Air pressure experiment, 1648

Air pressure experiment, 1648

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Air pressure experiment. Artwork of Florin Perier in September 1648, on the request of his brother-in-law French physicist Blaise Pascal, measuring the air pressure as he ascends the Puy de Dome volcanic mountain in France (elevation: 1464 metres). He is using an early barometer invented by the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli in 1643. The column of mercury in the sealed glass tube fell in height during the ascent as less air pressed down on the mercury reservoir in the basin. This proved that air has weight. Engraving by Yan Dargent (1824-1899), published in Paris in 1867 in volume one of the four-volume work 'Les merveilles de la science' by Louis Figuier (1819-1894).

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