According to the Guinness Book of Records, the youngest student in history of mankind began his studies at the University of Glasgow in the age of ten years and four months. Child prodigies often come to nothing in the end, but that was a different case: the name of the youngest student in the history of this planet was William Thomson. This is the same Thomson who is known as Baron Kelvin, one of the greatest physicists in the world. He was born in Belfast in 1824 in the family of a pope – a famous mathematician and author of textbooks that have gone through dozens of editions.
Having studied at the University of Glasgow at a young age, William took over the School of Theoretical Physics – he barely turned 22 at that time. Scientific interests of the young head of the department stretched in different directions, and William Thomson entered the history of science primarily as one of the founders of thermodynamics. He formulated the second law of thermodynamics, introduced an absolute scale of temperatures, which will be called the Kelvin scale in his honor. He will become Kelvin in 1892 – when the queen Victoria, in recognition of his scientific achievements, will award him the title of the lord. The surname will be borrowed from the river that flows near the University of Glasgow.
Both being a commoner and a baron, the scientist did not disdain practical deeds. He invented or improved many physical devices, and among the many patents he received there were quite prosaic ones, like a patent for a water tap. In his old days, the great physicist became a devout skeptic. He didn't believe in the discovery of X-rays and argued that radio never will find a practical application. And when the royal family had turned to him for advice on which type of current to choose for their residence, he had advised them such things that they began to use alternating current only in the 80s of the latest century – before they used a direct one. And Lord Kelvin also disagreed with the Darwin’s theory: he wittily assured that he was “on the side of the angels.” He is also the author of another good joke: the English measurement system would be the most ridiculous thing in the world if English monetary system hadn’t already existed.