The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews

kinetic theory


John Dalton (1766—1844) chemist and natural philosopher

Lord Kelvin (1824—1907) mathematician and physicist

See all related overviews in Oxford Reference »


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Science and technology


Show Summary Details


James Prescott Joule

(1818—1889) physicist

Quick Reference


British physicist. In 1840 he discovered the relationship between electric current passing through a wire, its resistance, and the amount of heat produced. In 1849 he gave an account of the kinetic theory of gases, and a year later announced his best-known finding, the mechanical equivalent of heat. Later, with William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), he discovered the Joule-Thomson effect.

Reference entries