John Waterston

John WaterstonIn thermodynamics, John James Waterston (1811-1883) was a Scottish civil engineer noted for his 1845 article “On the Physics of Media that are Composed of Free and Perfectly Elastic Molecules in a State of Motion”, one the first treatises on the kinetic theory of gases. [1] Waterston knew of the earlier 1820 work by English physicist John Herapath. [2]

Waterston’s pioneering work on kinetic theory remained generally unknown until his lost manuscript was discovered in 1891 by English physicist William Ramsay, while tracking down some old citations, who arranged for a belated publication in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1892 along with a short commentary of its history.

References
1. (a) Waterston, John J. (1845). “On the Physics of Media that are Composed of Free and Perfectly Elastic Molecules in a State of Motion”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A, vol. 183 (1892), pp. 1-79.
(b) Anon. (1846). “Notice: On the Physics of Media that are Composed of Free and Perfectly Elastic Molecules in a State of Motion”, Philosophical Magazine (pg. 50), Mar 05.
2. Lindley, David. (2001). Boltzmann’s Atom: the Great Debate that Launched a Revolution in Physics (pgs. 1-3). The Free Press.

External links
John James Waterston – Wikipedia.
John James Waterston (neglected pioneer) – History of Kinetic Theory, by Dave Levermore.
John James Waterson – SciencePhoto.com.

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