Title page of William Thomson's "On the Dynamical Theory of Heat" from Mathematical and Physical Papers. |

**“On the Dynamical Theory of Heat**, with Numerical Results Deduced from Mr Joule’s Equivalent of a Thermal Unit, and M. Regnault’s Observations on Steam” is a March 1851 paper by Irish physicist William Thomson that gave what has come to be known as the Thomson-statement of the second law of thermodynamics. [1] This statement is: [2]

“Is it possible to continually get work by abstracting heat from a body till all its heat is removed? Is it possible to get work by cooling a body below the temperature of the medium in which it exists: I believe we may consider a negative answer as axiomatic. Then we deduce the proposition thatμ[Carnot’s coefficient] is the same for all substances at a given temperature.”

This was restated again, albeit in simpler terms, in Thomson’s famous 1852 paper “On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy.”

References

1. Thomson, William. (1851). “On the Dynamical Theory of Heat, with Numerical Results Deduced from Mr Joule’s Equivalent of a Thermal Unit, and M. Regnault’s Observations on Steam”,

*Transactions of the Royal Society,*March; and

*Philosophical Magazine,*Vol. IV, 1852; and

*Mathematical and Physical Papers*(pgs. 174-315), Vol. 1, 1882.

2. Smith, Crosbie and Wise, M. Norton. (1989).

*Energy and Empire: a Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin*(pg. 329). Cambridge University Press.

External links

● On the Dynamical Theory of Heat (Kelvin papers) – Zapatopi.net.