Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 77 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN CHARLES ATHANASE PELTIER (1785-1845), French physicist, was born at Ham (Somme) on the 22nd of February 1785. He was originally a watchmaker, but retired from business about the age of thirty and devoted himself to experimental and observational science. His papers, which arenumerous, are devoted in great part to atmospheric electricity, waterspouts, cyanometry and polarization of skylight, the temperature of water in the spheroidal state, and the boiling-point at great elevations. There are also a few devoted to curious points of natural history. But his name will always be associated with the thermal effects at junctions in a voltaic circuit. His great experimental discovery, known as the " Peltier effect," was that if a current pass from an external source through a circuit of two metals it cools the junction through which it passes in the same direction as the thermo-electric current which would be caused by directly heating that junction, while it heats the other junction (see THERM0,-ELECTRICITY). Peltier died in Paris on the 27th of October 1845.
End of Article: JEAN CHARLES ATHANASE PELTIER (1785-1845)

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