36 Facts About Lord Kelvin


Lord Kelvin worked closely with mathematics professor Hugh Blackburn in his work.

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Lord Kelvin had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor, which propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour.

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Lord Kelvin had extensive maritime interests and was most noted for his work on the mariner's compass, which previously had limited reliability.

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Lord Kelvin was ennobled in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics, and of his opposition to Irish Home Rule, becoming Baron Kelvin, of Largs in the County of Ayr.

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Lord Kelvin's home was the red sandstone mansion Netherhall, in Largs, which he built in the 1870s and where he died.

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The Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow has a permanent exhibition on the work of Lord Kelvin including many of his original papers, instruments, and other artefacts, such as his smoking pipe.

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Lord Kelvin attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where his father was a professor in the university department.

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Lord Kelvin took a lively interest in the classics, music, and literature; but the real love of his intellectual life was the pursuit of science.

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Lord Kelvin won the First Smith's Prize, which, unlike the tripos, is a test of original research.

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Lord Kelvin devised the mathematical technique of electrical images, which became a powerful agent in solving problems of electrostatics, the science which deals with the forces between electrically charged bodies at rest.

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Lord Kelvin predicted that the melting point of ice must fall with pressure, otherwise its expansion on freezing could be exploited in a perpetuum mobile.

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Lord Kelvin proposed 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 °, would give out the same mechanical effect [work], whatever be the number T Such a scale would be quite independent of the physical properties of any specific substance.

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Lord Kelvin was uncertain of how to frame his theory and the paper went through several drafts before he settled on an attempt to reconcile Carnot and Joule.

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Lord Kelvin formulated the heat death paradox in 1862, which uses the second law of thermodynamics to disprove the possibility of an infinitely old universe; this paradox was later extended by Rankine.

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Lord Kelvin expressed his results in terms of the data rate that could be achieved and the economic consequences in terms of the potential revenue of the transatlantic undertaking.

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Lord Kelvin believed that Thomson's calculations implied that the cable must be "abandoned as being practically and commercially impossible".

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Lord Kelvin thought Whitehouse no fool, and suspected that he might have the practical skill to make the existing design work.

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Lord Kelvin patented the key elements of his system, the mirror galvanometer and the siphon recorder, in 1858.

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Lord Kelvin was present at the laying of the Para to Pernambuco section of the Brazilian coast cables in 1873.

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Lord Kelvin made significant contributions to atmospheric electricity for the relatively short time for which he worked on the subject, around 1859.

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Lord Kelvin developed several instruments for measuring the atmospheric electric field, using some of the electrometers he initially developed for telegraph work, which he tested at Glasgow and whilst on holiday on Arran.

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Lord Kelvin may have unwittingly observed atmospheric electrical effects caused by the Carrington event in early September 1859.

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Lord Kelvin invented the current balance, known as the Kelvin balance or Ampere balance, for the precise specification of the ampere, the standard unit of electric current.

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Lord Kelvin contended that the laws of thermodynamics operated from the birth of the universe and envisaged a dynamic process that saw the organisation and evolution of the Solar System and other structures, followed by a gradual "heat death".

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Lord Kelvin developed the view that the Earth had once been too hot to support life and contrasted this view with that of uniformitarianism, that conditions had remained constant since the indefinite past.

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Lord Kelvin's calculations showed that the Sun could not have possibly existed long enough to allow the slow incremental development by evolution – unless some energy source beyond what he or any other Victorian era person knew of was found.

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Lord Kelvin was drawn into public disagreement with geologists, Kelvin did pay off gentleman's bet with Strutt on the importance of radioactivity in the Earth.

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Lord Kelvin remained something of a celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic until his death.

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Lord Kelvin saw his Christian faith as supporting and informing his scientific work, as is evident from his address to the annual meeting of the Christian Evidence Society, 23 May 1889.

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Lord Kelvin received the order from the King on 8 August 1902, and was sworn a member of the council at Buckingham Palace on 11 August 1902.

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Lord Kelvin's grave is in the nave, near the choir screen, and close to the graves of Isaac Newton, John Herschel, and Charles Darwin.

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Lord Kelvin had been a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, attached to St Columba's Episcopal Church in Largs, and when in Glasgow to St Mary's Episcopal Church .

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Lord Kelvin referred to the acoustic wave equation describing sound as waves of pressure in air and attempted to describe an electromagnetic wave equation, presuming a luminiferous aether susceptible to vibration.

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The papers had been full of the wonders of Rontgen's rays, about which Lord Kelvin was intensely skeptical until Rontgen himself sent him a copy of his Memoir"; on 17 January 1896, having read the paper and seen the photographs, he wrote Rontgen a letter saying that "I need not tell you that when I read the paper I was very much astonished and delighted.

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The attribution to Lord Kelvin giving an address in 1900 is presumably a confusion with his "Two clouds" speech, delivered to the Royal Institution in 1900, and which on the contrary pointed out areas that would subsequently see revolutions.

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In 1898, Lord Kelvin predicted that only 400 years of oxygen supply remained on the planet, due to the rate of burning combustibles.

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