Count Rumford, Physicist Extraordinary

Count Rumford, Physicist Extraordinary

Count Rumford, Physicist Extraordinary

Count Rumford, Physicist Extraordinary

Excerpt

It has been a source of real enjoyment to me to interrupt work on a comprehensive biography of Count Rumford to write this small volume for high school pupils and others interested in science. The stereotyped concept of a physicist is so drab and uninteresting that it becomes increasingly important to convince our young people that scientists can have lives as exciting as any. Although Rumford's life was more spectacular than most, the fact that he was a scientist, rather than in any way inhibiting his career, added to the excitement. Obviously, any volume as small as the present one must omit many details, incidents, and facts of a man's life, but I have tried to incorporate those particular elements which are of most interest for a volume written as background material for a first course in physics or as a layman's introduction to science.

In my search for historical material on Count Rumford, I am deeply indebted to a host of people for their continuing help over many years. In particular, I must acknowledge the help of two grantsin-aid from the Penrose Fund of the American Philosophical Society, given to me to collect photostatic copies of all existing manuscript material touching on the life and work of Benjamin Thompson. Many of the models of Rumford's scientific ap-

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