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The Elements of Natural Philosophy

Sprache: Englisch.
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Titel: The Elements of Natural Philosophy
Autor/en: William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, Peter Guthrie Tait

ISBN: 1573929840
EAN: 9781573929844
Sprache: Englisch.
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November 2002 - kartoniert - 295 Seiten

One of the most celebrated scientists of the 19th century, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was said to have more letters after his name than any man in the British Empire. His prodigious accomplishments included both theoretical insights and significant inventions. Among his contributions to theory were advances in hydrodynamics, an innovative synthesis of the mathematical relationship between electricity and heat, and major work in the second law of thermodynamics. In the practical realm he created the absolute temperature scale (which bears his name); worked on the development of the first transatlantic telegraph cable; and invented a telegraph receiver, a compass adopted by the British Admiralty, a form of analog computer for measuring tides, and sounding equipment. Always in the forefront of the leading scientists of the day, he collaborated with James Clerk Maxwell, Hermann von Helmholtz, James Prescott Joule, and Peter Guthrie Tait.
The Elements of Natural Philosophy was done with Tait, a pioneering physicist and mathematician whose work in advanced algebra formed the basis of vector analysis and was instrumental in the later development of modern mathematical physics. An abridgement of their original Treatise on Natural Philosophy, this work was designed to be accessible to students with a basic knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. As such it is a book that nonspecialists can still appreciate.
Like Isaac NewtonÆs great summation of ônatural philosophyö in the late 17th century (The Principia Mathematica), this work remains of interest to historians of science because it represented a similar summation of the grand synthesis that scientists, building upon NewtonÆs work, envisioned at the end of the 19th century. Not long after its publication, however, was the advent of relativity and quantum physics, which considerably changed and enlarged the picture of the natural world as conceived by earlier generations of scientists.
William Thomson (1824 - 1907), also known as Lord Kelvin of Largs (Scotland), began his career in 1846 as professor of natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow, a position he held until 1899. There he established the first physics laboratory in Great Britain. His investigations into the properties of matter made him famous. Thomson supervised the laying of the first transatlantic cable in 1866. He also invented and patented the mirror galvanometer (telegraph receiver) and the siphon recorder to improve cable communication. For his work he was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1866.

Thomson traveled widely in Europe and the United States, and gave a series of lectures at Johns Hopkins University in 1884 on the state of scientific knowledge. His interest in yachting and the sea inspired him to invent, patent, and manufacture a compass used by the British Admiralty, a calculating machine that measured tides, and sounding (or depth-measuring) equipment. With Peter Guthrie Tait, he wrote the textbook Treatise on Natural Philosophy, which was published in 1867 and was a major influence on future physicists. The Elements of Natural Philosophy (1872), coauthored with Tait, consisted, in great part, of the nonmathematical portion of The Treatise on Natural Philosophy. He served as president of the Royal Society from 1890 to 1895. At the time of his death Thomson had published more than six hundred papers and had been granted dozens of patents. He is buried at Westminster Abbey, London.

Peter Guthrie Tait (1831 - 1901) was professor of mathematics at Queen's College, Belfast. There he joined the noted Irish chemist Thomas Andrews (1813-1885) in research on the density of ozone and the effect of electric discharges on oxygen and other gases. From 1860 he was professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. Tait made fundamental contributions to the theory of quaternions (an advanced algebra that gave rise to vector analysis and was instrumental in the development of modern mathematical physics). His Elementary Treatise on Quaternions (1867) went through three editions. Later he wrote Introduction to Quaternions (1873). In collaboration with the English physicist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, Tait produced Treatise on Natural Philosophy (1867), followed by The Elements of Natural Philosophy. After publication of Treatise on Natural Philosophy, Tait concentrated on studies of thermoelectricity and thermal conductivity. With the Scottish physicist Balfour Stewart he wrote The Unseen Universe (1867), followed by the sequel, Paradoxical Philosophy (1878).
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