noted for []


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Thomson:

“Once Thomson had had accepted the new [dynamical theory of heat] he produced, in the course of a few years, an abundance of new ideas, which were to prove immensely important: many of them in the hands of other men, such as Clausius. Prominent among these ideas were the concept of the ‘energy’ of a body, the insight into the process of dissipation of energy, the establishment of an ‘absolute temperature scale’, the awareness of the importance of ‘transformation’ and ‘equivalence’ and, finally, the expression of the second law of thermodynamics in the mathematical form: Thomson second law (1854).png Finally, we note that the function C [Carnot function] was originally proposed as the measure of the work done per degree temperature difference by a unit of heat at a given temperature. It was first visualized by Carnot, refined by Clapeyron, who measured its value at five different temperatures, and by Thomson who, using Regnault’s results, extended the range of measurement an established that it diminished steadily with the temperature. It was brought into the context of the dynamical theory of heat by Clausius and finally related by Joule and Thomson to the reciprocal of the absolute temperature on the thermodynamic scale. If we turn back now to the earlier work and substitute ‘T’ for ‘C’ we can appreciate how close writers like Clapeyron were to the truth.”
Donald Cardwell (1871), From Watt to Clausius (pgs. 159-60) [1]

End matter

See also

  • Thomson (LH:14)
  • Thomson’s search for Carnot’s Reflections
  • Thomson on religion


  1. Cardwell, Donald S.L. (1971). From Watt to Clausius: the Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age (pgs. 259-60). Cornell University Press.

Further reading

  • Smith, Crosbie. (1976). “William Thomson and the Creation of Thermodynamics, 1840-1855” (pdf), Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 16:231-88.


  • Thomson, William. (1852). “On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy”, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Apr 19; in: Philosophical Magazine, Oct 1852; in: Mathematical and Physical Papers (pgs. 511-14), 1:59, Publisher.
  • Thomson, William. (1854). “On the Dynamical Theory of Heat. Part V: Thermo-electric Currents”, The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science (pgs. 214-25; quote, pg. 232), May 1; in: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 21:123-#. Royal Society, 1857.

External links

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