video record
Media not available in the Digital Archive
This programme deals with Kelvin's attempts to establish scientifically, the age of the earth. It shows the importance of steampower to nineteenth century science, and introduces the first and seco...nd laws of thermodynamics and the idea of entropy. The programme was filmed in Kelvin's house, in his classroom, at Largs and at Highhouse Colliery, Auchinleck.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A381, Science and belief: from Darwin to Einstein
Item code: A381; 01
Recording date: 22-01-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:00
+ Show more...
Producers: Peter Walton; David Jackson
Contributor: Colin Russell
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Clockwork; Steam power; Thermodynamics
Footage description: Film of chimneys being demolished, then of a ruined mansion. In voice-over Colin Russell explains that some processes are irreversible and that energy must be conserved. Aerial shots of an industrial landscape. Standing by Lord Kelvin's statue in Glasgow Russell briefly describes Kelvin's achievement in the field of thermodynamics. Shots of Kelvin's house, from the hall of which Russell shows us Kelvin's clock. He explains why the clock is of scientific interest, and how it represents Victorian ideas about the nature of the universe. Over a portrait of Kelvin, then of a steam engine at work in a colliery, Russell explains how the study of thermodynamics eventually challenged the Newtonian model of the universe. From the natural philosophy lecture room in Glasgow Russell uses replicas of laboratory apparatus to explain how Joule and Kelvin were led to formulate the first law of thermodynamics. Using a Sterling Engine, Russell explains the concept of "dissipation of energy". A music hall satire about thermodynamics is sung over shots of a steam engine. From Kelvin's house Russell explains that Kelvin tried to discover the age of the earth. Aerial views of a variety of natural landscapes, over which Russell describes Kelvin's use of thermodynamics to calculate the age of the earth. From within a mine he elaborates on Kelvin's reasoning. From a beach Russell explains the role calculations of tides in Kelvin's calculations. Film of Russell walking through Glasgow University. From the fossil collection of the Hunterion Museum, he outlines the weakness in Kelvin's conclusions about the age of the earth. He considers Kelvin's scientific method and his world view. Over a still of the Strasbourg clock, Russell explains the role of "design" in Victorian thinking about the universe. From beside Kelvin's clock he briefly states Kelvin's religious beliefs.
Master spool number: 6HT/73391
Production number: FOUA056D
Videofinder number: 1208
Available to public: no