This video concerns the development of the energy concept and the First Law of Thermodynamics, discovered by James Prescott Joule and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), by means of the scientific biography of their authors. The video describes the most relevant issues in the life of Joule and Kelvin which influenced his discovery.
James Prescott Joule (24 December 1818 – 11 October 1889) was an English physicist and brewer, born in Salford, Lancashire. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work (see energy). This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named for James Joule. He worked with Lord Kelvin to develop the absolute scale of temperature. Joule also made observations of magnetostriction, and he found the relationship between the current through a resistor and the heat dissipated, which is now called Joule's first law. William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (26 June 1824 – 17 December 1907) was a British mathematical physicist and engineer who was born in Belfast in 1824. 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.