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Encyclopedia > Peter Guthrie Tait
Peter Tait
Peter Tait

Peter Guthrie Tait (April 28, 1831 - July 4, 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist. Download high resolution version (500x720, 99 KB)This is Peter Tait, from Oliver Heaviside: Sage in Solitude (ISBN 0-87942-238-6), p. ... Download high resolution version (500x720, 99 KB)This is Peter Tait, from Oliver Heaviside: Sage in Solitude (ISBN 0-87942-238-6), p. ... April 28 is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 247 days remaining. ... 1831 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ... 1901 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within the UK Languages with Official Status1 English Scottish Gaelic Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... Mathematical physics is a scientific discipline aimed at studying and solving problems inspired by physics within a mathematically rigorous framework. ...


Early years

He was born at Dalkeith. After attending the Edinburgh Academy and University of Edinburgh, he went up to Peterhouse College, Cambridge, graduating as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman in 1852. As a fellow and lecturer of his college he remained in Cambridge for two years longer, and then left to take up the professorship of mathematics at Queen's College, Belfast. There he made the acquaintance of Thomas Andrews, whom he joined in researches on the density of ozone and the action of the electric discharge on oxygen and other gases, and by whom he was introduced to Sir William Rowan Hamilton and quaternions. Dalkeith (Scottish Gaelic: Dail Cheith) (pop. ... The Edinburgh Academy The Edinburgh Academy is a private school that was founded in 1824 to stimulate classical learning in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... Full name Peterhouse Motto - Named after St Peters Church (now little St Marys Church) Previous names - Established 1284 Sister College Merton College Master The Lord Wilson of Tillyron Location Trumpington Street Undergraduates 271 Graduates 128 Homepage Boatclub Peterhouse is the oldest college in the University of Cambridge. ... At the University of Cambridge in England, a wrangler is a student who has completed the third year (called Part II) of the mathematical tripos with first-class honours. ... The Smiths Prize is a prize awarded to research students in theoretical Physics and applied mathematics at the University of Cambridge. ... 1852 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Wikibooks Wikiversity has more about this subject: School of Mathematics Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about: Mathematics Look up Mathematics on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Wikimedia Commons has more media related to: Mathematics Bogomolny, Alexander: Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles. ... For other educational establishments called Queens, see Queens College and Queens University (disambiguation) Queens University, Belfast (QUB) - or officially The Queens University of Belfast - is a university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. ... Thomas Andrews (December 19, 1813–November 26, 1885), Irish chemist and physicist, was born in Belfast, where his father was a linen merchant. ... Ozone (O3) is an allotrope of oxygen, the molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms instead of the more stable diatomic O2. ... General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 15. ... William Rowan Hamilton Sir William Rowan Hamilton (August 4, 1805 – September 2, 1865) was an Irish mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. ... In mathematics, the quaternions are a non-commutative extension of the complex numbers. ...

Middle years

In 1860, Tait was chosen to succeed his old master, JD Forbes, as professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh, and this chair he occupied till within a few months of his death. The first scientific paper that appears under Tait's name only was published in 1860. His earliest work dealt mainly with mathematical subjects, and especially with quaternions, of which he may be regarded as the leading exponent after their originator, Hamilton. He was the author of two text-books on them--one an Elementary Treatise on Quaternions (1867), written with the advice of Hamilton, though not published till after his death, and the other an Introduction to Quaternions (1873), in which he was aided by Philip Kelland (1808-1879), who had been one of his teachers at Edinburgh. In addition, quaternions was one of the themes of his address as president of the mathematical section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1871. 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... James David Forbes (April 20, 1809 - December 31, 1868) was a Scottish physicist who worked extensively on the conduction of heat, seismology and glaciology. ... Natural philosophy is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe before the development of modern science. ... The British Association or the British Association for the Advancement of Science or the BA is a learned society with the object of promoting science, directing general attention to scientific matters, and facilitating intercourse between scientific workers. ... 1871 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

A postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Tait.
A postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Tait.

But he also produced original work in mathematical and experimental physics. In 1864 he published a short paper on thermodynamics, and from that time his contributions to that and kindred departments of science became frequent and important. In 1871 he emphasized the significance and future importance of the principle of the dissipation of energy (second law of thermodynamics). In 1873 he took thermoelectricity for the subject of his discourse as Rede lecturer at Cambridge, and in the same year he presented the first sketch of his well-known thermoelectric diagram before the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Peter Guthrie Tait. ... Postcard from James Clerk Maxwell to Peter Guthrie Tait. ... James Clerk Maxwell (June 13, 1831–November 5, 1879) was a Scottish physicist, born in Edinburgh. ... 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... 1871 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The second law of thermodynamics is a law of thermodynamics that states that all work tends towards the production of greater entropy over time. ... 1873 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Thermoelectricity is the conversion from heat differentials to electricity or vice versa. ... The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with one of the most selective entry requirements in the United Kingdom. ... The Royal Society of Edinburghs Building on the corner of George St. ...

Two years later researches on "Charcoal Vacua" with James Dewar led him to see the true dynamical explanation of the Crookes radiometer in the large mean free path of the molecule of the highly rarefied air. From 1879 to 1888 he was engaged on difficult experimental investigations, which began with an inquiry into the corrections required, owing to the great pressures to which the instruments had been subjected, in the readings of the thermometers employed by the Challenger expedition for observing deep-sea temperatures, and which were extended to include the compressibility of water, glass and mercury. Between 1886 and 1892 he published a series of papers on the foundations of the kinetic theory of gases, the fourth of which contained what was, according to Lord Kelvin, the first proof ever given of the Waterston-Maxwell theorem (equipartition theorem) of the average equal partition of energy in a mixture of two gases. About the same time he carried out investigations into impact and its duration. James Dewar (1842-1923) Sir James Dewar (September 20, 1842 - March 27, 1923) was a Scottish chemist and physicist. ... The Crookes radiometer, also known as the light mill or solar engine, consists of an airtight glass bulb, containing a partial vacuum. ... For sound waves in an enclosure, the mean free path is the average distance the wave travels between reflections off of the enclosures walls. ... A molecule is the smallest particle of a pure chemical substance that still retains its chemical composition and properties. ... 1879 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1888 is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... The Challenger Expedition was a scientific expedition that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography. ... Water (from the Old English word wæter; c. ... The materials definition of a glass is a uniform amorphous solid material, usually produced when a suitably viscous molten material cools very rapidly, thereby not giving enough time for a regular crystal lattice to form. ... General Name, Symbol, Number mercury, Hg, 80 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 6, d Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 200. ... 1886 is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... 1892 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The kinetic theory of gases is a theory that explains the macroscopic properties of gases by consideration of their composition at a molecular level. ... William Thomson, Archbishop of York, has the same name as this man. ... John James Waterston (1811 - June 18, 1883) was a Scottish physicist, a neglected pioneer of the kinetic theory of gases. ... James Clerk Maxwell (June 13, 1831–November 5, 1879) was a Scottish physicist, born in Edinburgh. ... A theorem is a proposition that has been or is to be proved on the basis of explicit assumptions. ... The Equipartition Theorem is a principle of classical (non-quantum) statistical mechanics which states that the internal energy of a system composed of a large number of particles will distribute itself evenly among each of the degrees of freedom allowed to the particles of the system. ...

Many other inquiries conducted by him might be mentioned, and some idea may be gained of his scientific activity from the fact that a selection only from his papers, published by the Cambridge University Press, fills three large volumes. This mass of work was done in the time he could spare from his professorial teaching in the university. The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ...

Later years

In addition, he was the author of a number of books and articles. Of the former, the first, published in 1896, was on the dynamics of a particle; and afterwards there followed a number of concise treatises on thermodynamics, heat, light, properties of matter and dynamics, together with an admirably lucid volume of popular lectures on Recent Advances in Physical Science. With Lord Kelvin he collaborated in writing the well-known Treatise on Natural Philosophy. "Thomson and Tait," as it is familiarly called ("T and T" was the authors' own formula), was planned soon after Lord Kelvin became acquainted with Tait, on the latter's appointment to his professorship in Edinburgh, and it was intended to be an all-comprehensive treatise on physical science, the foundations being laid in kinematics and dynamics, and the structure completed with the properties of matter, heat, light, electricity and magnetism. But the literary partnership ceased in about eighteen years, when only the first portion of the plan had been completed, because each of the members felt he could work to better advantage separately than jointly. The friendship, however, endured for the twenty-three years which yet remained of Tait's life. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... In physics, kinematics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the motions of objects without being concerned with the forces that cause the motion. ... In physics, dynamics is the branch of classical mechanics that is concerned with the effects of forces on the motion of objects. ... Matter is commonly referred to as the substance of which physical objects are composed. ... A red-hot iron rod cooling after being worked by a blacksmith. ... Prism splitting light Light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that is visible to the eye or, in a technical or scientific setting, electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength. ... Lightning strikes during a night-time thunderstorm. ... In physics, magnetism is one of the phenomena by which materials exert an attractive or repulsive force on other materials. ...

Tait collaborated with Balfour Stewart in the Unseen Universe, which was followed by Paradoxical Philosophy. Among his articles may be mentioned those which he wrote for the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica on Light, Mechanics, Quaternions, Radiation and Thermodynamics, besides the biographical notices of Hamilton and Clerk Maxwell. Balfour Stewart (November 1, 1828 - December 19, 1887), Scottish physicist, was born in Edinburgh, and was educated at the university of that city. ...

This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, which is in the public domain. Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, it was advertised as such. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

  • http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Tait.html - A good biography of Tait
  • http://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/~aar/knots/taitbib.htm - A large bibliography of Tait

  Results from FactBites:
Peter Guthrie Tait - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (837 words)
In 1860, Tait was chosen to succeed his old master, JD Forbes, as professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh, and this chair he occupied till within a few months of his death.
Tait was an enthusiastic golfer and, of his seven children, two, Frederick Guthrie Tait (1870-1900) and John Guthrie Tait (1861-1945) went on to become gifted amateur champions.
Tait himself had, in 1891, invoked the Magnus effect to explain the influence of spin on the flight of a golf ball.
  More results at FactBites »



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