Energy and Empire (2 Volume Set): A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvinby Crosbie Smith, M. Norton Wise
Pub. Date: 04/30/2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Energy and Empire is a definitive biographical study of Lord Kelvin, the most famous mathematical physicist of nineteenth-century Britain. As part of this study, it delivers on a speculation long entertained by historians of science, that Victorian physics expressed in its very content the industrial society that produced it. Born into a family committed to liberal… See more details below
Energy and Empire is a definitive biographical study of Lord Kelvin, the most famous mathematical physicist of nineteenth-century Britain. As part of this study, it delivers on a speculation long entertained by historians of science, that Victorian physics expressed in its very content the industrial society that produced it. Born into a family committed to liberal political reform and personal advancement, William Thomson identified himself as much with the shipyards and engineering works of his adopted city of Glasgow as with the democratic education offered in its university. Building outward from this secure base he integrated his national and international activities into that heady period of almost total British supremacy in industrial power, maritime expansion and imperial influence. This meticulously researched contextual biography of an eminent scientist will be of interest to historians of science and technology; intellectual, social and economic historians; physicists; engineers; geologists; and philosophers of science.
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Table of ContentsPart I. The making of the natural philosopher: 1. From the ashes of revolution; 2. Clydeside; 3. A Cambridge undergraduate; 4. The changing tradition of natural philosophy; 5. Professor William Thomson; Part II. The transformation of classical physics: 6. The language of mathematical physics; 7. The kinematics of field theory and the nature of electricity; 8. The dynamics of field theory; 9. Thermodynamics: the years of uncertainty; 10. Thermodynamics: the years of resolution; 11. T & T or Treatise on natural philosophy; 12. The hydrodynamics of matter; 13. Telegraph signals and light waves: Thomson versus Maxwell; Part III. The economy of nature: the great storehouse of creation: 14. The irreversible cosmos; 15. The age of the sun controversies; 16. The secular cooling of the earth; 17. The age of the earth controversies; 18. The habitation of earth; Part IV. Energy, economy and Empire: the relief of Man's estate: 19. The telegraphic art; 20. Measurement and marketing: the economics of electricity; 21. Rule Britannia: the art of navigation; 22. The magnetic compass; 23. Baron Kelvin of Largs; Bibliography; Index.
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