Benjamin Thompson Facts

Benjamin Thompson Facts
Benjamin Thompson (March 26, 1753 to August 21, 1814) was a physicist and inventor, born in the US prior to its independence from England; he went on to live in several other countries, and died in Paris.
Interesting Benjamin Thompson Facts:
Thompson was born in the Massachusetts colony and attended the local village school. Despite his local education, he often walked to the city of Cambridge to attend lectures from important speakers.
He became an apprentice at age thirteen, which ended his formal education for the time, but his work brought him in close contact with highly educated people.
An injury gave him the time he needed while recovering to conduct scientific experiments and foster his own love of the sciences.
Thompson had the good fortune to meet and fall in love with a young widow who owned property through her late husband, and who was well connected through her father.
The two married, and the governor appointed Thompson to the position of major in the New Hampshire militia.
Thompson was a Loyalist during the American Revolution, intent on protecting his large property and his role in society from the upstart rebels. When the war broke out and locals stormed Thompson's house, he fled, leaving his wife behind forever.
He had worked with the British army in the US on higher concentrations of gunpowder before fleeing to Bavaria, where he remained for eleven years.
While in Bavaria, he served the Prince-elector in an advisory role. He also worked on the social organization of the military and efforts to help the poor.
Thompson is credited with inventing a food known as Rumford's Soup, while looking for a cheap but nutritious food solution to feed to prisoners, soldiers, and the poor.
This thick soup made from barley, peas, potatoes, salt, and beer was inexpensive to produce, fairly nutritious in the short term, and portable, a plus for soldiers on the move.
It marked one of the first concentrated efforts in nutritional science.
His work with the Prince-elector earned him the title of Count, and he became known as the Count Rumford, named after the original name of Concord (NH) where he had lived.
He is better known, of course, for his experiments with heat, conduction, and insulation, and for devising a method of measuring specific heat, although another scientist, Johan Wilcke, published his paper first.
His work challenged what were then believed to be the known properties of thermodynamics, and sparked a revolution in this field of science.


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