Happy Birthday, James Prescott Joule!



Hey, is that James Prescott Joule?!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DUDE!

You guys probably know Jimmy here – he’s responsible for the SI unit of energy (the Joule, duh), and for Joule’s Laws, which deal with the transfer of energy from one form or another.  What else was the guy to do?!  I mean, his birthday was on Christmas Eve – now tell me that he didn’t get jipped on birthday presents!

Good ol’ Jimmy Joule figured out some stuff that had a lot to do with theorizing the Law of Conservation of Energy – and if you’re older than 15 and don’t know that one by heart, then you need to memorize and understand the following:

Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change forms.

That’s Jimbo Joule for you!  He also figured out the relationship of current travelling through a resistance and heat generated (one of his Laws), hung out with Lord Kelvin and helped him invent the absolute temperature scale, and also, according to that beard, played bass for ZZ Top.

Joule’s findings can be paired with other units, almost directly – from Wikipedia:

The work required to move an electric charge of one coulomb through an electrical potential difference of one volt; or one coulomb volt (C·V). This relationship can be used to define the volt;
The work required to continuously produce one watt of power for one second; or one watt second (W·s) (compare kilowatt hour). This relationship can be used to define the watt.

Joule’s calorimeter:


Happy Birthday, James Prescott Joule!  Thanks for figuring out all that stuff you figured out so we don’t have to do it!


For fun – one joule is equal to:

  • the energy required to lift a small apple one meter straight up.
  • the energy released when that same apple falls one meter to the ground.
  • the energy released as heat by a person at rest, every hundredth of a second.
  • the kinetic energy of an adult human moving at a speed of about a handspan every second.
  • the kinetic energy of a tennis ball moving at 23 km/h (14 mph).

Also, did you know that dude brewed beer?!  Sweet.

Thanks, Wikipedia and NNDB!

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