|Julius von Mayer (1814-1878)|
Non obvious because work seems focused--while heat seems dispersed. It took centuries of sustained effort by thinkers and scientists to get us where we are today: that heat and work are equivalent and can interconvert. Along the way, one man nearly took his own life for want of attention: Julius von Mayer. His story involved blood, and indirectly, iron. To him we owe the First Law of Thermodynamics:
Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only change forms________________
*The German verb sterben, to die, is etymologically linked to our verb to starve.