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His father owned a brewery and Joule was raised and educated to take over the business, being tutored by John Dalton who is famous for creating Dalton's law of partial pressures (also widely used by refrigeration technicians, whether they realize it or not).
"If population movements corresponded to the equivalent of Dalton's law of partial pressures, there would be a tendency for population density to equilibrate over different geographical areas," which is just what I was about to say.