I am delighted to have been invited to Bath for the opening of this Third International Congress of Thermology. The connection between the Congress and the City of Bath is significant. The properties of sunlight have been recognized throughout the centuries. Indeed, many ancient religions were based on the worship of the sun gods. The study of radiant heat was pioneered by Sir William Herschel, whose experiments led him to the study of heat and ultimately of infrared radiation. His son, John, furthered these experiments and formed an image by evaporating alcohol with carbon. In modern technology, infrared radiation plays a vital role in a wide range of applications. Thermal imaging is widely used in the manufacturing industries, especially plastics, glass and paper. The motor industry, for example, employs thermography in the design of windscreens and tire development. Chemical plants and refineries also use it in the important control of expensive energy losses. The communications industry makes extensive use of thermal imaging since overheating and cracks in insulation may cause the unscheduled shut-down of expensive equipment. There is now a special thermal imaging system for the examination of very large scale integrated circuits to help in the development of diagnostic tools for examining circuits which now have features of 1 micron in size, making the conventional method of mechanical probing impossible. This revolution in probing will enable us to maintain the high levels of quality control which are essential in the communications industry.
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