Questions tagged [thermodynamics]

For questions about the branch of physics concerning heat and temperature and their macroscopic relationship to energy and work.

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8
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3answers
1k views

What is the history of the energy concept and its measurement?

Could someone please explain how the concept of energy was originally conceived and how it evolved over time to our current understanding of it? Also how did people come about various ways of ...
6
votes
1answer
762 views

When were the modern notions of work and energy created

Reading through Wikipedia says that Coriolis was the first to introduce the notion of work, described as "weight lifted through a height". Our modern conception of work is of a force that realizes a ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

How did Carnot come up with the idea of Carnot Engine being the most efficient engine?

I am not asking the proof of why the Carnot Engine is the most efficient engine. I wish to know the history of the development of idea of the most efficient engine. I wish to know how Carnot came up ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Who invented the steam engine: Newcomen or Watt?

The steam engine was one of the main enabling technologies of the industrial revolution. Many histories of the Industrial Revolution chart the steam engine's rise with James Watt. However, Thomas ...
10
votes
2answers
333 views

When did the concept of temperature first arise?

I am interested in when the concept of temperature first arose. This seems surprisingly hard to pin down from the web-based research I've done so far. I am mostly interested in how people thought ...
6
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the history behind defining temperature as measure of hotness?

I know that when two bodies of different temperature are kept in contact "heat" flows from hotter body to colder. But how did anyone know that it is the "hotness" that flows, one could have said that ...