Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

James Prescott Joule and the Unit of Energy

Abstract

A CENTURY has passed since Joule read his paper on the relation between heat and work at the meeting of the British Association at Cork on August 26, 1843. It is unfortunate that a difference of opinion has arisen about the correct pronunciation of his name and also of the word joule used to denote a unit of energy (ten million ergs or one Newton-metre). The “Oxford English Dictionary” gives dzaul as the pronunciation of the unit, where au represents the sound in the word loud. In “Webster's New International Dictionary” (1911) is found the statement: “The proper name is pronounced joul (ou as in out) and this is the correct pronunciation for the unit ; but the incorrect j\(\overline{oo}\)l [\(\overline{oo}\) as in f\(\overline{oo}\)d] is very common especially in the United States”. In “Chambers's Technical Dictionary” (first published 1940) we find the contradictory statements joule, jool (Phys.). A unit of energy equal to 107 ergs. (Named after F. [sic] P. Joule, 1918–89 ; name pronounced jowl.)

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

ALLEN, H. James Prescott Joule and the Unit of Energy. Nature 152, 354 (1943). https://doi.org/10.1038/152354a0

Download citation

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing