William Thomson, Lord Kelvin


William Thomson, Lord Kelvin


Kelvin worked out an improved method for measuring the depth of the sea, using piano wire and a narrow-bore glass tube, stoppered at the upper end. While experimenting with this invention, he was interrupted one day by his colleague James Prescott Joule. Looking with astonishment at the lengths of piano wire, Joule asked him what he was doing, “Sounding,” said Thomson. “What note?” asked Joule. “The deep C,” returned Thomson.


When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.

~William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

More Lord Kelvin quotes

Biographical Note: 

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin was a British physicist. Professor of natural philosophy at Glasgow for fifty years (1849-99), he was renowned for his work in thermodynamics and as a pioneer of undersea telegraphy. He was knighted in 1866 and raised to the peerage in 1892. The Kelvin temperature scale is named after him; he also made numerous contributions to navigation.