William John Macquorn Rankine

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rankine, William John Macquorn


Born July 5, 1820, in Edinburgh; died Dec. 24, in Glasgow. Scottish engineer and physicist.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Rankine worked on the construction of ports and railroads. In 1855 he became a professor at the University of Glasgow. One of the founders of the science of thermodynamics, he wrote a monograph, which appeared in the 1850’s, dealing with the technical application of the thermodynamic properties of steam. Rankine and R. J. E. Clausius worked out the theoretical cycle of the steam engine. In 1854, Rankine laid the basis for the theory of the regenerative process, which came to be used in engines requiring heated air. Rankine proposed a method for designing steam engines with multiple expansion and for determining the indicated efficiency of engines. A number of Rankine’s works are devoted to the theory of elasticity and waves.


A Manual of the Steam Engine and Other Prime Movers, 15th ed. London, 1902.
A Manual of Civil Engineering, 22nd ed. London, 1904.
Shipbuilding, Theoretical and Practical. London, 1866. (With others.)
A Manual of Machinery and Millwork. London, 1869.
Miscellaneous Scientific Papers. London, 1881.
In Russian translation:
Rukovodstvo dlia inzhenerov-stroitelei. St. Petersburg, 1870.


Radtsig, A. A. Istoriia teplotekhniki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Rosenberger, F. Istoriiafiziki, part 3, fase. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The inclusion of the works of other, non-British scientists of this era--such as Alexander Von Humboldt, Heinrich Wilhelm Brandes, Joseph Fourier, William Rankine, Matthew Maury, and Urbain Le Verrier, among many others--would have very nicely filled out the picture of the early years of modern meteorology.
The origins of their use of the term emerged from French engineering and physics and, especially, its evolution in Britain to a conception linking it to thermal and mechanical science: namely William Rankine's use of conserving energy and its potential within industry, as it related to James Joule's theory of the mechanical equivalent to heat, thus making the link between motion and heat.
Beith snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner when Reid slid the ball under Dalry keeper William Rankine.