Release Date: 01 October 2007
COLLECTED PAPERS IN PHYSICS AND ENGINEERING BY JAMES THOMSON, D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S. PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING IN QUEENS COLLEGE, BELFAST AND AFTERWARDS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW SELECTED AND ARRANGED WITH UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL AND BRIEF ANNOTATIONS BY SIR JOSEPH LARMOR, D.Sc., LL.D., SEC. R.S., M.P. LUCASIAN PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE AND JAMES THOMSON, M.A. 1912 PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, - PREFACE IT is well known chiefly through references to his work by - other physicists such as his brother Lord Kelvin, Thomas Andrews, James Clerk Maxwell, Osborne Reynolds, J. Willard Gibbs that the scientific activity of James Thomson has left permanent marks on the history of several branches of physical science. The collection into readily accessible form, in one volume, of his published contributions to knowledge, has thus been desirable, especially in view of the scattered local journals, often remote from modern facilities for reference, in which much of the work originally appeared. The project of a posthumous collection of his brothers work was constantly encouraged and looked forward to by Lord Kelvin during his later years, but his numerous pre-occupations prevented active assistance. On the recent completion of the Collected Edition of Lord Kelvins own scientific work, the idea has impressed itself on others that there should be available a full record of the work very different in general type from his own of his brother who was his lifelong companion and scientific associate. The materials for the present collection have been brought together mainly by the care of his son, James Thomson, of the Elswick Engineering Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne, assisted zealously byhis wife who has not survived to see the completion of her work while the Biographical Memoir, containing passages of high interest as regards the personal aspect of the progress of Physical and Engineering Science in this country in the middle of the last century, has been constructed largely out of narratives and recollections obtained by his daughter Mary Hancock Thomson. Letters of scientific importance which passed between Lord Kelvin and his brother, on subjects such as the Theory of the Dissipation of Energy and the characteristics of natural flow in liquids, have been included, as well as scientific correspondence with Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, Andrews, H. C. Sorby and other eminent men. The main characteristic of James Thomsons mind was the marked originality of his way of looking at scientific problems, arising in part perhaps from a combination, then more common than now, of the abstract physical with the practical engineering interest, but also fostered by the independent and unconventional character of his scientific education. This quality was united with singular persistence in brooding over a train of thought, and following it out into all relevant details and ramifications. So constantly was he pre-occupied with the various aspects of his scientific problems, as to sometimes produce an impression that his whole life was concentrated in one absorbing interest. But in the published expression of his results, at any rate, he was usually concise. The assemblage in 500 pages of so much pioneering insight in so many subjects recalls in some respects the work of even the most original of physicists...
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