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Lord Kelvin, Scottish physicist

Lord Kelvin, Scottish physicist

H411/0193

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), born William Thomson, Scottish physicist and mathematician. Thomson was among the first to support Joule's work on the "mechanical equivalent of heat". Together, in 1852, they discovered that when a gas is allowed to expand freely, its temperature drops slightly, an important phenomenon known as the Joule-Thomson effect. In 1848 Thomson proposed the existence of absolute zero and suggested the use of the absolute temperature scale, which was named the Kelvin scale. In 1866 he was knighted for his improvements to galvanometers and signal-carrying cables used on the newly-laid Atlantic cable. Engraving from Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century (1898).

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