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Educating William: Belfast, Glasgow, and Cambridge

Alex D. D. Craik

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0002
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter discusses the early education of William Thomson. It covers the influence of his father James Thomson in his education, his experiences at Glasgow College, at Cambridge University, and ... More


William Thomson: An Introductory Biography

Mark McCartney

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0001
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter presents a biography of William Thomson. Topics covered include his early years in Glasgow College, his experiences at Cambridge University, his election as the Chair of Natural ... More


Concepts and Models of the Magnetic Field

John Roche

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0007
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter begins with a discussion of Thomson's scientific style. It then discusses his early heuristic analogies in electrostatics, guiding mechanical model for electromagnetism, his ‘positive’ ... More


‘A Dynamical Form of Mechanical Effect’: Thomson's Thermodynamics

Iwan Rhys Morus

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0008
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

As he settled into his position as Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow, Thomson would spend much of his time over the subsequent years pondering over the problem of heat and the difficulty of ... More


James Thomson and the Culture of a Victorian Engineer

Peter Bowler

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0004
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

This chapter focuses on William Thomson's brother, James. James Thomson was primarily an engineer. He was the second Professor of Engineering at Queen's College, Belfast, serving from 1857 to 1873, ... More


Kelvin, Maxwell, Einstein and the Ether: Who was Right about What?

C. W. Francis Everitt

in Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
May 2008
ISBN:
9780199231256
eISBN:
9780191710803
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231256.003.0014
Subject:
Mathematics, History of Mathematics

Ether theory (according to the myth) requires that as the Earth moves through space, the measured velocity of light parallel and perpendicular to its motion will vary. Two American physicists, A. A. ... More


William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)

Robert T. Hanlon

in Block by Block: The Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Thermodynamics

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
April 2020
ISBN:
9780198851547
eISBN:
9780191886133
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198851547.003.0032
Subject:
Physics, Theoretical, Computational, and Statistical Physics

Being raised on the caloric theory in which heat is a conserved quantity, Thomson faced challenges in accepting Clausius’ analysis of Carnot’s heat engine. Once he finally overcame these challenges, ... More


The Many Faces of Force and the Mutability of Energy

Nasser Zakariya

in A Final Story: Science, Myth, and Beginnings

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780226476124
eISBN:
9780226500737
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226500737.003.0004
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

This chapter introduces discussion of nineteenth-century discourse on force and energy relating to new conceptions of Herschelian natural history, to visions of “final theories” and “final stories.” ... More


Schisms

Nasser Zakariya

in A Final Story: Science, Myth, and Beginnings

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780226476124
eISBN:
9780226500737
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226500737.003.0005
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Helmholtz articulates a final story on the basis of the new thermodynamics, examined in relation to the change of organic forms, energy and entropy. He recasts this as a synthesis of thermodynamics ... More


The Laws of Thermodynamics: Thomson and Clausius

Jennifer Coopersmith

in Energy, the Subtle Concept: The discovery of Feynman's blocks from Leibniz to Einstein

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
August 2015
ISBN:
9780198716747
eISBN:
9780191800955
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716747.003.0016
Subject:
Physics, Particle Physics / Astrophysics / Cosmology, History of Physics

William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) defined the absolute scale of temperature. He heard of Joule’s work in 1847 but could not reconcile Joule’s interconversions between heat and mechanical energy with ... More


Telephonic Scotland: Periphery, Hybridity, Diaspora

Cairns Craig

in Intending Scotland: Explorations in Scottish Culture since the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780748637133
eISBN:
9780748653478
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637133.003.0005
Subject:
Society and Culture, Scottish Studies

This chapter notes that in 1858 the first attempt to lay a telegraph cable between Europe and North America ended in disaster: after an initial transfer of some 700 messages, the signals faded and ... More


The Abyss of Time

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0001
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter traces the roots of the idea of deep time, one of the most fundamental and surprising discoveries about the Earth during the twentieth century. In September 1846, William Thomson, then ... More


Theories of Heat: Some Background

Olivier Darrigol

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability: Ludwig Boltzmann's Statistico-Mechanical Writings - An Exegesis

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
March 2018
ISBN:
9780198816171
eISBN:
9780191853661
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198816171.003.0002
Subject:
Physics, Atomic, Laser, and Optical Physics, History of Physics

This is a condensed history of thermodynamics and kinetic-molecular theory in Boltzmann’s times and earlier. In the second half of the nineteenth century, there was a widely shared belief in the ... More


Models and Mechanisms: Physical Understanding in the Nineteenth Century

Henk W. de Regt

in Understanding Scientific Understanding

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
August 2017
ISBN:
9780190652913
eISBN:
9780190652944
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780190652913.003.0006
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

This chapter analyzes the role of mechanical modeling in nineteenth-century physics, showing how precisely mechanical models were used to enhance scientific understanding. It discusses the work and ... More


Altogether an Arabian City

Jason Thompson

in Edward William Lane 1801–1876: The Life of the Pioneering Egyptologist and Orientalist

Published in print:
2010
Published Online:
September 2011
ISBN:
9789774162879
eISBN:
9781617970214
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:
10.5743/cairo/9789774162879.003.0004
Subject:
Society and Culture, Middle Eastern Studies

Part of Edward William Lane's expedition in Egypt was his stay in Cairo where he spent his first days. Most of the impressions that came on Lane amounted to a never-ending visual feast. Moreover, a ... More


A Great Mistake Has Been Made

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0002
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter examines scientific ideas that led to the theory of deep time, with particular emphasis on the work of William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin. Kelvin used the laws of physics to reject ... More


Consolidation (1887–1895)

Olivier Darrigol

in Atoms, Mechanics, and Probability: Ludwig Boltzmann's Statistico-Mechanical Writings - An Exegesis

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
March 2018
ISBN:
9780198816171
eISBN:
9780191853661
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198816171.003.0007
Subject:
Physics, Atomic, Laser, and Optical Physics, History of Physics

This chapter covers a period in which Boltzmann returned to the collision-based approach and consolidated it in answer to criticism and suggestions by William Thomson, Hendrik Lorentz, George Bryan, ... More


Mathematical Coincidence and Scientific Explanation

Marc Lange

in Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics

Published in print:
2016
Published Online:
December 2016
ISBN:
9780190269487
eISBN:
9780190269500
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190269487.003.0010
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, General

This chapter describes a further variety of non-causal scientific explanation. Such an explanation explains a pair of derivative laws of nature concerning physically dissimilar cases. The two laws ... More


Helium and the Age of the Earth

David Fisher

in Much Ado about (Practically) Nothing: A History of the Noble Gases

Published in print:
2010
Published Online:
November 2020
ISBN:
9780195393965
eISBN:
9780197562796
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780195393965.003.0009
Subject:
Chemistry, History of Chemistry

Until nearly the end of the Nineteenth century, nobody was particularly interested in the age of the earth except a few theologians. In the second century A.D., the rabbi Yose ben Halafta wrote a ... More


The new century: Prospect and retrospect

A. J. Kox and H. F. Schatz

in A Living Work of Art: The Life and Science of Hendrik Antoon Lorentz

Published in print:
2021
Published Online:
April 2021
ISBN:
9780198870500
eISBN:
9780191912825
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198870500.003.0006
Subject:
Physics, History of Physics

Chapter 5 is a discussion of the rise of Dutch physics around 1900 based on three speeches, by Lorentz, Haga, and Zeeman, on the flourishing state of Dutch physics at the universities of Leiden, ... More


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