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Selected Poetry of William J. Macquorn Rankine (1820-1872)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. The Mathematician in Love


Notes on Life and Works

Inventor, civil engineer, and molecular physicist, William John Macquorn Rankine was born July 5, 1820, in Edinburgh. After he was educated at the University of Edinburgh, he became surveyor on waterworks and railways in Dublin and Drogheda in Ireland and later for the Caledonian Railway. During this time he made valuable contributions to the understanding of axle fatigue. From 1848, Rankine dedicated himself to study of thermodynamics and published over 150 scientific papers, especially on the conversion of work into heat, and vice versa. The model of events in this conversion is called the Rankine cycle. Created a fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, in 1849 and a fellow, Royal Society, in 1853, he was given the Queen Victoria chair of civil engineering and mechanics at Glasgow University in 1855. He wrote many standard textbooks for the period. He died on December 24, 1872, in Glasgow.

Biographical information

Given name: William J. Macquorn
Family name: Rankine
Birth date: 1820
Death date: 1872