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Lord Kelvin

Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) was born on Saturday, June 26, 1824 in Belfast and he was a famous physicist.
William Thomson was born on 26 June 1824 in Belfast, Ireland to mother Margaret Gardner and father James Thomson (a mathematics and engineering teacher at Royal Belfast Academical Institution). William was the second child born in a family of four children. He lost his mother at a very young age of 6 in 1830.


William was educated at home along with his elder brother James. Home tutoring was done by their father while their younger brothers received their education from elder sisters.


In 1832 William’s father James Thomson was asked to join as a professor of mathematics at Glasgow which made the family relocate there in October 1833. This changed the growing up days for Thomson kids. The family spent their summer of 1839 in London. Thomson family started having a wide view on life and experienced broad things due to the big city lives. In 1840’s summer the family got to spend time in Germany and the Netherlands. Thomson family’s kids were made to learn languages which were held in high regard.


William suffered from heart problems and was very ill to the brink of dying at the age of 9. While his father was the professor in the university department of ‘Royal Belfast Academical Institution’, William got enrolled here. At the age of 10 William entered Glasgow University in 1834. The University had a system of providing several elementary school facilities for able students and William was definitely an able pupil to get enrolled in the institution. While studying in school William showed huge and natural interest in classics and sciences. He was only 12 when he received a prize for translating Lucian of Samosata's Dialogues of the Gods from Latin to English. Thomson’s academic brilliance won him the class prize in astronomy (in the academic year 1839/40) for his ‘Essay on the figure of the Earth’ which was a sheer masterpiece showing the early signs of the genius in representing mathematical analysis and creativity.


Thomson also calculated the age of the earth from its cooling rate and concluded that it was too short to fit with Lyell's theory of gradual geological change or Charles Darwin's theory of the evolution of animals though natural selection. He used the field concept to explain electromagnetic interactions. He speculated that electromagnetic forces were propagated as linear and rotational strains in an elastic solid, producing "vortex atoms" which generated the field. He proposed that these atoms consisted of tiny knotted strings, and the type of knot determined the type of atom. This led Tait to study the properties of knots. Kelvin's theory said ether behaved like an elastic solid when light waves propagated through it. He equated ether with the cellular structure of minute gyrostats. With Tait, Kelvin published Treatise on Natural Philosophy (1867), which was important for establishing energy within the structure of the theory of mechanics.


William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) had slipped on ice during the winter of 1860-1861 which had fractured his leg. Since then he limped till his death on 17 December 1907.