"On a Universal Tendency in Nature"

Photo of William ThomsonOn 19 April 1852, William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) delivers “On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy” to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Image: Photograph of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin. This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.

Thomson adumbrates the Second Law of Thermodynamics and its implications for life on earth and for the universe at large. The vision of what came to be called “heat death” is further elaborated by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1854.


Martin Meisel, "On the Age of the Universe"

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19 Apr 1852

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