Debunking the myth that Newton conceived heat transfer coefficients and “Newton’s law of cooling”

 

American heat transfer texts credit Newton with h and “Newton’s law of cooling”

 

Newton did not conceive h or “Newton’s law of cooling

 

The modern translation of the word “calor” used in Newton’s 1701 article

 

Fourier’s valid claim that he conceived h and “Newton’s law of cooling”

 

Why Fourier invented h

 

A modern appraisal of Fourier’s methodology

 

In 1974, The New Heat Transfer credited Fourier with h and “Newton’s law of cooling”, but others continued to credit Newton

 

The need for a definitive article to be published in an English language, heat transfer journal

 

The need for an early translation of Newton’s article

 

“A New Look at the Origin of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”

 

In 1985, IJHMT considered publishing “A New Look . . .”, but decided not to

 

In 1986, at the 8th International Heat Transfer Conference, I received 52 requests for copies of “A New Look . . .”

 

In 1987, IJHMT again considered publishing “A New Look . . .”.  This time, they lost the manuscript!

 

In 1988, “A New Look . . .” was rejected for presentation at the National Heat Transfer Conference

 

In 1988, Ventuno Press printed a pamphlet that included “A New Look . . .” and “A Scale of the Degrees of Heat”.  Ads entitled “Demise of a Myth” offered free copies of the pamphlet.  154 requests were received from 28 countries

 

In 1989, “A New Look . . .” was presented at the National Heat Transfer Conference.  Free copies were mailed to all who requested them.

 

In 1990, Mechanical Engineering published “Origins of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”, an abridged version of “A New Look . . .”

 

 

 

American heat transfer texts credit Newton with h and “Newton’s law of cooling”

American heat transfer texts (for example, heat transfer texts by McAdams, Giedt, Jakob, Rohsenow and Choi, Holman, Eckert and Drake, Kreith, Rohsenow and Hartnett, and Incropera and Dewitt) generally state that Newton conceived the heat transfer coefficient concept and “Newton’s law of cooling”, Eq. (1):

 

                        q = h DT                                                                               (1)

 

where q is heat flux, h is heat transfer coefficient, and DT is temperature difference between the surface of an object and the ambient fluid in which it is immersed.   Texts that cite a specific reference for the first publication of the heat transfer coefficient concept and Eq. (1) generally cite Newton’s article, "A Scale of the Degrees of Heat” published in 1701 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 22, page 824.  The article was in Latin, and the author was anonymous (although it was no secret that Newton was the author).

 

It is not certain which author first stated that Newton’s 1701 article documents the claim that he conceived h and Eq. (1).  A good guess is Professor McAdams, MIT.  His Heat Transmission (editions published in 1933, 1942, and 1954) is the earliest text I found that credited Newton with h and Eq. (1), and also cited Newton’s 1701 article.  (Although I no longer have ready access to the various editions of Heat Transmission, I am quite certain that Newton’s article is cited in the third edition, but not in the first edition.)

 

With regard to the numerous authors who credit Newton with h and Eq. (1), it is possible that they simply followed McAdams’ lead.  Consequently, no significance should be attached to the fact that numerous authors agree with McAdams, unless it is determined that this agreement is the result of informed, independent conclusion rather than the result of tacit assumption.

 

 

 

Newton did not conceive h or “Newton’s law of cooling”

After I conceived the new engineering, I wanted to find out who conceived modern engineering science, and why that person invented parameters not found in Nature—parameters such as electrical resistance and heat transfer coefficient.

 

American heat transfer texts had led me to believe that Newton conceived heat transfer coefficients.  I wanted to obtain Newton’s article to find out what he knew about convective heat transfer, and why he invented heat transfer coefficients.  I was daunted by the fact that the article had been published almost three centuries earlier, and considered it likely that the Library of Congress was the only place the article could be obtained.  Astonishingly, the Hamilton County Library in downtown Cincinnati has everything published by the Royal Society since it began meeting in the 17th century!

 

I obtained the volume that contained Newton’s article, and was dismayed to find that the article was in Latin, and its title was “Scala graduum Caloris”.  After spending several hours trying to translate the article with the aid of a Latin/English dictionary, I searched the card catalog hoping to find an anthology that included an English translation of Newton’s article.

 

Fortunately, I found an anthology by Professor I. Bernard Cohen of Harvard.  I was dumbfounded to find that Newton’s article had nothing to do with the heat transfer coefficient concept or “Newton’s law of cooling”.   

 

In the article, Newton proposed a temperature scale in which 0 degrees of “heat” was

 

The Heat of Winter Air, when Water begins to freeze.  This Heat is known by rightly placing the Thermometer in Snow pressed together, at what Time it begins to thaw.

 

and 12 degrees of “heat” was

 

The greatest Heat that the Thermometer receives by the Contact of a Human body.  This Heat is much the same as that of a Bird sitting upon her Eggs.

 

Note in the above that Newton used the word “heat” in place of the modern word “temperature”.

 

Newton determined the temperature of various phenomena based on his proposed temperature scale, and data he obtained with a linseed oil thermometer.  Temperatures beyond the range of the thermometer were measured indirectly using the law of cooling Newton presented in the article.  The law states that when an object cools, its rate of temperature change is proportional to the temperature difference between the object and the ambient fluid.  Symbolically, the law of cooling given in Newton’s article is

 

(dTobject/dt) a -(Tobject - Tambient>)                                                 (2)

 

Note that the law is based on the temperature of the object rather than the surface temperature of the object.  This suggests that, in Newton’s view, temperature is uniform throughout solid objects.

 

In summary, Eq. (2) is the only equation appropriately referred to as “Newton’s law of cooling”.  Note that it is concerned with temperature and time.  It has nothing to do with heat transfer coefficient—nothing to do with heat flux—nothing to do with “heat” in the modern sense.

 

Since Newton’s article had nothing to do with h or with Eq. (1), it was necessary to look elsewhere to determine who should be credited with them.

 

 

 

The modern translation of the word “calor” used in Newton’s 1701 article

In the title and repeatedly in the body of Newton’s 1701 article, Newton used the word “calor”, and the correct translation of calor was “heat”.  But in 1701, the word “temperature” had not yet been coined.  The word “heat” was used in its place.   

 

When Newton’s article was translated in 1749, “heat” was still used in place of what is now “temperature”.  But if Newton’s article were translated today, the correct title would be “A Scale of the Degrees of Temperature”, and “temperature” rather than “heat” would appear repeatedly in the body of the article.  And it would be readily apparent that Newton did not conceive h or Eq. (1).

 

 

 

Fourier’s valid claim that he conceived h and “Newton’s law of cooling”

American texts often credit Fourier with the concept of thermal conductivity, and cite his Analytical Theory of Heat published in 1822.  Fourier’s book was easy to obtain, and a delight to read.  It can be borrowed from many public libraries, and a Dover edition published in 2003 can be purchased at any bookstore. 

 

(When I was a college freshman, Jim Addiss, a roommate, posed a very thoughtful question: 

 

If great men write, why not read what great men write? 

 

It is a sad commentary on the American education system to note that, in my engineering courses, I was required to read thousands of pages written by professors, but I was never required to read even one paragraph written by a great man of science such as Aristotle or Galileo or Kepler or Newton or Fourier or Lavoisier or Maxwell or . . .)

 

In The Analytical Theory of Heat, Fourier referred to Newton’s article, but did not credit Newton with the heat transfer coefficient concept.  On page 458, Fourier merely observed that:

 

Newton was the first to consider the law of cooling of bodies in air; that which he has adopted for the case in which the air is carried away with constant velocity accords more closely with observation as the difference of temperature becomes less; it would exactly hold if that difference were infinitely small.

 

On page 2, Fourier claimed that he conceived the laws of convective and conductive heat transfer:

 

We have for a long time been in possession of ingenious instruments adapted to measure many of these (heat transfer) effects; valuable observations have been collected; but in this manner partial results only have become known, and not the mathematical demonstration of the laws which include them all.

 

I have deduced these laws (of convective and conductive heat transfer) from prolonged study and attentive comparison of the facts known up to this time; all these facts I have observed afresh in the course of several years with the most exact instruments that have hitherto been used.

 

On page 31, Fourier claimed that he conceived the heat transfer coefficient concept:

 

We have taken as the measure of the external conducibility of a solid body a coefficient h, which denotes the quantity of heat which would pass, in a definite time (a minute), from the surface of this body, into atmospheric air, supposing that the surface had a definite extent (a square meter), that the constant temperature of the body was 1, and that of the air 0, and that the heated surface was exposed to a current of air of a given invariable velocity.  This value of h is determined by experiment.

 

Fourier’s claim to h and Eq. (1) is difficult to discredit because, if his claim had been a lie, and if Newton had in fact conceived h and Eq. (1), then:

 

·  Fourier would have been severely ridiculed by his contemporaries for falsely claiming Newton’s contributions as his own.

 

·  Fourier would not have received the 1812 prize from the Institut de France for his prize essay, an early version of The Analytical Theory of Heat.

 

·  The Analytical Theory of Heat would not have been widely acclaimed and referenced and published in many languages and in many editions over a period of 200 years.  (As noted above, an edition was published as recently as 2003.)

 

·  It would be necessary to credit Newton (rather than Fourier) with the modern view of homogeneity.  Newton and his contemporaries generally used heterogeneous expressions, making it difficult to seriously contend that he conceived a homogeneous expression such as Eq. (1), or the invented parameter h that makes it homogeneous.  Note that Hooke’s law and Newton’s second law are heterogeneous.

 

 

 

Why Fourier invented h

Fourier invented h in order to satisfy his then revolutionary view of dimensional homogeneity.  This may be seen by noting the following:

 

·  Fourier conceived the modern view of dimensional homogeneity.  In this view, engineering phenomena are rigorously described only by equations that are dimensionally homogeneous—ie all terms in a rational equation must have the same dimensions.  For example, if the dimensions of the left side of a rational equation are meters/second, the dimensions of the right side must also be meters/second.  In Fourier’s words from The Analytical Theory of Heat:

 

. . . every undetermined magnitude or constant has one dimension proper to itself, and the terms of one and the same equation could not be compared if they had not the same exponent of dimensions.  (page 128).

 

·  Fourier offered no proof that his then revolutionary view of homogeneity was rational.  (As noted above, Newton and his contemporaries had an altogether different view of homogeneity, and generally used expressions that were dimensionally heterogeneous.)  The only rationale Fourier offered was the following:

 

(This view of homogeneity) is derived from primary notions on quantities; for which reason, in geometry and mechanics, it is the equivalent of the fundamental lemmas (axioms) which the Greeks have left us without proof.  (page 128)

 

·  Engineering phenomena in general, and convective heat transfer in particular, are cause-and-effect processes.  For example, stress causes strain, temperature difference cause heat flux, etc.

 

·  The dimensions of the cause generally differ from the dimensions of the effect.  Therefore engineering phenomena in general, and convective heat transfer in particular, are dimensionally heterogeneous.

 

·  Fourier’s experiments indicated that convective heat flux is generally proportional to temperature difference:

 

q a DT                                                                                                (3)

 

This is heterogeneous behavior—the dimensions of heat flux are not the same as the dimensions of temperature difference.

 

·  When Expression (3) is transformed to an equation, the natural result is Eq. (4):

 

q = a DT                                                                        (4)

 

         where a is the constant of proportionality. 

 

·  Fourier was not satisfied with Eq. (4) because, like Expression (3), it is heterogeneous, whereas Fourier wanted to describe convective heat transfer behavior with an equation that is homogeneous. 

 

·  In order to transform Expression (3) to a homogeneous equation, Fourier asserted that the constant in Eq. (4) is not a constant.  It is a “parameter” to which he assigned the dimensions that would transform the heterogeneous Eq. (4) into a homogeneous equation. 

 

·  Equation (5) is the homogeneous equation that results—the so-called “Newton’s law of cooling”.

 

q = h DT                                                                                    (5)

 

In Fourier’s view, Eq. (5) was a proportional equation that described convective heat transfer behavior in a global way, and h was the constant of proportionality between heat flux and temperature difference. 

 

Today, it is recognized that Eq. (5) does not describe convective heat transfer behavior in a global way, and h is oftentimes not the constant of proportionality between heat flux and temperature difference.  Today, Eq. (5) is merely a definition of h inappropriately written in the form of an equation.  And h, as defined by Eq. (5), is merely the ratio q/DT.

 

In summary, Fourier invented h by assigning dimensions to the proportionality constant between heat flux and temperature difference.  He did this because he wanted to describe heterogeneous convective heat transfer behavior with an equation that is homogeneous, thereby satisfying his view of dimensional homogeneity—ie his view that Natural phenomena are rigorously described only by equations that are homogeneous.

 

 

A modern appraisal of Fourier’s methodology

In Dimensional Analysis and Theory of Models by Langhaar (1951), the author states the following in reference to the modern view of homogeneity:

 

. . . dimensions must not be assigned to numbers, for then any equation could be regarded as dimensionally homogeneous.

 

Yet that is precisely what Fourier did—he assigned dimensions to a number—to a constant of proportionality!  And that number became the “parameter” known for 200 years as “heat transfer coefficient”.

 

 

 

In 1974, The New Heat Transfer credited Fourier with h and “Newton’s law of cooling”, but others continued to credit Newton

The New Heat Transfer, published in 1974, offered what I considered convincing evidence that Newton did not conceive h or “Newton’s law of cooling”, and that Fourier did.  However, it had little impact on the persons who write American heat transfer texts, either because they did not read The New Heat Transfer, or because they found the evidence presented there less than convincing.  Newton continued to be credited with h and “Newton’s law of cooling”.

 

For example, “History of Heat Transfer—Essays in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the ASME Heat Transfer Division”, edited by Professors Layton and Lienhard, 1988, contains an essay by Professor Bergles, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, that states:

 

A review of the background of “Newton’s law of cooling” leads to the conclusion that it is appropriate to credit Newton with the concept of the convective heat transfer coefficient.

 

The article suggests that Professor Bergles considered the evidence offered in The New Heat Transfer, but found it unconvincing.

 

Indeed, there is sharp criticism of those who would identify Newton with equation (1), e.g. Adiutori (1974).  (The citation refers to The New Heat Transfer.)

 

 

 

The need for a definitive document to be published in an English language, heat transfer journal

It is not acceptable that American heat transfer texts state that Newton conceived h and Eq. (1) in 1701, when in fact they were conceived by Fourier more than 100 years later. 

 

In order to right this wrong, persons who write American heat transfer texts must be informed that the citation in McAdams is incorrect, and that Fourier rather than Newton conceived h and “Newton’s law of cooling”.  Since the evidence offered in The New Heat Transfer was not convincing, as evidenced by Professor Bergles’ article referenced above, a document was required that would decide the origin of h and Eq. (1) in a definitive way.  And it needed to be published in an English language, scholarly heat transfer journal where it would likely be read by persons who write American heat transfer texts.  

 

 

 

The need for an early translation of Newton’s article

I wanted to write the definitive document on the origin of h and Eq. (1), and felt that it should be based on a translation of Newton’s article published by the Royal Society, preferably prior to the year 1760.  That is the year Joseph Black is generally credited with making the first clear distinction between heat and temperature, the first major advance in heat transfer science following the publication of Newton’s article.  Encyclopedia Americana (1984) states:

 

Until the middle of the 18th century little or no distinction was made between heat and temperature.  About that time Joseph Black . . . clearly distinguished between quantity of heat and intensity of heat, as temperature was designated.

 

I wanted a translation that preceded 1760 in order to be certain that the person who translated Newton’s article did not know more about heat transfer than Newton, and therefore could not “modernize” the translation.

 

In Professor Cohen’s anthology, no reference was cited for the source of the English translation of Newton’s article.  In order to determine the source and the date it was translated, I called Professor Cohen at his home.  He was both gracious and helpful. 

 

The source was “The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, From Their Commencement, in 1665, to the Year 1800, Abridged” by C. and R. Baldwin, London, 1809.  When I told Professor Cohen that I hoped to obtain an earlier translation, he said that every 20 or 30 years, the Royal Society published a collection of the more important papers, and perhaps one of those contained a translation of Newton’s article.

 

I returned to the Hamilton County Library in downtown Cincinnati, and was again astonished to find exactly what I wanted, The Philosophical Transactions (From the Year 1700, to the Year 1720) Abridged by Henry Jones, London, 1749.  Note that the title page states “In which the LATIN PAPERS are now first translated into ENGLISH.”, and that the book was published in 1749.  (The book appeared to be an original copy, and after I made a copy of the article, I told the library staff that the book belonged in the rare book section.)

 

 

 

“A New Look at the Origin of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”

In 1985, I wrote what I consider to be the definitive document on the origin of h and Eq. (1), and titled it “A New Look at the Origin of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”.  It establishes beyond any doubt that Newton did not conceive h or Eq. (1), and that Fourier conceived h and Eq. (1).

 

One telling argument is that h and Eq. (1) can be understood only by someone who understands the concept of “heat flux”—of a flow of heat per unit time and area.  Newton had no understanding of heat flux, and therefore he could not possibly have conceived h or Eq. (1).  The concepts of flux in general and heat flux in particular were conceived by Fourier almost 100 years after Newton died.  Quoting from Herivel’s Joseph Fourier:

 

(The concept of heat flux) must be regarded as (Fourier’s) most critically important and original single insight into the physical nature of the conduction of heat in solid bodies. . . Fourier’s contemporaries (Laplace, Poisson, Biot) found it excessively difficult either to understand or to accept this concept.  (And they refused to accept it for more than a decade.)

 

. . . this is surely another example of one of those apparently simple, almost trivial, concepts in theoretical physics which nevertheless seem to require for their formulation the intervention of a Galileo or a Newton.

 

 

 

In 1985, IJHMT considered publishing “A New Look . . .”, but decided not to

As noted above, I felt that “A New Look . . .” needed to be published in an English language, scholarly heat transfer journal in order to ensure that it would be read by persons who write American heat transfer texts.  In my view, the journal of choice was International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer (IJHMT).  My letter dated 8/5/85 to Professor Spalding, Editor, IJHMT stated:

 

. . . I would like to submit a rather unusual manuscript if you agree that the subject matter is appropriate for the Journal.  The manuscript deals with the myth that Newton originated the concept of the heat transfer coefficient.

 

I did not want to submit the paper to IJHMT if the editor felt that the subject matter was not suitable for his journal.

 

Professor Spalding's letter dated 8/14/85 stated:

 

Thank you for your letter dated August 5th.  The subject matter of your proposed paper is certainly an interesting one and I would be very pleased to see the paper.

 

My letter dated 10/30/85 to Professor Spalding was the cover letter for my manuscript entitled “A New Look . . .”  (The manuscript was essentially identical to ASME Paper 89-HT-3 of the same title except that it did not include Newton’s article.)  I also included a copy of Newton’s article, and explained that it was to be published in tandem with “A New Look . . .”.

 

With regard to “A New Look . . .”, Professor Spalding's letter of 11/26/85 stated:

 

Despite the interest of the facts which (your paper) discloses, however, I do not think that I can publish your articles, mainly because it is too long to be fitted in, but also because the reaction of most of your readers would be, I fear, “So what?”

 

 

In 1986, at the 8th International National Heat Transfer Conference, I received 52 requests for copies of “A New Look . . .”

At an Open Forum poster session of the 8th International Heat Transfer Conference, I presented paper OP-54 entitled “What’s Wrong with h?”  (Papers presented at open forum sessions are not listed in the conference program, and do not appear in the conference proceedings.  Because no permanent record is made of papers presented at open forums, the entry standards are low, and virtually all papers are accepted.)

 

(At poster sessions, each author is assigned a booth with a backdrop and a table.  The author puts up posters of his subject matter on the backdrop, and places display objects on the table.  Conference attendees stroll by and peruse the posters and the display objects.  Persons with a genuine interest in the subject matter oftentimes discuss it with the author.)

 

On my table, I placed seven or eight copies of Newton’s article “A Scale of the Degrees of Heat”, and a like number of “A New Look . . .”.  It was my intent that persons strolling by would merely peruse them, but I soon noticed they were disappearing.  I then labeled the remaining copies “Please do not remove”, and placed signup sheets on the table.  The sheets stated that free copies of both Newton’s paper and “A New Look . . . “ would be mailed to persons who left their names and addresses. 

 

When I returned home from the conference, I mailed free copies to all 52 persons who had signed up.  I was more than happy to do so, as indicated in the cover letter dated August 29, 1986, that accompanied the free copies.

 

 

 

In 1987, IJHMT again considered publishing “A New Look . . .”.  This time, they lost the manuscript!

On September 3, 1986, I called Professor Spalding to urge him to reconsider his negative decision.  He said he would reconsider it, and requested that I resubmit the paper.  My letter dated 9/3/86 to Professor Spalding summarized our telephone conversation, enclosed a copy of the paper I submitted on 10/30/85, mentioned that I had received 52 requests for copies of my paper, and thanked him for reconsidering.

 

On 1/5/87, I wrote to Professor Spalding to find out what action was being taken on my paper.  (The letter is no longer in my files.) 

 

A letter dated 2/19/87 from Professor Spalding's secretary stated:

 

. . . Professor Spalding sent your paper to Professor Hartnett . . . who is the Coordinating Editor of International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer.  It was decided to publish your paper in the Communications journal and I had assumed that Professor Hartnett would then contact you to this effect. 

 

I suggest that you contact him.

 

When I learned that the purpose of the Communications journal is to permit rapid publication of preliminary findings, I concluded that I did not want my paper published there.  I did not want it published in a journal for preliminary findings.  There was nothing preliminary about my findings.

 

I at once called Professor Hartnett to tell him I did not want the paper published in the Communications journal.  Our telephone conversation is summarized in my letter dated 2/26/87 to Professor Spalding's secretary.  The letter states:

 

As you suggested, I contacted Professor Hartnett and learned that he had no recollection of receiving the paper or accepting it for publication.

 

. . . please note that, if you locate my paper, I prefer that it not be published in the Communications Journal.

 

In summary, the only result of dealing with IJHMT editors for more than a year was that they somehow managed to lose my manuscript!

 

 

 

In 1988, “A New Look . . .” was rejected for presentation at the National Heat Transfer Conference

Since the IJHMT would not publish “A New Look . . .”, I submitted the paper to Professor Kaviany, University of Michigan, for possible presentation at the 1988 AIChE/ASME National Heat Transfer Conference.  I was certain the paper would be accepted for presentation.

 

I was wrong.  A letter from Professor Kaviany dated February 9, 1988 stated:

 

The reviewers have recommended not to accept the paper for presentation (although they find the content interesting).

 

It is ironic and amusing that, although the editor of IJHMT and the several reviewers found the paper interesting, they all felt that others would not want to read it or hear it!

 

 

 

In 1988, Ventuno Press printed a pamphlet that included “A New Look . . .” and “A Scale of the Degrees of Heat”.  Ads entitled “Demise of a Myth” offered free copies.  154 requests were received from 28 countries

Since the IJHMT was not going to publish the paper, and since the ASME would not accept it for presentation, I decided that Ventuno Press (my company) would print and distribute the paper in pamphlet form, and would include Newton’s article in its entirety so that the reader could reach an informed, independent conclusion.  I recognized that this would not have the impact I desired, but I did not want to do nothing.

 

In 1988, I placed ads entitled "The Demise of a Myth" in IJHMT, Journal of Heat Transfer, and in other journals and magazines.  The ads stated:

 

There is a widespread myth that Newton conceived the heat transfer coefficient (h) concept in 1701.  This myth is historically inaccurate by over one hundred years.  The h concept was actually conceived by Fourier in the nineteenth century.

 

To hasten the demise of this Newtonian myth, Ventuno Press has prepared a monograph entitled “A New Look at the Origin of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept” by Eugene F. Adiutori.  To obtain a free copy of the monograph, write to (Ventuno Press)

 

Ventuno Press received 154 requests from readers in 28 countries.  (All 154 requests are still in my files.)  The pamphlet was sent to everyone who requested it.

 

Including the 52 requests for copies I had received at the 1986 International Heat Transfer Conference (mentioned in my letter dated 9/3/86 to Professor Spalding), Ventuno Press mailed 206 free copies of “A New Look . . .”.  As I had hoped, most of the requests were from professors.

 

 

In 1989, “A New Look . . .” was presented at the National Heat Transfer Conference.  Free copies were mailed to all who requested them.

“A New Look . . .” was accepted for presentation at the 1989 ASME/AIChE National Heat Transfer Conference.  It was ASME Paper 89-HT-3.  (It was the same as the pamphlet that had been printed and distributed by Ventuno Press the previous year.) 

 

One thing that I sense was instrumental in the paper’s acceptance was that a professor with whom I had been corresponding was asked to be one of the reviewers.  He had seen the “Demise of a Myth” ad in the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, and had requested a copy of “A New Look . . .”  As noted in his letter to Professor Carey dated 1/31/89, the professor and I had discussed “A New Look . . .” in the several months before he was asked to review it, and that fact alone added greatly to my credibility, and to the credibility of my article.  (The letter notes that my article was not the first to “clear up misconceptions” about Newton’s law, and cites a 1984 article by Grigull.  However, my article was an amplification of the view expressed in The New Heat Transfer published in 1974.)

 

I presented the paper at a poster session—ie a session where I was given a booth, a poster board, and a table.  Attendees walked by and inspected my posters, and perused the documents on my table.  Oftentimes they discussed the origin of h with me.

 

(At that time, the ASME printed copies of each conference paper, and sold them to conference attendees for a price that I considered unacceptable—I think the price was $3.00.  The conference papers were 8 pages long.  Copies were printed on both sides of 2 sheets of 11” x 17” paper, and the 2 sheets were then stapled in the middle to form an eight page pamphlet.  Since each pamphlet consisted of two sheets of paper and two staples, I felt that $.25 was a more reasonable price to charge attendees, particularly since they had already paid a registration fee of $170.  Moreover, the specific purpose of these conferences is to promote the flow of information, and charging $3.00 for each paper inhibited rather than promoted the flow of information.

 

By way of silent protest, I told each attendee who expressed an interest in my paper that he should not purchase it—that I would send him a free copy if he would write his name and address on one of the signup sheets on my table.    I no longer have the signup sheets in my files, but I recall mailing out a large number of copies.

 

One of the persons who passed by my booth was Dr. Shah who, at that time, was an officer of the ASME.  I told him that I considered it unacceptable for the ASME to charge $3.00 for a pamphlet that was merely 2 sheets of paper and 2 staples, and that an acceptable price was $.25.  Dr. Shah replied that attendees did not mind paying $3.00 for each paper.  But I noticed that he wrote his name and address on the signup sheet!)

 

 

 

In 1990, Mechanical Engineering published “Origins of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”, an abridged version of “A New Look . . .”

In the hope of having “A New Look . . .” published in an English language heat transfer journal where it would likely be seen by professors who write heat transfer texts, I submitted the paper to Professor Faeth, Technical Editor, ASME Journal of Heat Transfer. 

 

In his letter dated 1/25/90, Professor Faeth stated:

 

The paper is certainly a scholarly and interesting account of the current notions concerning “Newton’s law of cooling”, and I enjoyed reading it.  However, in order to control our backlog we have not considered papers dealing with historical aspects of heat transfer as a matter of policy.

 

He also volunteered the helpful suggestion that

 

A shorter account could be submitted to Mechanical Engineering, a topical journal of the ASME, where your message would reach most university teachers in heat transfer.

 

I sensed that Professor Faeth’s suggestion was well intended, and followed up on it.  My letter dated 2/15/90 to Editor O’Leary, Mechanical Engineering, enclosed a copy of “A New Look . . .” and a short summary, then concluded with:

 

If you would be interested in a shorter, popularized version of the enclosed manuscript for Mechanical Engineering, please let me know what you consider an appropriate length.

 

To my great surprise and boundless joy, Editor O’Leary’s letter dated 5/2/90 stated:

 

. . . I would be pleased to publish a “popularized” version of your paper, “A New Look at the Origin of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”.  The revised article would fit very nicely into our August issue, which has heat transfer as one of its themes.

 

In the event that I would be unable to make the required revisions in time for the August issue deadline, the letter stated:

 

If you are pressed for time, we would be happy to make these editorial changes and show them to you for your approval before publication.

 

I would have been happy to make the required revisions, but I did not want to do anything that might delay or jeopardize the publication of “A New Look . . .”.  I allowed the staff of Mechanical Engineering to revise the manuscript with my final approval.

 

We had no difficulty agreeing on the final version of “A New Look . . . “, and the revised version was published in the August, 1990 issue of Mechanical engineering under the title “Origins of the Heat Transfer Coefficient Concept”.

 

When the article was published, I felt that I had done everything reasonably possible to right a wrong.  In Rousseau’s words,

 

My duty is to tell the truth.  Not to make people believe it.