Traveling with the Atom

Allegheny College

Compiled by Glen E. Rodgers
Colleen Riley
Charles Ruggiero


Static electricity generator designed by Kelvin.
Lord William Thomson Kelvin
Scottish physicist
Lord Kelvin's Mansion in Largs.

Contribution to the Development of the Atomic Concept
Lord William Thomson Kelvin was one of the leading physical scientists
   and greatest teachers of his time.  In the field of thermodynamics, Kelvin worked with James Prescott Joule to develop the Joule-Thomson cooling effect.  In 1848 he proposed the absolute scale of temperature.  In the field of electricity Lord Kelvin devised improvements in the manufacture of cables and in the construction of mirror galvanometers and in the siphon recorder.  He was instrumental in the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cables, and he contributed to the theory of elasticity.  With the help of Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, Kelvin estimated the age of the sun and calculated the energy radiated from its surface. In 1902 he was instrumental in the development of the model of the atom, proposing that an atom consisted of negatively charged electrons embedded in a sphere of positive charge independently of J.J. Thomson. 

Web Sources of Biographical Information
1902 article written by Lord Kelvin
Biography of Lord William Thomson Kelvin
Kelvin Temperature Scale

Some Web Sources on the History of Atomic Scientists:
The History of Chemistry 1992 Woodrow Wilson Summer Institute
Selected Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry
Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry (and Some Physics too)
Classic Chemistry compiled by Carmen Giunta
History of Science website by Charlesworth
Center for the History of Physics
Echo Exploring & Collecting History Online
Atom: The Incredible World: The History of Atomistics
Nobel Prize WebPage
Biographies of Famous Chemists, University of Liverpool
University of Pennsylvania Biographies
Chemistry: A History
Famous Scientists greatly who contributed to "electro" science: electricity, electromagnetism,
electrical technology, electronics, electrical telegraphy, radio, electrochemistry, electromedicine, etc.
Elements and Atoms: Case Studies in the Development of Chemistry

Selected Biographical Books, Sections of Books, and Articles
Full biographical information on Sacks' book Uncle Tungsten 284-5
Full biographical information on Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology 652-3
Energy and Empire : A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin by Crosbie Smith, M. Norton Wise The Life of Lord Kelvin (2 Volume Set) by S. Thompson, Vanus

Some Scientific/Historical Traveling Sites
Lord Kelvin is buried at Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey
The Hunterian Museum has a collection of Kelvin photos and objects related to Kelvin Hunterian Museum
The Kelvin Museum contains equipment used by Lord Kelvin but is not normally open to the public. See Hunterian Museum Site
Glasgow University, where Kelvin taught, has an exhibit on Lord Kelvin in the physics department. Glasgow University
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)

Links to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Sites will be available here.

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