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Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov – Oration on the Origin of Light. A New Theory of Colour – 03 ‘Heat’ is a function of an aggregate



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A description of the experience

Oration on the Origin of Light. A New Theory of Colour, Presented in a Public Meeting of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, July 1, 1756, by Mikhail Lomonosov Translated, by Henry M. Leicester [Professor of Biochemistry]; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970

When copper and other metals are heated in aqua fortis or lime is moistened with water, then without any external warming of these bodies, heat is produced spontaneously in them.

According to the opinion of the defenders of a caloric material, this should be collected from another neighboring body, and hence this other body should grow cold. But this is contrary to all experience. For an arbitrarily assumed heat material exists in equilibrium and does not create itself; it maintains an equilibrium when it passes from a hot body to a cold one, heating the latter and cooling the first by an equal degree of heat; it does not maintain an equilibrium when the lime is heated without cooling of a substance lying near it; a clear contradiction. …………….

Boiling water extinguishes incandescent iron. Hence, in the opinion of those who assume the cause of heat and cold to be a material of fire passing from one body to another, this material passes from the iron into the boiling water. But according to well-known experiments and indisputable conclusions, it is clear that when water boils it cannot become hotter.

The source of the experience

Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich

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