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Energy and Empire

Energy and Empire
A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin
2 Volume Paperback Set


  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9780521129213

£ 51.99
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About the Authors
  • 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.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'By tackling one of the grand figures of Victorian science and supplying us with a remarkably detailed, not to say exhaustive, account of his life, work and thought, [the authors] have greatly deepened our understanding of what is increasingly recognized as a pivotal period in the history not just of science and technology, but of our wider society as well.' Bruce J. Hunt

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Multiple copy pack
    • isbn: 9780521129213
    • length: 892 pages
    • dimensions: 250 x 325 x 68 mm
    • weight: 1.74kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Part 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

  • Authors

    Crosbie Smith

    M. Norton Wise

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