Thomson [Baron Kelvin]
1824-1907 [Baron Kelvin]; b. Belfast; brought to Glasgow, Scotland, as a child;
ed. Glasgow University, entering at the age of 11; established 2nd law of thermodynamics; devised the
Atlantic Cable or which he was knighted in 1866; created Baron Kelvin of
Largs 1892; d. London; his papers collected as Mathematical and Physical
Papers, 1881-1911. DIW CAB IBL DIB
Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.]
(Gill & Macmillan 1988) lists under Kelvin, William Thompson. See also Irish Book Lover, Vol. 1 [infra].
[J. S. Crone,] “Miscellaneous”, in The Irish Book Lover , Vol. I, No. 7 (Feb. 1910), on Lord Kelvin's Early Home (Macmillan): This interesting well written, well illustrated work comprising the recollections of Mrs. King, the eldest sister of Lord Kelvin, describes the beautiful associations amidst which the gifted Thomson family were brought up in Belfast and Glasgow. It will, we are assured, be of more than ordinary interest to readers in the former city introducing as it does anecdotes concerning the remarkable men who a century ago gained for her the title of The Northern Athens, and indeed throughout Ulster where Thomson and his Arithmetic were household words. As showing the leanings of the sturdy yeomen from whom Kelvin sprung, his sister says, her father was taught to read from handkerchiefs on which were printed mottoes and verses composed by the patriots of 98. And again before the battle of Ballynahinch, the rebel army was camping near my grandfathers house, and his daughters secretly carried food to the insurgents, their little brother helping them. Long after these times he wrote an account of the battle to read to the Belfast Literary Society, which was afterwards published in a magazine, and, we may add, republished in 1904 in the Irish Presbyterian. (p.90.)
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Life in matter: Dead matter cannot become living without coming under the influence
of matter previously alive. [...] because we all confidently believe that there are at present, and
have been from time immemorial, many worlds of life besides our own, we
must regard it as probable in the highest degree that there are countless
seed-bearing meteoric stones moving about through space. ..
moss grown fragments from the ruins of another world .. intelligent
and benevolent design [...] one ever-acting Creator and Ruler. (quoted
in Charles A. Read, The Cabinet of Irish Literature (London, Glasgow,
Dublin, Belfast & Edinburgh: Blackie & Son [1876-78])
Portrait: There is an oil portrait of William Thompson, Lord Kelvin by Hubert von
Herkomer, oil, Univ. of Glasgow; see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portraits
Exhibition (Ulster Mus. 1965).