William John Macquorn Rankine

Physicist, Academic

1820 – 1872

5

Who was William John Macquorn Rankine?

William John Macquorn Rankine, FRSE FRS was a Scottish civil engineer, physicist and mathematician. He was a founding contributor, with Rudolf Clausius and William Thomson, to the science of thermodynamics, particularly focusing on the first of the three thermodynamic laws.

Rankine developed a complete theory of the steam engine and indeed of all heat engines. His manuals of engineering science and practice were used for many decades after their publication in the 1850s and 1860s. He published several hundred papers and notes on science and engineering topics, from 1840 onwards, and his interests were extremely varied, including, in his youth, botany, music theory and number theory, and, in his mature years, most major branches of science, mathematics and engineering. He was an enthusiastic amateur singer, pianist and cellist who composed his own humorous songs. He was born in Edinburgh and died in Glasgow, a bachelor.

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Born
Jul 5, 1820
Edinburgh
Ethnicity
  • British people
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Education
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Ayr Academy
Lived in
  • Edinburgh
Died
Dec 24, 1872
Glasgow

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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