Lord Kelvin, or William Thomson

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Lord Kelvin, or William Thomson, was destined for greatness at birth. He was born June 26, 1824 in Belfast, Ireland. His father was a prestigious mathematics professor at Glasgow University and his brother later became a professor of engineering (Webster 2). Both William Thomson and his older brother, James, were homeschooled by their father, also named James Thomson, in their early years. Their father encouraged them to discover and pursue all academic possibilities. While living on campus at Glasgow University, the family often visited the Netherlands and Germany. They were also quite fond of the Island of Arran, which they often visited. Being so close to water, William Thomson developed a fascination for the sea and the earth’s crust as well. When he was only ten years old he began his studies at Glasgow University. During his years at this institution he received many prizes and awards. He then attended Cambridge University to achieve the credibility he desired. Shortly after, he travelled to Paris to further study thermodynamics. When he was twenty-two, he became a professor of natural philosophy at Glasgow University. There he created a laboratory for physics students to actually experiment instead of just reading about physics in theory (Russell). Throughout Thomson’s life he made many contributions to science. These include discoveries in thermodynamics and the age of the Earth, as well as innovating the Transatlantic Cable and inventing a tide meter. After exploring thermodynamics for some time, he developed the second law of thermodynamics. This law states that there cannot be a reaction that is completely efficient; a portion of the energy is lost to heat in each reaction. It also says that heat flows to areas that... ... middle of paper ... ...urchfield, Joe D. Lord Kelvin and the Age of the Earth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. Print Rowlinson, J.S. “James Joule, William Thomson and the Concept of a Perfect Gas.” The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science. 64 (2010): 43-57. Print. Russell, Alexander, M.A. Lord Kelvin: His Life and Work. New York: Dodge Publishing Company, 1912. Print. Smith, Crosbie. “Natural Philosophy and Thermodynamics: William Thomson and ‘The Dynamical Theory of Heat’.” The British Journal for the History of Science. 9.3 (1976): 293-319. Print. “The Great Transatlantic Cable.” American Experience. PBS, 30 Nov. 2004. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. “Tide Predicting Machines.” NOAA Tides & Currents. NOAA, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. Webster, Arthur Gordon. “Lord Kelvin.” Science: The American Association for the Advancement of Science. 27.679 (1908): 1-8. Print.

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