Groundbreakers: William Thomson


Episode 3:
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

Sunday 20 October, 9pm
BBC Two Northern Ireland

William Crawley looks at the life of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, ‘The Man who Shrank the World’.

William Thomson, born in Belfast in 1824, into a Presbyterian family, was the son of James Thomson from near Ballynahinch (James belonged to 1st Ballynahinch congregation) and who had originally intended to become a Presbyterian minister but opted instead for an academic career in mathematics.  By the time of William’s birth his father was a teacher of mathematics at Belfast Academical Institution and in 1832 was made a professor of mathematics at Glasgow University.

Read a biography summary of William by the University of Glasgow.

View the BBC Groundbreakers page for this episode.

Ulster History Circle information

Westminster Abbey information

Go to the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland website