Pioneers of Science: The ‘Other Thomsons’: James the father and James the brother, mathematician and engineer.

16 November 2017 19:00-20:30, Belfast, United Kingdom

James Thomson Snr (1786-1849), a bright and ambitious farmer’s son from Ballynahinch, became the first mathematics professor at the Belfast Academical Institution. He wrote textbooks, on arithmetic, geography, trigonometry and calculus; prepared boys for a working life in a busy port; and raised a family. He was, in many ways, no less remarkable a man than his two famous sons, James and William.

James Thomson Jnr (1822-1892) has been eclipsed by his famous brother William, Lord Kelvin, but he himself made major contributions to science and engineering. He was Professor of Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast from 1853 until 1873, when he moved to join William in Glasgow.

Prof Andrew Whitaker (QUB) and Dr Mark Macartney (University of Ulster) will consider the contributions that these men made to science and engineering and raise the issue of whether James should, in fact, be regarded as one of the founders of the theory of thermodynamics.
Ulster mesuem, National Museums Northern Ireland

Ulster Museum Lecture Theatre., Ulster mesuem, National Museums Northern Ireland, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, BT9 5AB, United Kingdom

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