Thermodynamics and Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

Science & Education 23 (10):2007-2044 (2014)
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This paper is the first part of a three-part project ‘How the principle of energy conservation evolved between 1842 and 1870: the view of a participant’. This paper aims at showing how the new ideas of Mayer and Joule were received, what constituted the new theory in the period under study, and how it was supported experimentally. A connection was found between the new theory and thermodynamics which benefited both of them. Some considerations are offered about the desirability of taking a historical approach to teaching energy and its conservation.
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