Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century

By Michael Windelspecht | Go to book overview

V

Vacuum Pump (ca. 1650): While sometimes called an air pump, in the 17th century the invention of a device to mechanically remove air from a container was actually a result of an interest in the formation of a vacuum within a tube. Pneumatic (air) devices of other sorts had been in existence for centuries. Furthermore, discussions on the nature of a vacuum were not new to 17th-century science. In the 4th century B.C.E. the Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed his four-element theory of matter (see CHEMISTRY). As a component of his theory, Aristotle stated that “nature abhors a vacuum,” and proposed that a fifth compound, ether, filled the spaces between the four elements. Greek supporters of atomic theory thought that there was a void between atoms that could not be crossed (see ATOMIC THEORY) and thus could not exist in nature. These thoughts persisted until the time of the Renaissance when the development of experimental science allowed scientists to finally explore the true nature of a vacuum.

The invention of the first mechanical device to intentionally create a vacuum in a container is credited to the German inventor Otto von Guericke. Around 1645, using this pump, Guericke was able to remove most of the air from containers to create a vacuum. He utilized two spheres to demonstrate the power of air pressure. In one experiment, Guericke connected together two fourteen-inch-diameter copper hemispheres, commonly called Magdeburg spheres after the town in which Guericke was mayor. Using one of his pumps Guericke removed the air from the interior space. As the pressure on the inside of the spheres dropped, the air pressure on the exterior held the spheres tightly together. In fact, the pressure was so strong that a team of horses was unable to separate the spheres. When the air pressure was restored,

-241-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 271

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.