William Thomson Essay

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Born on June 26th 1824 in Belfast Ireland, William Thomson was one of many children. He was primarily raised by his father, James Thomson, as his mother died when he was six. James Thomson raised his family in a strict Presbyterian fashion. Although his father was strict and demanding, William mangaed to maitain a close relatioship with his father. James Thomson was the professor of engineering in Belfast and later was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the University of Glasgow. He taught his son mathematics at a very early age and as a result, William Thomson became an accomplished mathematican beyond that of universities. William Thomson enterd Glasgow University at the age of ten. That was not as uncommon …show more content…
William Thomson then returned to Glasgow in 1848. Thomson was 22 and the chair of natural philosophy at Glasgow opened up. With help from his father's influence, who was still a professor at Glasgow, Thomson ran a well organized campaign and was unanimously elected professor of natural philosophy at the University. While at Glasgow, William Thomson had many achievements. In 1847-49 he collaborated with Stokes on hydrodynamical studies, which Thomson applied to electrical and atomic theory. Also during this time, Thomson's thermodynamical studies led him to propse an absolute temperature scale in 1848 which he proposed based on his studies of the theory of heat, in particular the theory proposed by Sadi Carnot and later developed by Clapeyron. This absolute temperature scale, which is now known as the Kelvein scale, was precisely defined much later after conservation of energy was better understood. The scale derives its name from the title, Baron Kelvin of Largs, that Thomson received from the British government in 1892, and named after Thomson because of his proposal in this 1848 paper. In 1851, Thomson published another paper called On the Dynamical Theory of Heat and in the same year was elected to the Royal Society. This published work contained Thomson's ideas and version of the second law of thermodynamics as well as recognition of James Joule's idea of the mechanical equivalent of heat. The idea claimed that heat and motion

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