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Thomas Seebeck. Portrait of Thomas Johann Seebeck (1770-1831), Estonian-German physicist and inventor of the thermocouple. Seebeck was born into a wealthy family and could afford to devote his life to scientific research. He became acquainted with important intellectuals and became the most distinguished experimental physicist of his day. In 1822 he discovered that heat applied to the junction of two different types of wire could make electricity flow around a circuit. He named this effect 'thermomagnetism'. It is now known as the 'Seebeck effect' or 'thermoelectricity'. Devices called thermocouples use this effect to measure temperature.
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