James Prescott Joule

James Prescott Joule was an English physicist who studied the nature of heat and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This study later led to formation of the first law of thermodynamics.

Early life

James Prescott Joule was born on December 24, 1818 in Salford, England. Joule was a son to Benjamin Joule, a wealthy brewer, and Alice Prescott Joule.


Joule was tutored at his home in Pendlebury, near Salford.In 1834 he was sent along with his elder brother Benjamin, to study with John Dalton at the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. There he only received two years of education in arithmetic and geometry due to Dalton’s illness. However, time spent with John Dalton and his associates left Joule intrigued. H