Cover image for A Victorian scientist and engineer : Fleeming Jenkin and the birth of electrical engineering
A Victorian scientist and engineer : Fleeming Jenkin and the birth of electrical engineering
Cookson, Gillian.
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Publication Information:
Brookfield, VT : Ashgate, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 217 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
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Q143.J5 C66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In a life of only 52 years, Fleeming Jenkin established a reputation as a pioneer in the new world of electrical engineering, known for his work on undersea telegraphs and more. This biography illuminates his life, aspects of Victorian intellectual society and the organization of science.

Author Notes

Gillian Cookson, University of Durham, UK
Colin Hempstead, University of Teesside, UK

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Choice Review

Fleeming Jenkin (1833-85) was one of the founders of electrical engineering. To quote from Cookson and Hempstead's concluding remarks, "[H]e was present at the birth of electrical engineering and was largely responsible for codifying it and marrying its theoretical and practical aspects; furthermore, he saw all human knowledge, physical or social, as a type of science." He came of age when the intercontinental submarine telegraph cable was the cutting-edge project, and he made many contributions to its success. He was the first to define and measure the leakage conductivity and the specific inductive capacity (permittivity) of insulating material. He died at an early age, and his achievements have been forgotten. However, this book is his first full-length biography; it is a scholarly work, heavily footnoted, but free of technical vocabulary and can be enjoyed by anyone interested in technology and history. General readers; graduate students and faculty in the history of science and technology. G. Weiss; emeritus, Polytechnic University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vi
Acknowledgementsp. ix
List of Figuresp. xi
Abbreviations in Footnotesp. xiii
1 Introductionp. 1
2 A Young Man of Remarkable Abilityp. 13
3 Employed about the Ocean Cablesp. 31
Appendix Thomson's Mirror Galvanometerp. 55
4 An Electrical Engineer of High Standingp. 57
5 A Philosophic Electricianp. 95
Appendix Jenkin on Truthp. 134
6 Untiring Zest for Lifep. 141
7 The Soul of the Enterprisep. 171
Bibliographical Notes on the History of Submarine Telegraphyp. 197
Bibliographyp. 201
Indexp. 212