# 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

- Kelvin-Stokes Theorem (with George Gabriel Stokes)
- Kelvin (the SI base unit of temperature)
- Kelvin Transform
- Kelvin Function
- Joule-Thomson Effect (with James Prescott Joule) (also known as Joule-Kelvin Effect or Kelvin-Joule Effect)

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* - 1867:
*Treatise on Natural Philosophy*(with Peter Guthrie Tait)

## 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*

- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:

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

- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:

## 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

- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "William Thomson": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next):*They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say* - 1993: Richard J. Trudeau:
*Introduction to Graph Theory*... (previous) ... (next): $1$. Pure Mathematics: Why study pure mathematics? - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Kelvin, Sir William Thomson, Baron**(1824-1907) - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Thomson, William** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Kelvin, Sir William Thomson, Baron**(1824-1907) - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Thomson, William** - 2014: Christopher Clapham and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(5th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Kelvin, Lord**(1824-1907) - 2014: Christopher Clapham and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(5th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Thomson, William**