Thomson, William

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Thomson, William Gender: M
born on 26 June 1824 at 05:00 (= 05:00 AM )
Place Belfast, Northern Ireland, 54n35, 5w55
Timezone LMT m5w55 (is local mean time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 04°28' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 24°08 Asc.s_cancol.18.gif 21°37'

William Thomson


British mathematical physicist and engineer who profoundly influenced the scientific thought of his generation.

At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He worked closely with mathematics professor Hugh Blackburn in his work. He also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor, which propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour. For his work on the transatlantic telegraph project he was knighted by Queen Victoria, becoming Sir William Thomson. He had extensive maritime interests and was most noted for his work on the mariner's compass, which had previously been limited in reliability.

Lord Kelvin is widely known for determining the correct value of absolute zero as approximately -273.15 Celsius. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honour.

On his ennoblement in 1892 in honour of his achievements in thermodynamics, and of his opposition to Irish Home Rule, he adopted the title Baron Kelvin of Largs and is therefore often described as Lord Kelvin. He was the first UK scientist to be elevated to the House of Lords. The title refers to the River Kelvin, which flows close by his laboratory at the University of Glasgow. His home was the imposing red sandstone mansion Netherhall, in Largs on the Firth of Clyde. Despite offers of elevated posts from several world renowned universities Lord Kelvin refused to leave Glasgow, remaining Professor of Natural Philosophy for over 50 years, until his eventual retirement from that post. The Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow has a permanent exhibition on the work of Lord Kelvin including many of his original papers, instruments and other artefacts such as his smoking pipe.

Always active in industrial research and development, he was recruited around 1899 by George Eastman to serve as vice-chairman of the board of the British company Kodak Limited, affiliated with Eastman Kodak.

He died 17 December 1907.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes "Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy‎" edited by Raymond Flood, Mark McCartney, and Andrew Whitaker (OUP, 2008), p. 1: "though in childhood his birthday was celebrated on 25th we have it on the authority of his father that William Thomson was born on the 26 June at 5 am."

Previously, Starkman rectified the birth time to 2.54.04 LMT.


  • Traits : Mind : Child prodigy
  • Vocation : Engineer : Electrical
  • Vocation : Science : Mathematics/ Statistics
  • Vocation : Science : Physics
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Abstract thought
  • Notable : Awards : Other Awards (Copley Medal)
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (laws of thermodynamics)