Samuel Tolver Preston

Physicist, Author

1844 – 1917


Who was Samuel Tolver Preston?

Samuel Tolver Preston was an English engineer and physicist.

His parents were Daniel Bloom Preston and Mary Susannah Tolver. Preston was educated as a Telegraph-engineer. He went to Munich where he attained his Ph.D in 1894 with Ludwig Boltzmann. After that, he worked as a teacher.

He is known for his works on the kinetic theory of gases and his attempts to combine this theory with Le Sage's theory of gravitation. In his book Physics of the Ether he claimed that if matter is subdivided into ether particles, they would travel at the speed of light and represent an enormous amount of energy. In this way, one grain of matter would contain energy equal to 1000 millions of foot-tons.

However, Preston's thoughts were entirely based on classical, non-relativistic physics and cannot be compared with Albert Einstein's mass–energy equivalence, which is a consequence of special relativity.

Preston also seemed to be the first to recognize the redundancy of Michael Faraday's explanation of electromagnetic induction. Einstein recognized a similar problem in his paper "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies".

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Jul 8, 1844

on July 23, 2013


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