History of heat

History of heat

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The history of heat has a prominent place in the history of science
History of science
The history of science is the study of the historical development of human understandings of the natural world and the domains of the social sciences....

. It traces its origins to the first hominids to make fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 and to speculate on its operation and meaning to modern day physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

s who study the microscopic nature of heat
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

. The phenomenon of heat and its definition through mythological theories of fire, to heat, to terra pinguis, phlogiston, to fire air
Fire air
In the history of chemistry, fire air was postulated to be one of two fluids of common air. This theory was positioned in 1775 by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele...

, to caloric, to the theory of heat
Theory of heat
In the history of science, the theory of heat or mechanical theory of heat was a theory, introduced predominantly in 1824 by the French physicist Sadi Carnot, that heat and mechanical work are equivalent. It is related to the mechanical equivalent of heat...

, to the mechanical equivalent of heat
Mechanical equivalent of heat
In the history of science, the mechanical equivalent of heat was a concept that had an important part in the development and acceptance of the conservation of energy and the establishment of the science of thermodynamics in the 19th century....

, to thermo-dynamics (sometimes called energetics
Energetics
Energetics is the study of energy under transformation. Because energy flows at all scales, from the quantum level to the biosphere and cosmos, energetics is a very broad discipline, encompassing for example thermodynamics, chemistry, biological energetics, biochemistry and ecological energetics...

) to thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

. The history of heat is a precursor for developments and theories in the history of thermodynamics
History of thermodynamics
The history of thermodynamics is a fundamental strand in the history of physics, the history of chemistry, and the history of science in general...

.

Early views


The ancients viewed heat as that related to fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

. The ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians in 3000 BC viewed heat as related to origin mythologies. One example, is the theory of the Ogdoad
Ogdoad
In Egyptian mythology, the Ogdoad were eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, dated between 2686 to 2134 BC...

, or the “primordial forces”, from which all was formed. These were the elements of chaos
Chaos (cosmogony)
Chaos refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, more specifically the initial "gap" created by the original separation of heaven and earth....

, numbered in eight, that existed before the creation of the sun.

The first to have put forward a semblance of a theory on heat was the Greek philosopher
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 Heraclitus
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

 who lived around 500 BC in the city of Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 in Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. He became famous as the "flux and fire" philosopher for his proverbial utterance: "All things are flowing." Heraclitus argued that the three principal elements in nature were fire, earth, and water. Of these three, however, fire is assigned as the central element controlling and modifying the other two. The universe was postulated to be in a continuous state of flux or permanent condition of change as a result of transformations of fire. Heraclitus summarized his philosophy as: "All things are an exchange for fire."

As early as 460 BC Hippocrates
Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

, the father of medicine, postulated that:
In the 11th century AD, Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī cites movement
Motion (physics)
In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Change in action is the result of an unbalanced force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement and time . An object's velocity cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as...

 and friction
Friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

 as causes of heat, which in turn produces the element of fire, and a lack of movement as the cause of cold near the geographical pole
Geographical pole
A geographical pole is either of the two points—the north pole and the south pole—on the surface of a rotating planet where the axis of rotation meets the surface of the body...

s:
In the 13th century, the Islamic philosopher
Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy is a branch of Islamic studies. It is the continuous search for Hekma in the light of Islamic view of life, universe, ethics, society, and so on...

 and theologian
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

 ʻAbd Allah Baydawi considered two possibilities for the cause of heat:
In 1253, a Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 text entitled Speculum Tripartitum stated:
Around 1600, the English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 surmised that:
This echoed the mid-17th century view of English scientist Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

, who stated:

18th century


In 1761, Scottish chemist Joseph Black
Joseph Black
Joseph Black FRSE FRCPE FPSG was a Scottish physician and chemist, known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. He was professor of Medicine at University of Glasgow . James Watt, who was appointed as philosophical instrument maker at the same university...

 discovered that ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

 absorbs heat without changing temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 when melting
Melting
Melting, or fusion, is a physical process that results in the phase change of a substance from a solid to a liquid. The internal energy of a substance is increased, typically by the application of heat or pressure, resulting in a rise of its temperature to the melting point, at which the rigid...

. From this he concluded that the heat must have combined with the ice particles and become latent
Latent heat
Latent heat is the heat released or absorbed by a chemical substance or a thermodynamic system during a process that occurs without a change in temperature. A typical example is a change of state of matter, meaning a phase transition such as the melting of ice or the boiling of water. The term was...

. Between 1759 and 1763 he formulated a theory of latent heat
Latent heat
Latent heat is the heat released or absorbed by a chemical substance or a thermodynamic system during a process that occurs without a change in temperature. A typical example is a change of state of matter, meaning a phase transition such as the melting of ice or the boiling of water. The term was...

 on which his scientific fame chiefly rests, and also showed that different substances have different specific heats. James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

, who later invented the Watt engine, was Black's pupil and assistant.

The ability to use heat transfer to perform work allowed the invention and development of the steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 by inventors such as Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, near a part of the country noted for its tin mines. Flooding was a major problem, limiting the depth at which the mineral could be mined...

 and James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

. In addition, in 1797 a cannon manufacturer Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford demonstrated through the use of friction that it was possible to convert work to heat. He designed a specially shaped cannon barrel, thoroughly insulated against heat loss, then replaced the sharp boring tool with a dull drill bit, and immersed the front part of the gun in a tank of water. To the amazement of observers, he brought cold water to a boil within two and one half hours, without the use of fire.

Several theories on the nature of heat were developed. In the 17th century, Johann Becher
J. J. Becher
-Further reading:*Anthony Endres, Neoclassical Microeconomic Theory: The Founding Austrian Version .*Erik Grimmer-Solem, The Rise of Historical Economics and Social Reform in Germany 1864-1894....

 proposed that heat was associated with an undetectable material called phlogiston which was driven out of a substance when it was burnt. This was finally refuted by Lavoisier
Antoine Lavoisier
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier , the "father of modern chemistry", was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry and biology...

 demonstrating the importance of oxygen in burning in 1783. He proposed instead the caloric theory
Caloric theory
The caloric theory is an obsolete scientific theory that heat consists of a self-repellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies. Caloric was also thought of as a weightless gas that could pass in and out of pores in solids and liquids...

 which saw heat as a type of weightless, invisible fluid that moved when out of equilibrium. This theory was used in 1824 by the French engineer Sadi Carnot
Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot
Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot was a French military engineer who, in his 1824 Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, gave the first successful theoretical account of heat engines, now known as the Carnot cycle, thereby laying the foundations of the second law of thermodynamics...

 when he published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire. He set forth the importance of heat transfer: "production of motive power is due not to an actual consumption of caloric, but to its transportation from a warm body to a cold body, i.e. to its re-establishment of equilibrium." According to Carnot, this principle applies to any machine set in motion by heat.

Another theory was the kinetic theory of gases, the basis of which was laid out in 1738 by the Swiss physician and mathematician Daniel Bernoulli
Daniel Bernoulli
Daniel Bernoulli was a Dutch-Swiss mathematician and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics...

 in his Hydrodynamica. In this work, Bernoulli first proposed that gases consist of great numbers of molecules moving in all directions, that their impact on a surface causes the gas pressure. The internal energy of a substance is the sum of the kinetic energy associated with each molecule, and heat transfer occurs from regions with energetic molecules, and so high internal energy, to those with less energetic molecules, and so lower internal energy.

19th century


The work of Joule
James Prescott Joule
James Prescott Joule FRS was an English physicist and brewer, born in Salford, Lancashire. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work . This led to the theory of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The...

 and Mayer
Julius Robert von Mayer
Julius Robert von Mayer was a German physician and physicist and one of the founders of thermodynamics...

 demonstrated that heat and work were equivalent forms of energy, and led to the statement of the principle of the conservation of energy
Conservation of energy
The nineteenth century law of conservation of energy is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. The total energy is said to be conserved over time...

 by Hermann von Helmholtz
Hermann von Helmholtz
Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz was a German physician and physicist who made significant contributions to several widely varied areas of modern science...

 in 1847. Clausius
Rudolf Clausius
Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius , was a German physicist and mathematician and is considered one of the central founders of the science of thermodynamics. By his restatement of Sadi Carnot's principle known as the Carnot cycle, he put the theory of heat on a truer and sounder basis...

 demonstrated in 1850 that caloric theory could be reconciled with kinetic theory provided that the conservation of energy was employed rather than the movement of a substance, and stated the First Law of Thermodynamics
First law of thermodynamics
The first law of thermodynamics is an expression of the principle of conservation of work.The law states that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created nor destroyed...

.

In 1851, William Thomson
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin OM, GCVO, PC, PRS, PRSE, was a mathematical physicist and engineer. 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...

 outlined the essentially modern view, as based on recent experiments by those such as James Joule on the dynamical theory of heat
Theory of heat
In the history of science, the theory of heat or mechanical theory of heat was a theory, introduced predominantly in 1824 by the French physicist Sadi Carnot, that heat and mechanical work are equivalent. It is related to the mechanical equivalent of heat...

, that:
On this view, he argued that we must "perceive that there must be an equivalence between mechanical work and heat
Mechanical equivalent of heat
In the history of science, the mechanical equivalent of heat was a concept that had an important part in the development and acceptance of the conservation of energy and the establishment of the science of thermodynamics in the 19th century....

, as between cause and effect
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

.

20th century


Heat in modern terms, is generally defined as a type of energy transferred due to a temperature difference or that generated by friction, etc.

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