MAYFLOWER MAY-FLY Mayer's real merit consists in the fact that, having for himself made put, on inadequate and even questionable grounds, the conservation of energy, and having obtained (though by inaccurate reasoning) a numerical result correct so far as his data permitted, he applied the principle with great power and insight to the explanation of numerous physical phenomena. His papers, which were republished in a single volume with the title Die Mechanik der Wdrme (3rd ed., 1893), are of unequal merit. But some, especially those on Celestial Dynamics and Organic Motion, are admirable examples of what really valuable work may be effected by a man of high intellectual powers, in spite of imperfect information and defective logic.
Different, and it would appear exaggerated, estimates of Mayer are given in John Tyndall's papers in the Phil. Mag., 1863-1864 (whose avowed object was " to raise a noble and a suffering man to the position which his labours entitled him to occupy "), and in E. Duhring's Robert Mayer, der Galilei des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, Chemnitz, 1880. Some of the simpler facts of the case are summarized by Tait in the Phil. Mag., 1864, ii. 289.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)