11    God Spiked the Integers

The cold of space is named Kelvin, about 3 degrees Kelvin, or 3 degrees centigrade above absolute zero. Kelvin is also the name of a river in Scotland, near Glasgow. The same river gave its name to William Thomson, the Lord Kelvin (1824–1907), the first scientist in the United Kingdom to be granted a noble title. Thomson studied thermodynamics in his laboratory in Glasgow, and now the cold of space bears the name of a Scottish river.

Lord Kelvin befittingly also researched water. He invented several tide prediction engines. These were essentially mechanical computers that calculated the tides (Figure 11.1). All the gears and cables comprised a set of oscillators that produced accurate tide predictions. But when ...

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