Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot

Physics Research Project

Biography

Born in Paris, 1 June 1796. At the age of 16, Sadi Carnot became a cadet in the Ecole Polytechnique. The École Polytechnique was intended to train engineers for military service, but its professors included such eminent scientists as Andre-Marie Ampere, Francois Arago, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussa, Luis Jacques Thenard and Simeon Denis Poisson, and the school had become renowned for its mathematical instruction. After graduating in 1814, Sadi became an officer in the French army's corps of engineers. Carnot died during a cholera epidemic in 1832, at the age of 36

Career

Was a French military engineer and physicist, often described as the "father of thermodynamics". In his only publication, the 1824 monograph Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, Carnot gave the first successful theory of the maximum efficiency of heat engines. Carnot's work attracted little attention during his lifetime, but it was later used by Rudolf Clausius and Lord Kelvin to formalize the second law of thermodynamics and define the concept of entropy.

Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire

The 118-page book's French title was Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu et sur les machines propres à développer cette puissance. It is a significant publication in the history of the thermodynamics about a generalized theory of heats engines.

The book is considered the founding work of thermodynamics It contains the preliminary outline of the second law of thermodynamics. Carnot stated that motive power is due to the fall of caloric (heat) from a hot to a cold body.