William Thomson Facts

William Thomson Facts
William Thomson OM GCVO PC PRSE (June 26, 1824 to December 17, 1907) was a British mathematical physicist. He wrote the first and second laws of thermodynamics. He determined the correct value of absolute zero and a temperature scale was named in his honor
Interesting William Thomson Facts:
William Thomson was born in Belfast, Ireland where his father was a teacher of mathematics and engineering at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
In 1832 his father, James Thomson, moved his family to Glasgow to become a professor of mathematics there.
In 1834 William studied at the elementary school of the University of Glasgow.
The six Thomson children spent part of 1839 in London and summer term 1840 in Germany and the Netherlands.
They were tutored in several languages.
In 1836 William earned a prize for his translation of Lucian of Samosata's Dialogues of the Gods.
In 1840 he won a prize in astronomy for his Essay on the figure of the Earth.
Thomson studied Fourier's "Continental" mathematics.
Fourier had been criticized by British mathematicians and Thomson wrote a paper under the pseudonym P.Q.R. which defended Fourier.
James Thomson submitted William's paper to the Cambridge Mathematical Journal.
William's third paper, On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies and its connection with the mathematical theory of electricity was written in 1841.
In this paper he made the mathematical connection between heat conduction and electrostatics which would be described by James Clerk Maxwell as one of the most valuable foundational ideas in science.
In 1841 William entered Peterhouse, Cambridge, and in 1845 he graduated as Second Wrangler.
He won a Smith's Prize for original research.
In 1845 he concluded mathematically that Faraday's electric induction happens through a dielectric and not by "action at a distance."
He encouraged Faraday to continue the research that led to the Faraday Effect.
In 1846 he became chair of natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow.
When he attended the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in 1847 he heard James Prescott Jules make an ineffective attempt to discredit the caloric theory of heat.
This led Thomson's research in a new direction and he correctly concluded that the melting point of ice falls with pressure.
He was unhappy with the instruments of the time which provided an operational temperature rather than an absolute one.
He created an absolute temperature scale in which a "unit of heat descending from a body A at the temperature T of this scale, to a body B at the temperature (T-1) would give out the same mechanical effect whatever by the number T."
This allowed him to be the first to calculate the value of absolute zero which in -273.25 Celsius or -459.67 Fahrenheit.
He was knighted for his accomplishments in 1892 and became the first scientist to be elevated to the House of Lords.

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