Relevant Pioneer Quotes – Lord Kelvin


Do not be afraid of being free thinkers. If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion.”

– Lord Kelvin, as quoted in The Times, May 2, 1903

The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I do not see how I can put it in words.”

– Lord Kelvin, speech as recorded in the Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute (1899)


William Thomson (1824 – 1907), an Irish mathematical physicist and engineer, contributed more to the study of heat transfer and the field of thermodynamics than any other

Thomson was one of the early developers of telegraph cabling and contributed greatly to the transatlantic telegraph program

  • As a result, he was eventually knighted by Queen Victoria, becoming Sir William Thomson 1

Thomson was named a professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow in 1846

  • He established the first laboratory at the university near the River Kelvin and was subsequently given the moniker of ‘Lord Kelvin’ 2

In 1847, Lord Kelvin determined that there is a lower limit to temperature – in other words, there is a temperature at which all molecules cease activity

  • This is referred to as “Absolute Zero” or 0 on the Kelvin Scale (named in his honor) – the temperature equates to – 273.15 degrees Celsius or – 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit 3

In 1851, Lord Kelvin published information that changed the scientific community’s thinking with respect to heat

  • Until then, heat was regarded as fluid like
  • He altered the view so that going forward, heat would be understood as the energy of molecules in motion
  • Ultimately, this led to the establishment of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics 4

Note: Lord Kelvin disbelieved in evolution based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the Laws of Heat Transfer

  • He thought the Earth was too young to have allowed for enough time for natural selection to have taken place 5

Source of Quotes