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Nobel title

Article about Carl Linnaeuss

Carl Linnaeus

As a high school and college physics teacher, one of my heroes was “Lord Kelvin,” whose birth name was William Thomson. Thomson is known for his work in thermodynamics. His research on the laws governing the relationship between temperature and heat is a major topic for any physics student. Working with James Joule, Thomson developed the absolute temperature scale and helped formulate what happens to matter when all heat is removed.

We measure heat in BTUs (British thermal unit) and temperature in degrees. One BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. (In the metric system, one calorie is the heat required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celcius.) James Joule, who was also a believer, measured the relationship between mechanical energy and heat. He determined that it takes 772.55 foot-pounds of energy to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

Thomson was raised as a believer in God, but his studies in science and the behavior of matter as temperatures rise and heat is distributed led him to faith. Thomson said, “If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.” These two men provided the basis of heat use and measurement in all of science. The design they saw in what they measured and how it related to God's creation led both of them to faith. James Joule's headstone bears a quote from John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes when no man can work.”

— John N. Clayton

Picture credits:
Top photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_William_Thomson,_Baron_Kelvin_by_T._%26_R._Annan_%26_Sons_-_Original.jpg; bottom photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Prescott_Joule#/media/File:Joule_James_sitting.jpg