James Thomson (1822 - 1892):
James Thomson was born in Belfast and was educated at Glasgow University, where his father was Professor of Mathematics. He graduated in 1839 and served his engineering apprenticeship in England. In 1851 he became a civil engineer in Belfast and patented his invention of an inward-flow vortex turbine. He worked for Belfast Waterworks and was Professor of Engineering at Queen's College, Belfast, from 1857 to 1873, when he was appointed professor at Glasgow University. He was an inventor and contributed to the knowledge of centrifugal and jet pumps, paddleboats and water wheels. He published in scientific journals on such subjects as plasticity of ice, crystallisation, liquefaction and air and water currents. He was interested in the social life of Belfast and recommended the purchase of land for Ormeau Park for the people of the city. In 1877 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and received honorary doctorates from Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin.
A memorial tablet dedicated to him is located in the Entrance Hall of the Lanyon (Main) Building at Queen's University, Belfast, "erected by friends of himself and of his brother Lord Kelvin".
||16 February 1822
||8 May 1892
Additional research: Richard Froggatt