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LTC Stephen F.
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Thank you my friend SGT (Join to see) for making us aware that on November 14, 1834 eminent physicist, mathematician, engineer and inventor William Thomson better known to posterity as Lord Kelvin.

Lord Kelvin and the French 'F' Word: The Greatest Victorian Scientist? - Dr Mark McCartney
Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) was Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1846 to 1899. An FRS, FRSE, knighted in 1866, awarded the Order of Merit in 1902, and in death buried beside Newton at Westminster Abbey, Kelvin was in his lifetime considered the pre-eminent natural philosopher of the Victorian Age. But the passage of time, and the supplanting of classical physics, have eroded his reputation. This talk will survey Kelvin's life and work, and seek to show why the assessment of Kelvin's importance by his contemporaries was not misplaced.
This talk was a part of the conference on '19th Century Mathematical Physics', held jointly by Gresham College and the British Society of the History of Mathematics'

1. William Thomson, 1852.
2. William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, 1869.
3. Coat of arms of William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
4. William Thomson, Baron Kelvin in 1876

Background from {[https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Thomson-Baron-Kelvin]}
William Thomson, Baron Kelvin
Scottish engineer, mathematician, and physicist
WRITTEN BY Harold I. Sharlin
Former Professor of History, Iowa State University, Ames. Author of The Making of the Electrical Age; Lord Kelvin: Dynamic Victorian.
Alternative Titles: Lord Kelvin, Sir William Thomson, William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs
William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, in full William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs, also called (1866–92) Sir William Thomson, (born June 26, 1824, Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland [now in Northern Ireland]—died December 17, 1907, Netherhall, near Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland), Scottish engineer, mathematician, and physicist who profoundly influenced the scientific thought of his generation.
Thomson, who was knighted and raised to the peerage in recognition of his work in engineering and physics, was foremost among the small group of British scientists who helped lay the foundations of modern physics. His contributions to science included a major role in the development of the second law of thermodynamics; the absolute temperature scale (measured in kelvins); the dynamical theory of heat; the mathematical analysis of electricity and magnetism, including the basic ideas for the electromagnetic theory of light; the geophysical determination of the age of the Earth; and fundamental work in hydrodynamics. His theoretical work on submarine telegraphy and his inventions for use on submarine cables aided Britain in capturing a preeminent place in world communication during the 19th century.
The style and character of Thomson’s scientific and engineering work reflected his active personality. While a student at the University of Cambridge, he was awarded silver sculls for winning the university championship in racing single-seater rowing shells. He was an inveterate traveler all of his life, spending much time on the Continent and making several trips to the United States. In later life he commuted between homes in London and Glasgow. Thomson risked his life several times during the laying of the first transatlantic cable.
Thomson’s worldview was based in part on the belief that all phenomena that caused force—such as electricity, magnetism, and heat—were the result of invisible material in motion. This belief placed him in the forefront of those scientists who opposed the view that forces were produced by imponderable fluids. By the end of the century, however, Thomson, having persisted in his belief, found himself in opposition to the positivistic outlook that proved to be a prelude to 20th-century quantum mechanics and relativity. Consistency of worldview eventually placed him counter to the mainstream of science.
But Thomson’s consistency enabled him to apply a few basic ideas to a number of areas of study. He brought together disparate areas of physics—heat, thermodynamics, mechanics, hydrodynamics, magnetism, and electricity—and thus played a principal role in the great and final synthesis of 19th-century science, which viewed all physical change as energy-related phenomena. Thomson was also the first to suggest that there were mathematical analogies between kinds of energy. His success as a synthesizer of theories about energy places him in the same position in 19th-century physics that Sir Isaac Newton has in 17th-century physics or Albert Einstein in 20th-century physics. All of these great synthesizers prepared the ground for the next grand leap forward in science.

Early Life
William Thomson was the fourth child in a family of seven. His mother died when he was six years old. His father, James Thomson, who was a textbook writer, taught mathematics, first in Belfast and later as a professor at the University of Glasgow; he taught his sons the most recent mathematics, much of which had not yet become a part of the British university curriculum. An unusually close relationship between a dominant father and a submissive son served to develop William’s extraordinary mind.
William, age 10, and his brother James, age 11, matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1834. There William was introduced to the advanced and controversial thinking of Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Fourier when one of Thomson’s professors loaned him Fourier’s pathbreaking book The Analytical Theory of Heat, which applied abstract mathematical techniques to the study of heat flow through any solid object. Thomson’s first two published articles, which appeared when he was 16 and 17 years old, were a defense of Fourier’s work, which was then under attack by British scientists. Thomson was the first to promote the idea that Fourier’s mathematics, although applied solely to the flow of heat, could be used in the study of other forms of energy—whether fluids in motion or electricity flowing through a wire.
Thomson won many university awards at Glasgow, and at the age of 15 he won a gold medal for “An Essay on the Figure of the Earth,” in which he exhibited exceptional mathematical ability. That essay, highly original in its analysis, served as a source of scientific ideas for Thomson throughout his life. He last consulted the essay just a few months before he died at the age of 83.
Thomson entered Cambridge in 1841 and took a B.A. degree four years later with high honours. In 1845 he was given a copy of George Green’s An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism. That work and Fourier’s book were the components from which Thomson shaped his worldview and that helped him create his pioneering synthesis of the mathematical relationship between electricity and heat. After finishing at Cambridge, Thomson went to Paris, where he worked in the laboratory of the physicist and chemist Henri-Victor Regnault to gain practical experimental competence to supplement his theoretical education.
The chair of natural philosophy (later called physics) at the University of Glasgow fell vacant in 1846. Thomson’s father then mounted a carefully planned and energetic campaign to have his son named to the position, and at the age of 22 William was unanimously elected to it. Despite blandishments from Cambridge, Thomson remained at Glasgow for the rest of his career. He resigned his university chair in 1899, at the age of 75, after 53 years of a fruitful and happy association with the institution. He was making room, he said, for younger men.
Thomson’s scientific work was guided by the conviction that the various theories dealing with matter and energy were converging toward one great, unified theory. He pursued the goal of a unified theory even though he doubted that it was attainable in his lifetime or ever. The basis for Thomson’s conviction was the cumulative impression obtained from experiments showing the interrelation of forms of energy. By the middle of the 19th century it had been shown that magnetism and electricity, electromagnetism, and light were related, and Thomson had shown by mathematical analogy that there was a relationship between hydrodynamic phenomena and an electric current flowing through wires. James Prescott Joule also claimed that there was a relationship between mechanical motion and heat, and his idea became the basis for the science of thermodynamics.
In 1847, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Thomson first heard Joule’s theory about the interconvertibility of heat and motion. Joule’s theory went counter to the accepted knowledge of the time, which was that heat was an imponderable substance (caloric) and could not be, as Joule claimed, a form of motion. Thomson was open-minded enough to discuss with Joule the implications of the new theory. At the time, though he could not accept Joule’s idea, Thomson was willing to reserve judgment, especially since the relationship between heat and mechanical motion fit into his own view of the causes of force. By 1851 Thomson was able to give public recognition to Joule’s theory, along with a cautious endorsement in a major mathematical treatise, “On the Dynamical Theory of Heat.” Thomson’s essay contained his version of the second law of thermodynamics, which was a major step toward the unification of scientific theories.
Thomson’s work on electricity and magnetism also began during his student days at Cambridge. When, much later, James Clerk Maxwell decided to undertake research in magnetism and electricity, he read all of Thomson’s papers on the subject and adopted Thomson as his mentor. Maxwell—in his attempt to synthesize all that was known about the interrelationship of electricity, magnetism, and light—developed his monumental electromagnetic theory of light, probably the most significant achievement of 19th-century science. This theory had its genesis in Thomson’s work, and Maxwell readily acknowledged his debt.
Thomson’s contributions to 19th-century science were many. He advanced the ideas of Michael Faraday, Fourier, Joule, and others. Using mathematical analysis, Thomson drew generalizations from experimental results. He formulated the concept that was to be generalized into the dynamic theory of energy. He also collaborated with a number of leading scientists of the time, among them Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Hermann von Helmholtz, Peter Guthrie Tait, and Joule. With these partners, he advanced the frontiers of science in several areas, particularly hydrodynamics. Furthermore, Thomson originated the mathematical analogy between the flow of heat in solid bodies and the flow of electricity in conductors.
Thomson’s involvement in a controversy over the feasibility of laying a transatlantic cable changed the course of his professional work. His work on the project began in 1854 when Stokes, a lifelong correspondent on scientific matters, asked for a theoretical explanation of the apparent delay in an electric current passing through a long cable. In his reply, Thomson referred to his early paper “On the Uniform Motion of Heat in Homogeneous Solid Bodies, and its Connexion with the Mathematical Theory of Electricity” (1842). Thomson’s idea about the mathematical analogy between heat flow and electric current worked well in his analysis of the problem of sending telegraph messages through the planned 3,000-mile (4,800-km) cable. His equations describing the flow of heat through a solid wire proved applicable to questions about the velocity of a current in a cable.
The publication of Thomson’s reply to Stokes prompted a rebuttal by E.O.W. Whitehouse, the Atlantic Telegraph Company’s chief electrician. Whitehouse claimed that practical experience refuted Thomson’s theoretical findings, and for a time Whitehouse’s view prevailed with the directors of the company. Despite their disagreement, Thomson participated, as chief consultant, in the hazardous early cable-laying expeditions. In 1858 Thomson patented his telegraph receiver, called a mirror galvanometer, for use on the Atlantic cable. (The device, along with his later modification called the siphon recorder, came to be used on most of the worldwide network of submarine cables.) Eventually the directors of the Atlantic Telegraph Company fired Whitehouse, adopted Thomson’s suggestions for the design of the cable, and decided in favour of the mirror galvanometer. Thomson was knighted in 1866 by Queen Victoria for his work.
William Thomson, Baron Kelvin
June 26, 1824
Belfast, Northern Ireland
December 17, 1907 (aged 83)
near Largs, Scotland
• Knight (1866)
• electromagnetism
• Earth
• heat
• conservation of energy
• energy
• Copley Medal (1883)
Later Life
After the successful laying of the transatlantic cable, Thomson became a partner in two engineering consulting firms, which played a major role in the planning and construction of submarine cables during the frenzied era of expansion that resulted in a global network of telegraph communication. Thomson became a wealthy man who could afford a 126-ton yacht and a baronial estate.

Thomson’s interests in science included not only electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, and hydrodynamics but also geophysical questions about tides, the shape of the Earth, atmospheric electricity, thermal studies of the ground, the Earth’s rotation, and geomagnetism. He also entered the controversy over Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Thomson opposed Darwin, remaining “on the side of the angels.”

Thomson challenged the views on geologic and biological change of the early uniformitarians, including Darwin, who claimed that the Earth and its life had evolved over an incalculable number of years, during which the forces of nature always operated as at present. On the basis of thermodynamic theory and Fourier’s studies, Thomson in 1862 estimated that more than one million years ago the Sun’s heat and the temperature of the Earth must have been considerably greater and that these conditions had produced violent storms and floods and an entirely different type of vegetation. His views, published in 1868, particularly angered Darwin’s supporters. Thomas Henry Huxley replied to Thomson in the 1869 Anniversary Address of the President of the Geological Society of London. Thomson’s speculations as to the age of the Earth and the Sun were inaccurate, but he did succeed in pressing his contention that biological and geologic theory had to conform to the well-established theories of physics.
In an 1884 series of lectures at Johns Hopkins University on the state of scientific knowledge, Thomson wondered aloud about the failures of the wave theory of light to explain certain phenomena. His interest in the sea, roused aboard his yacht, the Lalla Rookh, resulted in a number of patents: a compass that was adopted by the British Admiralty; a form of analog computer for measuring tides in a harbour and for calculating tide tables for any hour, past or future; and sounding equipment. He established a company to manufacture these items and a number of electrical measuring devices. Like his father, he published a textbook, Treatise on Natural Philosophy (1867), a work on physics coauthored with Tait that helped shape the thinking of a generation of physicists.
Thomson was said to be entitled to more letters after his name than any other man in the Commonwealth. He received honorary degrees from universities throughout the world and was lauded by engineering societies and scientific organizations. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1851 and served as its president from 1890 to 1895. He published more than 600 papers and was granted dozens of patents. He died at his estate in Scotland and was buried in Westminster Abbey, London."

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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
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Kelvin Master of Measurement
This film was commissioned by Kelvin Bottomley & Baird in 1946. It is a film featuring the life and work of William Thompson now known as Lord Kelvin.

1. William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, delivering his last lecture at the University of Glasgow, 1899.
2. Frances Anna Thomson, Baroness Kelvin
3. William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, with his compass, 1902.
4. Lord Kelvin c.1897

Background from {[https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/library/files/special/exhibns/Kelvin/kelvinindex.html]}
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin 1824-1907
A web exhibition of manuscripts from the collections of the University of Glasgow Library
Originally exhibited in 1977; adapted for the web in 2008

William Thomson, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University for 53 years from 1846, was universally recognized as the leading figure in the world of science for thirty years, and as a powerful eminence in academic scientific thought for thirty years before that. In his own lifetime the most honoured scientist there has ever been, Thomson was also the first of the science ‘heroes’ to the man in the street.
Irish by birth but almost wholly Scottish by descent, Thomson was brought to Glasgow at the age of eight by his father, James Thomson, Professor of Mathematics from 1832 to 1849. He sat in on lectures and was otherwise taught by the Thomson family until he was ten, when he became a fully matriculated student. On completion of his course in Glasgow, he went to Cambridge for a second five year studentship - in the school of mathematics founded by George Green, which was also to produce G. G. Stokes, J. C. Maxwell and P. G. Tait. The latter pair, with Thomson and J.P. Joule, became known as the 'Great Northerners'.
Thomson was thus an entirely new sort of figure in the scientific field, a professional scientist trained almost from birth; his arrival coincided vitally with the emergence of the new sciences of current electricity and thermodynamics.

Thomson became a Professor at the age of 22, teaching from the beginning that the sciences most necessary to the physicist were mechanics and dynamics, and, that these must be allied to a strong and fluent mathematics. He himself had an extraordinary ability for viewing and interpreting almost all phenomena in terms of mechanical action saying, ‘If I can make a mechanical model of a thing I can understand it'. He perceived, too, that a major requirement was accuracy of measurement:
'When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it, but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in number, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind’.
A professorial ancestor of Thomson, George Sinclair, had in 1686 written something similar: 'God is not tied to numbers; yet nevertheless he doeth and disposeth his works by number, weight and measure.’
When considering the achievements of William Thomson, one is struck first by the practical effectiveness of the man and then again by his extreme versatility. For instance, he applied the principles of mechanics to the measurement of electricity: he weighed electric charge and current, using his electrometers and current balances, and it is to him that we owe the absolute definitions of those most important units - the ohm, volt and amp. Additionally he invented a whole series of electrical instruments, which became the building blocks of both the telegraphic and the electrical power industries. He was an early experimenter with electric lighting and, according to Joseph Larmor, his home in the University was the first ever to be lit by electricity. He also became heavily involved in the practical side of the first trans-Atlantic cables.

Similarly, thermodynamics - the general science of energy and its conservation, which we are so sensitive to nowadays - also benefited enormously from Thomson's interest. He founded the absolute scale of temperature, the Kelvin scale; his researches with Joule uncovered the cooling effect due to the expansion of gases which has had considerable application in cryogenics; he enunciated one form of the law of thermodynamics; and he did more than any other in correlating his own work and the work of Carnot, Clausius, Joule, Rankine and others, to provide a firm foundation for the new science.
Quite apart from these major contributions, Thomson would have been famous for his comparatively lesser works alone. His studies into the behaviour of rotating bodies and his computation of the age of the earth helped to found the science of geophysics. His work on rotational dynamics also produced the ‘vortex atom’ theory. The design principles incorporated in his electric meters were often new and became part of the science of kinematics. But to the ordinary man it was his work in marine matters - not only the submarine cables but his nautical instruments - which seized the imagination. In the late 1860s, Thomson had a yacht built, called the Lalla Rookh, and this became his most absorbing plaything for the rest of his life as well as being a floating laboratory. He invented the modern form of the mariner's compass (these were made in their thousands by the firm of James White, in which he later became a partner). He invented new depth sounders and also a series of tidal meters, analysers and predictors which allowed the prediction of the tide in any port in the world. He also invented a new form of astronomical clock capable of extreme accuracy. His original clock, with its two pendulums, is still ticking away in his old house in the University.
William Thomson was knighted in 1867 for his services to ocean telegraphy and became Lord Kelvin in 1892: the first of the science lords. His body is buried in Westminster Abbey, next to the grave of Isaac Newton.

Kelvin related collections at the University of Glasgow

Alongside the prodigious amount of his scientific work - his publications number almost seven hundred - Thomson conducted at all periods of his life an energetic correspondence with the leading men of science (he disliked the term ‘scientist’) of his day, whether in Britain, France, Germany, Italy or the United States. Although the bulk of his correspondence is now in Cambridge University Library, there is also a substantial collection in Glasgow, in the Library of his own University.
The papers, pamphlets and books that make up the Library's Kelvin Collection today were originally donated to the University by Kelvin himself (in several donations during his lifetime) and by his nephew, James Thomson Bottomley, in 1926. This collection has been augmented over the years by additional purchases and donations. The most recent acquisition, in March 2008, consists of a collection of some 450 letters relating to Kelvin and his brother James Thomson (1822-1892). These letters document the close and productive relationship that existed between the two brothers. Kelvin reports on his work, his travels, and his engagements with other scientists; from London, he writes of meetings with Faraday, Tyndall, Hooker and others; in 1856 he describes spending ten days with Joule where he ‘got through some very interesting experiments along with him’. This set of letters also includes correspondence with Fleeming Jenkin (relating largely to their submarine telegraphy work and patents), W. E. Ayrton (the electrical engineer and physicist), John Pringle Nichol (professor of astronomy at Glasgow), J. Emerson Tennent (writing from Ceylon), and various other family members.
Outwith the Library, see also:
• The Hunterian Museum
Preserves a unique collection of instruments designed by Kelvin or sent to him by colleagues. Kelvin's life is celebrated in a permanent exhibition: Lord Kelvin: Revolutionary Scientist
• The Hunterian Art Gallery
There are several portraits of Lord Kelvin in the Hunterian Art Collections. Portraits with catalogue numbers 42442, 25595, 52214 and 25512 are works on paper (these are not on display and can be viewed by appointment only); an oil on canvas portrait by Hubert von Herkomer is hung on the South Staircase, Gilbert Scott Building: this is freely accessible to the public. For further details, see the Hunterian's online catalogue of objects.
• University Archives Services
Papers record the part played by the P.N.P., ("Professor of Natural Philosophy") as Kelvin would call himself, in University affairs, and also hold the records of Kelvin and Hughes Ltd.
In addition, the University's Department of Physics has also created a website dedicated to Lord Kelvin's life and work."

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Lt Col Charlie Brown
A brilliant man. There is no comparison with the rest of us
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SPC Douglas Bolton
Great post.
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