Blacksmith making a magnet, 1633

Blacksmith making a magnet, 1633

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Blacksmith making a magnet, as depicted in the 1633 edition of De Magnete by the English physician and natural philosopher William Gilbert (1544-1603). The labels are in Latin. The blacksmith is striking an iron rod. If the rod is held aligned with the Earth's magnetic field (septentrio means north, and auster means south), the rod becomes magnetised. De Magnete, originally published in 1600, is a classic of experimental science and is often regarded as the first great work of science to be published in England. Although he was a physician, Gilbert performed extensive experimental work on magnetism.

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