World Refrigeration Day is an international day Held annually on the 26th June to raise awareness about the importance of refrigeration technologies in everyday life and to raise the profile of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector. World Refrigeration Day was the idea of refrigeration consultant Stephen Gill, former president of the Institute of Refrigeration in the UK. In October 2018, ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) pledged support for World Refrigeration Day. In January 2019, ASHRAE awarded Gill it’s John F James International Award in Atlanta. In February 2019, the United Nations Environment Programme pledged support at the UNEP national ozone officers meeting in Paris. The inaugural World Refrigeration Day was held on 26th June, 2019 with this date being chosen to celebrate the birth date of Lord Kelvin on 26 June 1824.
Scots Irish mathematical physicist and engineer William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, OM, GCVO, PC, FRS, FRSE was born 26 June 1824 in Belfast. William and his elder brother James were tutored at home by their father while the younger boys were tutored by their elder sisters.In 1832, his father was appointed professor of mathematics at Glasgow and the family moved there in October 1833. The Thomson children were introduced to a broader cosmopolitan experience than their father’s rural upbringing, spending mid-1839 in London and the boys were tutored in French in Paris. Mid-1840 was spent in Germany and the Netherlands. Language study was given a high priority.
Thomson attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where his father was a professor in the university department, before beginning study at Glasgow University in 1834 at the age of 10, as the University provided many of the facilities of an elementary school for able pupils, and this was a typical starting age. In school, Thomson showed a keen interest in the classics along with his natural interest in the sciences. At the age of 12 he won a prize for translating Lucian of Samosata’s Dialogues of the Gods from Latin to English. He also did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He worked closely with mathematics professor Hugh Blackburn in his work.
In the academic year 1839/1840, Thomson won the class prize in astronomy for his Essay on the figure of the Earth which showed an early facility for mathematical analysis and creativity. Throughout his life, he would work on the problems raised in the essay as a coping strategy during times of personal stress. Thomson became intrigued with Fourier’s Théorie analytique de la chaleur and committed himself to study the “Continental” mathematics resisted by a British establishment still working in the shadow of Sir Isaac Newton. Unsurprisingly, Fourier’s work had been attacked by domestic mathematicians, Philip Kelland authoring a critical book. The book motivated Thomson to write his first published scientific paper under the pseudonym P.Q.R., defending Fourier, and submitted to the Cambridge Mathematical Journal by his father. A second P.Q.R. paper followed almost immediately.
While on holiday with his family in Lamlash in 1841, he wrote a third, more substantial, P.Q.R. paper On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies, and its connection with the mathematical theory of electricity. In the paper he made remarkable connections between the mathematical theories of heat conduction and electrostatics, an analogy that James Clerk Maxwell was ultimately to describe as one of the most valuable science-forming ideas.
In 1841 William’s father enrolled him, at Peterhouse, Cambridge. In 1845 Thomson graduated as Second Wrangler. He also won the First Smith’s Prize, which, unlike the tripos, is a test of original research. Robert Leslie Ellis, one of the examiners, is said to have declared to another examiner “You and I are just about fit to mend his pens. While at Cambridge, Thomson was active in sports, athletics and sculling, winning the Colquhoun Sculls in 1843. He also took a lively interest in the classics, music, and literature; but the real love of his intellectual life was the pursuit of science. The study of mathematics, physics, and in particular, of electricity, had captivated his imagination.
In 1845, he gave the first mathematical development of Faraday’s idea that electric induction takes place through an intervening medium, or “dielectric”, and not by some incomprehensible “action at a distance”. He also devised the mathematical technique of electrical images, which became a powerful agent in solving problems of electrostatics, the science which deals with the forces between electrically charged bodies at rest. It was partly in response to his encouragement that Faraday undertook the research in September 1845 that led to the discovery of the Faraday effect, which established that light and magnetic (and thus electric) phenomena were related.
He was elected a fellow of St. Peter’s (as Peterhouse was often called at the time) in June 1845. On gaining the fellowship, he spent some time in the laboratory of the celebrated Henri Victor Regnault, at Paris; but in 1846 he was appointed to the chair of natural philosophy in the University of Glasgow. At twenty-two he found himself wearing the gown of a professor in one of the oldest Universities in the country, and lecturing to the class of which he was a first year student a few years before. By 1847, Thomson had gained a reputation as a precocious and maverick scientist when he attended the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Oxford. At that meeting, he heard James Prescott Joule making yet another of his, so far, ineffective attempts to discredit the caloric theory of heat and the theory of the heat engine built upon it by Sadi Carnot and Émile Clapeyron. Joule argued for the mutual convertibility of heat and mechanical work and for their mechanical equivalence.
Thomson was intrigued but sceptical. Though he felt that Joule’s results demanded theoretical explanation, he retreated into an even deeper commitment to the Carnot–Clapeyron school. He predicted that the melting point of ice must fall with pressure, otherwise its expansion on freezing could be exploited in a perpetuum mobile. Experimental confirmation in his laboratory did much to bolster his beliefs.
In 1848, he extended the Carnot–Clapeyron theory further through his dissatisfaction that the gas thermometer provided only an operational definition of temperature. He proposed an absolute temperature scale in which a unit of heat descending from a body A at the temperature T° of this scale, to a body B at the temperature (T−1)°, would give out the same mechanical effect [work], whatever be the number T. Such a scale would be quite independent of the physical properties of any specific substance. By employing such a “waterfall”, Thomson postulated that a point would be reached at which no further heat (caloric) could be transferred, the point of absolute zero about which Guillaume Amontons had speculated in 1702. “Reflections on the Motive Power of Heat”, published by Carnot in French in 1824, the year of Lord Kelvin’s birth, used −267 as an estimate of the absolute zero temperature. Thomson used data published by Regnault to calibrate his scale against established measurements.
He also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor, which propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour. For his work on the transatlantic telegraph project he was knighted in 1866 by Queen Victoria, becoming Sir William Thomson. He had extensive maritime interests and was most noted for his work on the mariner’s compass, which previously had limited reliability. He was ennobled in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics, and of his opposition to Irish Home Rule, Absolute temperatures are also stated in units of kelvin in his honour. While the existence of a lower limit to temperature (absolute zero) was known prior to his work, Lord Kelvin is known for determining its correct value as approximately −273.15 degree Celsius or −459.67 degree Fahrenheit. He became Baron Kelvin, of Largs in the County of Ayr and was the first British scientist to be elevated to the House of Lords. The title refers to the River Kelvin, which flows near his laboratory at the University of Glasgow. His home was the red sandstone mansion Netherhall, in Largs. Despite offers of elevated posts from several world-renowned universities, Kelvin refused to leave Glasgow, remaining professor of Natural Philosophy for over 50 years, until his eventual retirement from that post. The Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow has a permanent exhibition on the work of Lord Kelvin including many of his original papers, instruments, and other artifacts, such as his smoking pipe. Active in industrial research and development, he was recruited around 1899 by George Eastman to serve as vice-chairman of the board of the British company Kodak Limited, affiliated with Eastman Kodak.
Lord Kelvin sadly died 17 December 1907 however his pioneering work in the field of science, mathematics, electricity and Thermodynamics has paved the way for many scientific breakthroughs