On this day in oil and gas: October 11

October 11th 1889, Sale, Cheshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland – A 71-year old man breathes his last at home on the south bank of the River Mersey. Home schooled until the age of 15, he would work in the family brewery and become enthralled by the scientific process of burning stuff.

This controlled pyrophilia manifested in a career dedicated to the study of the mechanics of heat that would disprove caloric theory (that a form of matter called Caloric was responsible for the phenomena of heat and combustion) and lead to the Law of conservation of energy and the First law of thermodynamics. This pioneer’s name was James Prescott Joule, and the head of his gravestone bears the number 772.55, his measurement of the mechanical equivalent of heat.

J.P. Joule’s life’s work is crucial to our understanding of how hydrocarbons work. In fact, he is so inextricably to the world of energy that the SI derived unit of energy is named after him. And, if you were wondering, a single barrel of oil equivalent contains 5,861,520,000 of his namesakes.

P.S. Even Homer Simpson respects Joule's work!



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