A Victorian Scientist and Engineer: Fleeming Jenkin and the Birth of Electrical Engineering

1st Edition

Gillian Cookson, Colin Hempstead

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Published October 19, 2017
Reference - 232 Pages
ISBN 9781315203553 - CAT# Y323724
Series: Routledge Revivals

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This title was first published in 2000:  In a life of only 52 years, Fleeming Jenkin established his reputation as a pioneer in the new world of electrical engineering, known for his work on undersea telegraphs and later on the electrical transportation system known as telpherage. Equally at ease in the realms of theory and practice, from 1850 until his death in 1885 Jenkin engaged in every field of Victorian engineering. As a young adult he worked on intercontinental submarine telegraphy, the cutting edge technology of its day which was inextricably bound to the new science of electricity. Jenkin was both a scientist and an engineer, a prototype of the modern experimental research engineer. He was also a distinguished academic, professor of engineering in the University of Edinburgh, admired as an inspired and innovative teacher, and for his interest in the philosophical tenets underpinning his subject. Yet in spite of his influence as an early electrical engineer and his other intellectual achievements, despite the celebrity of his associates - Robert Louis Stevenson, Mrs Gaskell and leading engineers of the day were among his close friends - and the way that submarine telegraphs seized the Victorian popular imagination, Jenkin himself has remained an obscure figure. He deserves to be better known. The story of Jenkin is of a life lived to the full. It illuminates many aspects of Victorian intellectual society, and of the organisation of science and engineering in his time. The central purpose of this biography is to show Jenkin’s achievements in engineering and in other fields, and to judge his significance in these diverse activities.

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