257 - Julius Robert Mayer: the physician who discovered first law of thermodynamics

Autor(s): G. Dall'Olio

Issue: RIMeL - IJLaM, Vol. 2, N. 3, 2006 (MAF Servizi srl ed.)

German physician Julius Robert Mayer in 1842, after observations made in Java where he served as a ship’s surgeon of a Dutch merchant ship, established the basis of the mechanical theory of the heat that will lead to the First Law of Thermodynamics. Even in those years Thermodynamics was a field of physics but very often physicians, the only scientists who could practise the basic sciences, investigated also subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Natural Sciences.
Mayer’s life was very troubled and his work, also today little known, was recognized after many disappointments and diatribes with the scientists and the professionals of the age.

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