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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses some of the significant themes in the development of thermal physics up to the establishment of classical thermodynamics. It begins with a review of the scientific study of heat, focusing on developments in the areas of thermometry and calorimetry. It then considers work on specific and latent heats, including those of Joseph Black, William Irvine, and Adair Crawford, as well as the interesting questions raised by the concepts of specific and latent heat in their interrelationship. It also examines the physics of caloric and gases, with particular emphasis on the debate over adiabatic heating and cooling; the motion of heat and its transfer between bodies; debates on the nature of heat; and heat as a state function. The article concludes with an overview of the emergence of classical thermodynamics.

Keywords: thermal physics, classical thermodynamics, heat, thermometry, calorimetry, specific heat, latent heat, Joseph Black, caloric, gases

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