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The Life And Career Of Lord Kelvin (William Thomson)

820 words - 4 pages

LORD KELVIN (1824 - 1907)William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) was born June 26, 1824 in Belfast, Ireland, and was part ofa large family whose mother died when he was six. His father taught Kelvin and his brothers mathematicsto a level beyond that of university courses of the time.Kelvin was somewhat of a genius, and had his first papers published in 1840. These paperscontained an argument defending the work of Fourier (Fourier transforms), which at the time was beingheavily criticized by British scientists. He proved Fourier's theories to be right. In 1839 Kelvin wrote anessay which he called ' An Essay on the Figure of the Earth.' He used this essay as a source andinspiration for ideas all his life and won an award from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Kelvinremained at the University for the rest of his working life.Kelvin first defined the absolute temperature scale in 1847, which was later named after him. In1851 he published the paper, 'On the ...view middle of the document...

He also had an interest in the age of the earth, and he calculated that the earth was a maximum of400 million years old. These calculations were based on the rate of cooling of a globe of matter after firstsolidification occurs ( such as the beginning of the earth). He also calculated that molecular motion stopsat -273 degrees Celsius. He called this temperature absolute zero.Kelvin started work in 1854 on the project of laying transatlantic cables. His idea was thatelectrical current flow was similar to that of heat flow, and by applying ideas on heat flow, helped in theproblem of transmitting electrical signals over long distances. In 1866, Kelvin succeeded in laying thefirst successful transatlantic cable.Kelvin invented the mirror galvanometer which he patented in 1858 as a long distance telegraphreceiver. Other inventions by Kelvin include the flexible wire conductor of 'flex', a law which calculatedhow much a cable costs in respect of electrical losses and a gyro-compass among a host of others.In 1889 Kelvin retired from the university after having been professor there for 53 years. In theyear 1890 he became president of the Royal Society and held that position until 1895. He was createdBaron Kelvin of Largs in 1892 and in 1902 received the Order of Merit. After a long and successfulcareer, publishing many papers and being granted numerous patents, Kelvin died at his home onDecember 17, 1907 in his estate close to Largs, Scotland. He is buried at Westminster Abbey, London.Interesting Information· William Thomson went to the University of Glasgow at age 10.· He had his first papers published at the ages of 16 and 17.· In 1839 at the age of 15 he wrote a major essay called 'An Essay on the Figure of the Earth'.· At the age of 22 Thomson was elected to professor of physics at the University of Glasgow.· He was Knighted in 1866 by Queen Victoria for his work.· The transatlantic cable laying expeditions made Thomson an extremely wealthy man.· He published 661 papers in his career.· He patented 70 inventions in his lifetime.· In 1892 he was created Baron Kelvin of Largs.· In 1902 he received the Order of Merit.

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