French school of thermodynamics

All-in-all, the the École Polytechnique is the original birthplace or seedling home of thermodynamics, having been founded, in part by, French engineer Lazare Carnot, father to thermodynamics pioneer Sadi Carnot, among numerous other pre-thermodynamics pioneers.

Those of significance to have graduated or taught at the École Polytechnique include Sadi Carnot, a student there in 1812, author of the 1824

The school, originally called the

Coriolis was the first to employ the name

In the late 1790s, French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier was appointed chair of the École Polytechnique. In 1822 he published his

French physicist Alexis Petit studied at the École Polytechnique, graduating in 1811, later becoming professor of physics from 1815 to 1819. He is known for his 1818 publication on the efficiencies of air-engines and steam-engines and for his discussions with Sadi Carnot on the same subject. One of Petit’s noted students in physics, during the years 1815-16, was Auguste Comte, the French sociologist and philosopher who is generally credited with having coined the term sociology and who first outlined the subject of "social physics".

Thomson’s search for Carnot’s Reflections

In 1839, at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution of Northern Ireland, where a young 15-year-old student William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) was in attendance, Scottish educator John Nichol, a professor of astronomy, took the chair of natural philosophy. That year, Nichol updated the curriculum, introducing the new mathematical works of Fourier. The mathematical treatment much impressed young Thomson, who became intrigued with Fourier'sSee main:Thomson’s search for Carnot’s Reflections

Out of this stimulus, in 1841, at the age of 17, Thomson wrote his first scientific paper on Fourier’s analysis of heat under the pseudonym

In 1845, after learning of Sadi Carnot’s work through the 1834 paper of Clapeyron, Thomson went to Paris to work with French chemist and physicist Henri Regnault, a former student (1830) and later chair of chemistry (1840) at École Polytechnique, and tried to find a copy of Carnot’s

Mechanical Theory of Heat

By 1850, through Thomson, via Clapeyron, the work of Carnot reached the likes of German physicist Rudolf Clausius. In a footnote to his 1850 paper "On the Motive Power of Heat", Clausius states: [8]

“I have not been able to obtain a copy of this book [Reflections], and am acquainted with it only through the work of Clapeyron and Thomson, from the latter of whom are quoted the extracts afterwards given.”

The supposition, in Carnot’s work, that caught Clausius’ attention was the postulate, expressly stated, that “the quantity of heat remains unchanged” (in the process), which equates to the argument that “no change occurs in the condition of the working body” (during the work cycle). Conversely, according the view of Clausius, as developed in the mechanical equivalence of heat, a certain amount of heat would consumed in the working body during an irreversible passage of heat in the cyclical production of work. These corrections were employed and remolded in Clausius' famous

References

1. (a) History of the École Polytechnique - Polytechnique.edu

(b) École Polytechnique - Wikipedia.

2. Jammer, Max. (1957).

3. Cajori, Florian. (1899).

4. P.Q.R (1841) "On Fourier's expansions of functions in trigonometric series"

5. Fourier, Joseph. (1878).

6. (a) P.Q.R (1841). "Note on a passage in Fourier's 'Heat'"

(b) P.Q.R (1842). "On the uniform motion of heat and its connection with the mathematical theory of electricity"

7. Laidler, Keith J. (2002).

8. Clausius, Rudolf. (1850). "On the Motive Power of Heat, and on the Laws Which Can be Deduced from it for the Theory of Heat" (author footnote, pg 1). Poggendorff's