Sadi Carnot was a proponent of the caloric theory, as were nearly all of the prominent figures prior to Joule. He never published anything that varied from that view — although he may have indicated otherwise in some of his correspondence. It is interesting to note that Sadi Carnot and Emil Clapeyron were both engineers (Joule was not an engineer). Together they established the foundation on which the science of thermodynamics was built, primarily by physicists. Carnot is one of the few engineers in history who has name recognition. Emil Clapeyron rescued Carnot's paper from almost certain obscurity; he is responsible for the graphical depiction of this cycle — familiar to all thermodynamic students — and the equations associated with it .
It is a testimony to Carnot that — despite an incorrect notion on the nature of heat-- the Carnot Cycle/Engine is an indispensable part of virtually all college thermodynamic courses.
Related web resources
- See the author's historical overview of thermodynamics site (an excerpt from a biography on J. Willard Gibbs)
Last modified 5 January 2008