Experimenta Nova

Experimenta Nova


Description: FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE GREAT SCIENTIFIC CLASSICS: "Describes the invention of the air pump and the famous experiment with the Magdeburg hemispheres, in which two teams of eight horses were employed in an attempt to pull apart two copper hemispheres from which the air had been withdrawn. Guericke also describes the invention of the first electrical machine, which generated the first visible and audible electric charges” (Honeyman). "In 1650 Guericke constructed the first air pump, which he used to create a vacuum in various containers. He showed that sound would not travel in a vacuum, and furthermore that a vacuum would not support combustion or animal life. In 1654 Guericke gave an impressive demonstration in front of the emperor Ferdinand III, of the force of atmospheric pressure. Two identical copper hemispheres 12 feet (3.66 m) in diameter were joined together. When the air was pumped out, 16 horses could not pull them apart although when the air reentered the hemispheres they fell apart by themselves. He also showed that 20 men could not hold a piston in a cylinder once the air had been evacuated from one end of it... In 1663 he built the first electrical friction machine by rotating a sulfur globe against a cloth... The results of these and other experiments were published in his Experimental nova Magdeburgica de vacuo spatio (1672; New Magdeburg Experiments Concerning Empty Space)" (Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists). The magnificent large folding plate of the great public experiment with the horses and hemispheres is one of the most celebrated and reproduced images in all of science. Experimenta nova Magdeburgica de vacuo spatio [New Magdeburg Experiments Concerning Empty Space]. Amsterdam: Johanned Jansson Waesberge, 1672. Contemporary full vellum (possibly reset). Illustrated throughout, with engraved title, engraved portrait, 7 full-page engraved plates (one repeated), 2 double-page engraved plates and 24 engraved diagrams and figures in text. Without errata leaf (as often). Dibner, Heralds of Science 55; Grolier/Horblit 44; Sparrow, Milestones of Science 90; NLM/Krivatsy 5074; Wellcome III, p.175; Wheeler Gift 170; Norman 952. An outstanding copy, with plates and text exceptionally clean.
Artist or Maker: Guericke, Otto Von
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