Navigate / search

Thermodynamics the Salford Way by Simon Ward

I had decided to write this article on very much a local pioneer of physics and thermodynamics, I had missed that Joule lived in Manchester and Salford until another Ragged University member pointed it out. I wish to thank Connor for this useful piece of crowd sourcing when we were discussing this outside Gulliver’s.

James Prescott Joule was born in Salford on Christmas Eve 1818 to a brewing family. He studied mathematics under John Dalton who was a pioneer with the periodic table and atomic theory. As a child he was fascinated by electricity and he and his brothers would give each other electric shocks, and also to unsuspecting servants. He would also fly kites in thunderstorms to try and “capture electricity”, but eventually decided this was too dangerous. This expanded into experiments with electricity and magnetism in the cellar of the family home in Pendlebury. Read more