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William's father was able to make a generous provision for his favourite son's education and, in 1841, installed him, with extensive letters of introduction and ample accommodation, at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He also won the First Smith's Prize, which, unlike the tripos, is a test of original research.Robert Leslie Ellis, one of the examiners, is said to have declared to another examiner "You and I are just about fit to mend his pens." He also took a lively interest in the classics, music, and literature; but the real love of his intellectual life was the pursuit of science.On the title page of this essay Thomson wrote the following lines from Alexander Pope's Essay on Man.These lines inspired Thomson to understand the natural world using the power and method of science: Thomson became intrigued with Fourier's Théorie analytique de la chaleur and committed himself to study the "Continental" mathematics resisted by a British establishment still working in the shadow of Sir Isaac Newton.In the academic year 1839/1840, Thomson won the class prize in astronomy for his Essay on the figure of the Earth which showed an early facility for mathematical analysis and creativity.Throughout his life, he would work on the problems raised in the essay as a coping strategy during times of personal stress.On gaining the fellowship, he spent some time in the laboratory of the celebrated Henri Victor Regnault, at Paris; but in 1846 he was appointed to the chair of natural philosophy in the University of Glasgow.At twenty-two he found himself wearing the gown of a learned professor in one of the oldest Universities in the country, and lecturing to the class of which he was a first year student but a few years before.

At the age of 12 he won a prize for translating Lucian of Samosata's Dialogues of the Gods from Latin to English.He worked closely with mathematics professor Hugh Blackburn in his work.He also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor, which propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour.mathematical physicist and engineer who was born in Belfast in 1824.At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form.

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James was intended to benefit from the major share of his father's encouragement, affection and financial support and was prepared for a career in engineering.

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