Lord Kelvin


May 7, 2023
Lord Kelvin, Botanic Gardens

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin,  (1824-1907) was a Belfast born mathematician, mathematical physicist and engineer who was Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow for 53 years.

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.

Thomson is best known for determining the temperature of absolute zero where particles constitute a minimal amount of heat (273.15 degrees Celsius).

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. He was successful in laying a transatlantic telegraph cable for which he was knighted in 1866.

He was made a peer in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics, and of his opposition to Irish Home Rule becoming Baron Kelvin, named after the River Kelvin in Glasgow.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Belfast? We pass this site on my Queen’s Quarter Tour!