William Thomson

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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 as it is today because back then the universities were competing for the best junior pupils. In 1838, when Thomson was 14, he began what people today would consider university work and when he was 15, his essay called An Essay on the Figure of the Earth won him a gold medal from the University of Glasgow. Thomson then went on to publish his first papers at ages 16 and 17. These papers were defending the work of Fourier who was being criticized by british scientists. Following his years at Glasgow, Thomson entered the University of Cambrige in 1841. He graduated in four years with a B.A. honors degree and was second wrangler. Further work in 1845 saw him become first Smith's prizeman and he was elected a fellow of Peterhouse. From there he went to Paris because of his interest in the French approach to mathematics and he wanted to gain practcal experience and competence in experimental work. Before leaving Paris, Thomson got involved in many discussions which led him to study th... ... middle of paper ... ...that of electrical current flow which helped him solve the problems with trasmitting electrical signals over long distances. Following this project, thomson invented the mirror galvanometer which he patented in 1858 as a long distance telegrah reciever. These projects not only led him to a great deal of fame but also a lot of money. Because of the great success he had from his work, Thomson was Knighted by QueenVictoria in 1866. He then retired from Glasgow in 1889 after being a professor for 53 years. In 1890 he became president of the Royal Society and held that position for five years and in 1892 he was created Baron Kelvin of Largs and recieved the Order of Merit in 1902. William Thomson, better know as Lord Kelvin, eventually died at his home December 17th, 1907, in his estates close to Largs, Scotland, and was buried at Wetminster Abbey, London.

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