cover of book
 

The Science of Energy: A Cultural History of Energy Physics in Victorian Britain
by Crosbie Smith
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Paper: 978-0-226-76421-4 | Cloth: 978-0-226-76420-7
Library of Congress Classification QC72.S58 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 621.042

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Although we take it for granted today, the concept of "energy" transformed nineteenth-century physics. In The Science of Energy, Crosbie Smith shows how a North British group of scientists and engineers, including James Joule, James Clerk Maxwell, William and James Thomson, Fleeming Jenkin, and P. G. Tait, developed energy physics to solve practical problems encountered by Scottish shipbuilders and marine engineers; to counter biblical revivalism and evolutionary materialism; and to rapidly enhance their own scientific credibility.

Replacing the language and concepts of classical mechanics with terms such as "actual" and "potential" energy, the North British group conducted their revolution in physics so astutely and vigorously that the concept of "energy"—a valuable commodity in the early days of industrialization—became their intellectual property. Smith skillfully places this revolution in its scientific and cultural context, exploring the actual creation of scientific knowledge during one of the most significant episodes in the history of physics.


Reference metadata exposed for Zotero via unAPI.