Explorations: The Discovery and Science of Latent Heat
Adam Hart-Davis, in “James Watt and the Lunaticks of Birmingham,” Science 292 (April 6, 2001): 55–56, puts the discovery of latent heat in the scientific context of the explosion of scientific knowledge in the middle of the eighteenth century. He also tries to lay to rest the idea that James Watt “invented the steam engine” by writing, “Actually, the first steam-engine patent was granted in 1698, the year James Watt’s father was born.” Watt’s work on improving the extremely inefficient steam engines of his time led to his role in the discovery of latent heat.
The German meteorologist and historian of meteorology Stefan Emeis discusses the roles of Jean André Deluc and Joseph Black, as well as James Watt, in “The Discovery of Latent Heat 250 Years Ago (PDF file),” in Meteorologische Zeitschrift 13 (July 2004): 329–333 (the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland).
J. T. Kiehl and Kevin E. Trenberth discuss the role of latent heat in the global energy budget in their article “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78 (February 1997): 197–208.