William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin - Mathematicians, Timeline and Childhood

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William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's Personal Details

William Thomson was a renowned physicist from Britain who formulated the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and invented the Kelvin scale of temperature

InformationDetail
BirthdayJune 26, 1824
Died onDecember 17, 1907
NationalityBritish
FamousScientists, Mathematicians, Physicists
SiblingsJames Thomson
Known asLord Kelvin, Lord William Thomson Kelvin, William Thomson Kelvin
Universities
  • University of Glasgow
  • 1845 - Peterhouse
  • Cambridge
  • Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Birth PlaceBelfast
ReligionChristianity, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Church of Scotland
GenderMale
Sun SignCancer
Born inBelfast
Famous asPhysicist
Died at Age83

// Famous Mathematicians

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's photo

Who is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin?

Sir William Thomson Lord Kelvin was an Ireland born scientist, mathematician and engineer who is a stalwart of science and is credited for his pioneering work in the field of thermodynamics as well as in electromagnetism. Sir William had a profound effect on the sciences and made plenty of discoveries that made him one of the greatest scientist of his era, and indeed of all time. He had also worked on telegraphic projects commissioned by the British crown and was successful in producing a mariner’s compass that was far more reliable than the ones which were available at the time. There are very few scientists in the history of the world who can match up to the achievements and accomplishments of Sir William Thomson Lord Kelvin. In addition to that, it is also important to point out that his accomplishments have been in great many branches and fields of science; which is why he is counted among the most gifted scientific minds of the last millennium. Sir William was unlike his other contemporaries who dedicate themselves completely towards research in their laboratory, rather he believed he could contribute to the greater good by employing his skills in the field of industrial research. To know more about his life and works read on.

// Famous Scientists

Childhood & Early Life

William Thomson was born on 26 June, 1824 to James Thomson and Margaret Thomson in Belfast, Ireland. He was the 4th child born to the Thomsons’ and showed a gift for the sciences quite early on in his life.

His father James was a mathematics teacher and William Thomson was initially home schooled. In 1834, at the age of 10, he started studying at ‘Glasgow University’; the institute provided elementary school education to willing pupils at the time.

In the year 1841, William Thomson went up to ‘Peterhouse College’ at ‘Cambridge University’ and studied mathematics, physics and pure sciences. He was also an eager sportsman while at Cambridge and in fact was a well-known athlete.

Career

Right from his days at Cambridge, William Thomson was known as a scientist of rare talent and in 1851 he published a paper in relation to Joule’s and Carnot’s theories on thermodynamics that was the touchstone of the ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’.

Between the years 1852 and 1856, he partnered with James Prescott Joule and analyzed the experiments on thermodynamics carried out by the latter. Their collaboration led to plenty of discoveries in thermodynamics including the celebrated ‘Joule-Thomson Effect’.

In 1855, Sir William worked with the leading scientist of the period Michael Faraday on the transatlantic telegraph cable and the duo were also responsible for being the first to propound the concept of the electromagnetic field.

He was one of the earliest scientists to have devised a method of accurately measuring electric current and in 1857 he published a paper on the electrometer. He went on to invent the ‘Kelvin Balance’, which was regarded as one of the most accurate measure of the period.

He worked in two separate periods for the Atlantic cable company; between the years 1857 to 1866. He was involved in the process of laying the cables that would bring about a paradigm shift in how people communicated.

Once the transatlantic cable was completed; Thomson became the most sought after name in telegraphic communication and was made partner by two engineering firms. This association made him one of the wealthiest scientists of the era.

Major Works

Sir William Thomson’s work on the transatlantic cable remains his biggest legacy that laid the foundations for modern communication technology and it later became one of the bedrocks of communication during the World War.

He was pioneer on thermodynamics studies and in 1848 was successful in establishing the correct value of ‘Absolute Zero’, which is the lower limit of temperature. The scale calibrated to measure temperatures is known as the Kelvin scale after him.

Awards & Achievements

In 1866 Sir William Thomson was knighted by the British monarch in recognition of his sterling work in laying the transatlantic cable.

In the year 1892, the County of Ayr bestowed on him the title of ‘Baron Kelvin of Largs’ due to his contribution towards the sciences.

Personal Life & Legacy

His brother James Thomson was 2 years older than him and also studied at the ‘Glasgow University’. James Thomson is a scientist and engineer of great renown in his own right. He was made a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1877.

In the September of 1952, Thomson married his friend of many years and the daughter of Walter Crum, Margaret Crum however his wife suffered from health problems and that was one something that bothered him immensely. He had no children.

On 7th December, 1907 at the age of 83, William Thomson, First Baron Kelvin died after suffering from common cold for more than a month.

He was an extremely wealthy scientist who earned a fortune after partnering with two engineering firms in relation to his project on telegraphs. He owned a huge estate and was also the owner of a 126 ton yacht.

Trivia

Sir William Thomson was a great devotee of the authors of the classics of literature and was known to quote them when he wanted to make a point.

The name Kelvin is derived from the name of the river Kelvin that flows close to the ‘University of Glasgow’.

// Famous Physicists

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin awards

YearNameAward

Other

1883 - Copley Medal
1856 - Royal Medal
1905 - John Fritz Medal
1845 - Smith's Prize for Examination Performance

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin biography timelines

  • // 26th Jun 1824
    William Thomson was born on 26 June, 1824 to James Thomson and Margaret Thomson in Belfast, Ireland. He was the 4th child born to the Thomsons’ and showed a gift for the sciences quite early on in his life.
  • // 1834
    His father James was a mathematics teacher and William Thomson was initially home schooled. In 1834, at the age of 10, he started studying at ‘Glasgow University’; the institute provided elementary school education to willing pupils at the time.
  • // 1841
    In the year 1841, William Thomson went up to ‘Peterhouse College’ at ‘Cambridge University’ and studied mathematics, physics and pure sciences. He was also an eager sportsman while at Cambridge and in fact was a well-known athlete.
  • // 1848
    He was pioneer on thermodynamics studies and in 1848 was successful in establishing the correct value of ‘Absolute Zero’, which is the lower limit of temperature. The scale calibrated to measure temperatures is known as the Kelvin scale after him.
  • // 1851
    Right from his days at Cambridge, William Thomson was known as a scientist of rare talent and in 1851 he published a paper in relation to Joule’s and Carnot’s theories on thermodynamics that was the touchstone of the ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’.
  • // 1852 To 1856
    Between the years 1852 and 1856, he partnered with James Prescott Joule and analyzed the experiments on thermodynamics carried out by the latter. Their collaboration led to plenty of discoveries in thermodynamics including the celebrated ‘Joule-Thomson Effect’.
  • // 1855
    In 1855, Sir William worked with the leading scientist of the period Michael Faraday on the transatlantic telegraph cable and the duo were also responsible for being the first to propound the concept of the electromagnetic field.
  • // 1857
    He was one of the earliest scientists to have devised a method of accurately measuring electric current and in 1857 he published a paper on the electrometer. He went on to invent the ‘Kelvin Balance’, which was regarded as one of the most accurate measure of the period.
  • // 1857 To 1866
    He worked in two separate periods for the Atlantic cable company; between the years 1857 to 1866. He was involved in the process of laying the cables that would bring about a paradigm shift in how people communicated.
  • // 1866
    In 1866 Sir William Thomson was knighted by the British monarch in recognition of his sterling work in laying the transatlantic cable.
  • // 1877
    His brother James Thomson was 2 years older than him and also studied at the ‘Glasgow University’. James Thomson is a scientist and engineer of great renown in his own right. He was made a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1877.
  • // 1892
    In the year 1892, the County of Ayr bestowed on him the title of ‘Baron Kelvin of Largs’ due to his contribution towards the sciences.
  • // 7th Dec 1907
    On 7th December, 1907 at the age of 83, William Thomson, First Baron Kelvin died after suffering from common cold for more than a month.
  • // 1952
    In the September of 1952, Thomson married his friend of many years and the daughter of Walter Crum, Margaret Crum however his wife suffered from health problems and that was one something that bothered him immensely. He had no children.

// Famous British

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's FAQ

  • What is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin birthday?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was born at 1824-06-26

  • When was William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin died?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was died at 1907-12-17

  • Where was William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin died?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was died in Largs

  • Which age was William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin died?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was died at age 83

  • Where is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's birth place?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was born in Belfast

  • What is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin nationalities?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's nationalities is British

  • Who is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin siblings?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's siblings is James Thomson

  • What was William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin universities?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin studied at University of Glasgow, 1845 - Peterhouse, Cambridge, Royal Belfast Academical Institution

  • What is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's religion?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's religion is Christianity, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Church of Scotland

  • What is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin's sun sign?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin is Cancer

  • How famous is William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin?

    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin is famouse as Physicist