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Samuel Tolver Preston (July 8, 1844 — 1917) was
an English Engineer and physicist.
His parents were Daniel Bloom Preston (* 1807) and Mary Susannah
Tolver. Preston was educated as a Telegraph-engineer. He went to Munich where he attained his Ph.D in 1894 with
Boltzmann. After that, he worked as a teacher.
He is known for his works (1875-1894) on the kinetic theory of
gases and his attempts to combine this theory with Le Sage's theory of
gravitation.  In his
book Physics of the Ether (1875) he claimed that if matter
is subdivided into ether particles, they would travel at the speed of light
and represent an enormous amount of energy. In this way, one grain of matter would
contain energy equal to 1000 millions of foot-tons (whereby one
However, Preston's thoughts were entirely based on classical,
non-relativistic physics and cannot be compared with Albert
Einstein's Mass–energy equivalence, which
is a consequence of special relativity.
Preston also seemed to be the first (1885) to recognize the
redundancy of Michael Faraday's explanation of electromagnetic
Einstein recognized a similar problem in his paper "On the
electrodynamics of moving bodies" (1905, i.e. special
In 1876 he corresponded with James Clerk Maxwell and alluded to
the work of John James Waterston. In 1880 he
corresponded with Charles Robert
see Le Sage's theory of
Non-mainstream: Auffray: Samuel Tolver and E=mc². arΧiv:physics/0611300
Non-mainstream: Bjerknes: S. Tolver Preston's Explosive
Idea: E = mc² and the Huyghens-Leibnitz Mass/Energy Identity as a
Heuristic Principle in the Nineteenth Century
(1981), Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity.
Emergence (1905) and early interpretation (1905–1911),
Reading: Addison–Wesley, pp. 156, ISBN
- Physics of the ether; 1875
- On some
dynamical conditions applicable to LeSage’s theory of
gravitation (1877); Phil. Mag., fifth ser. Vol. 4 (1877),
pp. 206-213, 364-375; Vol. 5 (1878), pp. 117-127, 297-311
- Mode of the Propagation of Sound, and the Physical
Condition Determining its Velocity on the Basis of the Kinetic
Theory of Gases; (1877)
- Temperature Equilibrium in the Universe in Relation to the
Kinetic Theory; Nature 20, 1879, p. 28
- On the Possibility of accounting for the Continuance of
Recurring Changes in the Universe, consistently with the Tendency
to Temperature-Equilibrium; Philosophical Magazine 8, 1879,
- On the possibility of explaining the continuance of life in
the Universe consistent with the tendency to
temperature-equilibrium; Nature 19, 1879, p. 460/462
- On method in causal research; in: Philosophical
magazine, ix (1880), S. 356–367
- A Question regarding one of the Physical Premises upon
which the Finality of Universal Change is based; Philosophical
Magazine 10, 1880, p. 338/342.
- Science and sectarian religion; in: S. T. Preston,
Original essays; London, 1884, S. 19–51.
- Ueber das gegenseitige Verhältniss einiger zur dynamischen
Erklärung der Gravitation aufgestellten Hypothesen; Inauguraldissertation von 1894, München,
Comparative Review of some Dynamical Theories of
Gravitation; Philosophical Magazine 1895, Vol. 35, p.
- On Certain Questions connected with Astronomical
Physics; Philosophical Magazine 1906, Vol. 12, p. 560ff.
- On Certain Questions connected with Astronomical Physics,
Part II; Philosophical Magazine 1907, Vol. 14, p. 265ff.
- On some Physical Relations affecting Matter in Diverse
Stages of Subdivision; Philosophical Magazine 1908, Vol. 16,