Kelvin, Thermodynamics and the Natural World

M. W. Collins,

Kelvin, Thermodynamics and the Natural World
 
 
This volume looks afresh at the life and works of Lord Kelvin including his standing and relationships with Charles Darwin, T. S Huxley and the X-club, thereby throwing new light on the nineteenth-century conflict between the British energy and biology specialists. It focuses on two principal issues. Firstly, there is the contribution made by Kelvin to the formulation of the Laws of Thermodynamics, both personal and in the content of the scientific communications exchanged with other workers, such as Joule and Clausius. Secondly, there is Kelvin’s impact on the wider field of science such as thermoelectricity and geology (determination of the age of the earth). Of late a number of studies and initiatives, including the Centenary celebrations of Kelvin’s death and exhibits such as that of the ‘Revolutionary Scientist’ in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, have been undertaken aiding the redefinition of Kelvin’s greatness and achievements. The book also raises awareness to ‘improve our approach to the teaching of elementary thermodynamics by attempting to empathise with Kelvin’s perspective’. It is completed by a full biography, overviews of various monuments to his memory, and short ‘Stories in Pictures’ on the Atlantic cable, Maxwell’s Demon, the universities associated with the development of thermodynamics and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.Scientists and engineers with an interest in thermodynamics and anyone interested in the work of Lord Kelvin will find benefit in Kelvin, Thermodynamics and the Natural World.


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