Lord Kelvin’s Address

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824-1907)

“ I fear I have taxed your patience too long; but I cannot sit down without again reflecting on the men whose lives have been patterns to the world. There is none more remarkable perhaps than the man of this country, Joseph Henry, who ended his days here. He and Faraday were patterns of scientific investigators. In some degree they went parallel and made similar scientific discoveries. Henry, indeed, preceded Faraday in the great discovery of the electro-magnetic induction between unmoved conductors. Henry gave the warmest welcome to all practical applications of his discoveries. He sought to make none himself, not because he superciliously despised the applications of science to the public good, but because his own convictions constrained him to go on in pure science; because he felt, as Professor Eowland has said so well in respect to Faraday, that it would have taken him from his work to have devoted himself at all to the practical applications of his discoveries. But what a beautiful trait of character it is to see what a kindly welcome he gave to those who did make the practical applications. He saw what might be done, but deliberately left it to others. ”

Source: Rowland, H. A., and Electrical Commission United States. Report of the Electrical Conference at Philadelphia, in September, 1884 . Gov’t print. off, 1886. Print.