Magdeburg hemisphere experiment, artwork

Magdeburg hemisphere experiment, artwork

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Magdeburg hemispheres experiment. Historical artwork published in Experimenta Nova (1672) by the German scientist and inventor Otto von Guericke (1602-1686). This experiment, conducted by von Guericke in the 1650s in Magdeburg, Germany, demonstrated atmospheric pressure. He designed two brass hemispheres (top) that fitted together snugly but could be pulled apart with ease. When he pumped the air out from between the hemispheres, forming a vacuum, the external atmospheric pressure forcing the hemispheres together was so strong that not even sixteen horses (centre) could open them.

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