October 13, 1846, 175 years ago, almost to this day, a young man was admitted to the University of Glasgow as a professor of natural philosophy. William Thompson, then 22, will hold the post for 53 years, known as Lord Calvin.
2 Although not born in Glasgow (originally from Belfast), Lord Calvin moved to the city, moving here at the age of six when his father received a professorship at the University of Glasgow. It is named after the river that flows past the university where it made its name as the giant of science. He was the fourth child in a family of seven whose mother died when he was a small child. Young William and his brother James actually matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1834 at the age of 10 and 11, respectively, becoming the youngest students in the institution.
3 Thompson won a gold medal at the age of 15 for “An Essay on the Figure of the Earth”, the first of many university awards, and his first published article was published when he was 16 years old. Was He went to Cambridge in 1841, and then to Paris, before returning to Glasgow in 1846. He made great strides in physics, including the creation of the Calvin temperature scale and the creation of another law of thermodynamics that explained that heat would not move from a cold body to a hot one.
Other notable achievements of Lord Calvin include the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable between Ireland and Newfoundland in the early 1860s and the development of a compass for iron ships. His first home was on the University of Glasgow campus. World Fully lit using 106 lamps.
5 Lord Calvin is buried with Isaac Newton at Westminster Abbey, under a window that pays tribute to him as an ‘engineer, natural philosopher’.