- William Thomson - Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
Born in Belfast, Thomson came to Glasgow at the age of six after the death of his Scottish mother and when his father became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Glasgow>. He was taught by his father (he never went to school) and entered University at the age of 10 (and is in the Guiness Book of Records for that feat).
By the age of 22 he had been to Cambridge and Paris Universities and was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University. He developed the science of thermodynamics, developed the second law of thermodynamics and formulated the "Kelvin" scale of absolute temperature. He invented the mirror galvanometer, a telegraph message receiver and supervised the laying of the first trans-Atlantic insulated electric telegraph cable which revolutionised world communications. He invented an electric strain gauge, an improved ship's compass, the Kelvin ampere balance and an electrostatic voltmeter amongst a host of other developments.
Kelvin published 660 scientific papers, the first at age 16. But he was not just an academic scientist - he was a champion rower and founded the Glasgow University Music Society. He was knighted in 1866 for his contribution to telegraphy and created Baron Kelvin of Largs 1892. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
(The illustration of Lord Kelvin is taken from a Clydesdale Bank one hundred pound note).
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