(June 26, 1824 – December 17, 1907)

William Thomson Kelvin was an influential mathematical physicist who spent more than 50 years as a professor at the University of Glasgow. His extensive research pertained to heat, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism and geology. He is most famous for the absolute temperature scale, whose S.I. unit is named after him. Although the “absolute zero” temperature limit was known long before Kelvin, it was him who determined its value to be -273.15°C. Kelvin also collaborated with many of his contemporaries, and received praise for contributions which culminated in the establishment of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. After investigating the field concept, he suggested that electromagnetic effects are transmitted as linear and rotational strains in elastic solid, which produce the “vortex atoms” that generated electromagnetic fields. And based on earth’s cooling rate, he inferred that the age of this planet makes it too young to be in line with Charles Darwin’s Evolution Theory and Charles Lyell’s Theory of Gradual Geological Alterations. Other works and/or contributions attributed to him involved: siphon recorder, mirror galvanometer, mariner’s compass, trans-Atlantic telegraph and magnetoresistance. He was also the first person who used the term “chirality”; as well as “kinetic energy”, in the contexts we know them today. Among the numerous concepts and theorems named after him are: the Kelvin’s Circulation Theorem, the Kelvin-Stokes Theorem, the Kelvin’s Equation, the Kelvin’s Wave, the Kelvin’s Sensing and the Kelvin’s Bridge. He is as well, the eponym of the Joule-Thomson Effect, the Kelvin Probe Force Microscope, and several others.


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