Wreath laying marks Lord Kelvin centenary
Monday, 17th December 2007
Representatives from the University of Glasgow today laid a wreath at the grave of Sir William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs, in the nave of the Abbey to mark the centenary of his death.
Sir Muir Russell, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, reminded the gathering that Lord Kelvin was, ‘an outstanding scientist, ingenious inventor and successful businessman.’
Sir Muir went on:
Author of 661 papers and 75 patents, he pioneered the field of thermodynamics, the science and development of refrigeration and of electric light. He set down the foundation for modern communications through the successful laying of transatlantic telegraph cable.
His maxim “to measure is to know” drove him to the refine the accuracy of electrical units of measurement, to develop the compass for use in iron ships, to calculate engines for the prediction of the tides and to make him the first to apply mathematics to the question of the ages of the earth and the sun.
Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), whose ashes are interred next to a clutch of great scientists, is also commemorated with a stained glass window in the north side of the nave.
Sir Muir was joined by Professor David Saxon, the university’s Kelvin Professor of Physics, and James Hough, Professor of Physics. They were welcomed to the Abbey by the Dean, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. The university chaplain, Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie, said a prayer of thanksgiving.