Heat: A Mode of Motion

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Longmans, Green, 1868 - 520 pages
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This classic book covers much of the Physics of heat transfer that we teach in UK GCSE school curricula (including explaining why some of the demonstrations we use in class fail to show what our exam boards require us to teach!). The pages on Leslie's Cube are especially insightful. Having read these, I am now a lot more confident teaching this material, as I know where the strange results we see in school are the same as the strange results John Tyndall observed using almost identical apparatus. And what inspiration! To know that the experiments we do in school have such historical importance! Tyndall writes in a way that, sadly, is not found in modern texts. At times he waxes lyrical about the beauty of what can be observed through careful experiment, for example his comment about the beauty of the colours obtained by passing light through solutions of coloured salts, with and without a prism to split the beam into different wavelengths. The significance today of Tyndall's work on heat transfer, of course, has risen tremendously, with all the research into global climate change and the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth's surface temperature; in this book, Tyndall lays a firm experimental foundation for modern computer simulations of weather and climate change. In one major respect, however, Tyndall's work is out of date, and that is in his assumption that electromagnetic waves travel through an aether, while now we know that light and infrared radiation can travel through a vacuum. Search the book for key words of interest (such as Leslie's Cube) and browse a few pages, or even read whole chapters. You will be inspired. 

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Page 59 - It is hardly necessary to add that anything which any insulated body or system of bodies can continue to furnish without limitation cannot possibly be a material substance ; and it appears to me to be extremely difficult, if not quite impossible, to form any distinct idea of...
Page 489 - The sun's rays are the ultimate source of almost every motion which takes place on the surface of the earth. By its heat are produced all winds, and those disturbances in the electric equilibrium of the atmosphere which give rise to the phenomena of lightning, and probably also to those of terrestrial magnetism and the aurora.
Page 27 - Heat is a very brisk agitation of the insensible parts of the object, which produces in us that sensation, from whence we denominate the object hot ; so what in our sensation is heat, in the object is nothing but motion.
Page 100 - ... the particles move round their own axes, and separate from each other, penetrating in right lines through space. Temperature may be conceived to depend upon the velocities of the vibrations; increase of capacity on the motion being performed in greater space; and the diminution of temperature, during the conversion of solids into fluids or gases, may be explained on the idea of the loss of vibratory motion, in consequence of the revolution of particles round their axes, at the moment when the...
Page 100 - ... and elastic fluids, besides the vibratory motion, which must be conceived greatest in the last, the particles have a motion round their own axes with different velocities, the particles of elastic fluids moving with the greatest quickness ;. and that in ethereal substances the particles move round their own axes, and separate from each other, penetrating in right lines through space.
Page 99 - The immediate cause of the phenomena of heat then is motion, and the laws of its communication are precisely the same, as the laws of the communication of motion.
Page 364 - The removal, for a single summer night, of the aqueous vapour from the atmosphere which covers England, would be attended by the destruction of every plant which a freezing temperature could kill. In Sahara, where ' the soil is fire and the wind is flame,' the refrigeration at night is often painful to bear.
Page 100 - ... lower temperature, that is, can give an expansive motion to its particles, it is a probable inference that its own particles are possessed of motion; but as there is no change in the position of its parts as long as its temperature is uniform, the motion, if it exist, must be a vibratory or undulatory motion, or a motion of the particles round their axes, or a motion of particles round each other.
Page 147 - ... thunder down the declivities with a vehemence almost sufficient to stun the observer. I have also seen snow-flakes descending so softly as not to hurt the fragile spangles of which they were composed ; yet to produce from aqueous...
Page 99 - Heat, then, or that power which prevents the actual contact of the corpuscles of bodies, and which is the cause of our peculiar sensations of heat and cold, may be defined a peculiar motion, probably a vibration of the corpuscles of bodies, tending to separate them.

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