Happy Birthday, Walther Nernst!


Who’s that crazy Monopoly-Man looking cat there?!  Hey, that’s Walther Nernst!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Walther Nernst!
(25 June 1864 — 18 November 1941)

You might recognize Walther Nernst from his pretty interesting lamp, (and get ready for a wacky creative name) the Nernst Burner:

Hey, the above Nernst Lamp is only 0.5 amps!

Sometimes history is funny.  At least to me.  What’s not funny is that this is actually a pretty neat way to think about a lamp – an open-air filament, not enclosed in any kind of gas, and you can just change the filament when it goes out or stops glowing.  But what about the heat?


(and now a slight departure for comedic effect)

Okay, now that the funny biz is done…

A ceramic filament-type burner, mounted into an essentially recyclable headpiece that is refitted onto a fixture.  Lots of CFLs could use this idea – isn’t it a shame that most of the CFLs in the US use a system that makes you throw the ballast part away LONG before its lifetime is over?  If we could detatch CFLs like this (by removing the glass part and keeping the bottom part), we might be able to kill some e-waste, eh?

(I wrote a big expansive post on the Nernst Burner lamp when I was in Sweden – check it out here)

So besides Walther’s big ol’ ceramic heater lamp, he was a Nobel Prize winner for his discovery of the Third Law of Thermodynamics.  You know the Third Law of Thermodynamics?  It’s the one that states about absolute zero and system entropy and how molecules slow to a point of no movement:

As a system approaches absolute zero, all processes cease and the entropy of the system approaches a minimum value.

Does that turn anyone ELSE on?




Thanks, Wikipedia and the Nobel Prize website!

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