Degrees Kelvin: a tale of genius, invention, and tragedy by David Lindley

By David Lindley

This is often a fully attention-grabbing romp via 19th century physics which has as its automobile the lifetime of William Thomson - probably greater referred to as Lord Kelvin. Thomson's clinical existence and occasions are rather well portrayed - he was once attracted to nearly something that constituted ordinary philosophy (today often called physics). but also to his targets in natural technology, Thomson used to be additionally intensely drawn to utilizing technological know-how to boost know-how for the betterment of humanity. hence, a few of his contemporaries have criticized him for spending an excessive amount of time tinkering and never sufficient time utilizing his great mind to extra summary clinical difficulties. Thomson's fields of job have been many: thermodynamics, electromagnetism, age of the earth and taking part within the laying of the transatlantic cable being just a couple of. The writing sort is apparent, authoritative, pleasant, available and particularly attractive. The technology is particularly good defined, even though illustrative diagrams haven't been included.

After studying the publication, i used to be left really wondered by means of the observe "tragedy" in its subtitle. even though the aged William Thomson was once frequently relatively reluctant in embracing new improvement in physics, customarily close to the flip of the 20 th century, he did lead a wealthy efficient existence and was once lauded and revered via his clinical contemporaries and the general public alike. by some means, the notice "tragedy" doesn't appear appropriate.

Although a person can get pleasure from this booklet and research a lot from it, as a result of its clinical content material, technological know-how buffs are inclined to have fun with it the most.

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Extra info for Degrees Kelvin: a tale of genius, invention, and tragedy

Example text

If he did well as wrangler, a Cambridge fellowship was his. He conceived of spending some time in Paris, to make the acquaintance of the French scientists whose work and style he so admired. Like the young researcher today, he could imagine spending a few years here and there before settling into a permanent position. His father, on the other hand, knew how rarely a secure post came open. If the Glasgow chair went to another young man, it could be closed out to his son for the rest of his life.

The date of this entry is unclear. In late 1843, though he resumed his studies with a vengeance, he also kept up with rowing. At the end of November William wrote cheerily to his sister Anna that although he had to catch up on a lot of work for Hopkins “I am practising now everyday for a great skulling race wh will take place on Tuesday. The winner will get a cup of about fifteen guineas value as well as the honour of holding a pair of silver skulls in his hands for a year. I don’t however aspire to such an honour, and I shall be very well satisfied if I come in second or third.

The idleness however did not depend upon external circumstances as I have been in my room almost every night at or before 7, but partly to my having Wilhelm Meister. . ” The rest of the page is torn off. ” The date of this entry is unclear. In late 1843, though he resumed his studies with a vengeance, he also kept up with rowing. At the end of November William wrote cheerily to his sister Anna that although he had to catch up on a lot of work for Hopkins “I am practising now everyday for a great skulling race wh will take place on Tuesday.

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