A Conversation for Lord Kelvin - the Physicist

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Post 1

Spherical Cows Incorporated

Kelvin was a very veratile researcher and did important work in thermordynamics, pre-atomic theory, field theory, and electronics. One of my charished possessions is a 1902 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The article on Atoms is by James Clerk Maxwell(ah for the days when Britannica hired the world's leading experts to write their articles; ah for the days when the world's leading experts in a subject could and did write for the public).
The article is notable and striking since it dates from before the general acceptance of atoms. The article's introduction states: "In modern times the study of nature has brought to light many properties of bodies which appear to depend on the magnitude and motions of their ultimate constituents, and the question of he existence of atoms has once more become conspicuous among scientific inquiries. We shall begin by stating the opposing doctrines of atoms and of continuity before giving an outline of the state of molecular science as it now exists".
It also outlines Lord Kelvin's attempts to describe atoms as votices in the ether... a very sophisticated idea the form and math of which is remarkably like modern string theory! Indeed the whole article could be mapped to the context of subatomic particles and quarks almost exactly. It is remarkably similar to modern theory... just a couple of levels down...

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Post 2


He definately was very good at his job. The only times he was obviously wrong were ones like the age of the sun which were based on flawed premises (usually popular ones of the time) As he worked on sub-surface telegraph cables, he can, somewhat, be claimed as the father of the internet too, all be it the Victorian early version. I think the University of Glasgow are justified in showing him off, as one of the major influences on modern living.

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