Mathematician:William Thomson

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Mathematician

British mathematical physicist and engineer who did important work in:

  • the mathematical analysis of electricity
  • formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics
  • unification of the discipline of modern physics

Received a knighthood from Queen Victoria for his work on the development of the transatlantic electric telegraph project.


Nationality

Northern Irish


History

  • Born: 26 June 1824 in Belfast, Ireland
  • Died: 17 December 1907 in Netherhall (near Largs), Ayrshire, Scotland


Theorems and Definitions

Results named for William Thomson can be found here.

Definitions of concepts named for William Thomson can be found here.


Publications

  • 1840: Essay on the Figure of the Earth
  • 1841: Fourier's expansions of functions in trigonometrical series
  • 1842: On the uniform motion of heat and its connection with the mathematical theory of electricity
  • 1856: Dynamical illustrations of the magnetic and helicoidal rotary effects of transparent bodies on polarised light
  • 1867: On vortex motion


Notable Quotes

A single curve, drawn in the manner of the curve of prices of cotton, describes all that the ear can possibly hear as the result of the most complicated musical performance ... That to my mind is a wonderful proof of the potency of mathematics.
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say


Mathematics is the only good metaphysics.
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say


Also known as

William Thomson is also (perhaps better) known as Lord Kelvin.

Full name and title: Sir William Thomson, $1$st Baron Kelvin.


Sources