Otto von Guericke, German physicist

Otto von Guericke, German physicist

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Portrait of the German engineer and physicist Otto von Guericke (1602-1686). Guericke invented the air pump, and was the first to create and study the vacuum. Using the pump he showed that inside a vacuum, the sound of a ringing bell could not be heard and a flame could not burn. He also showed that when air was removed from between two metal hemispheres, the external atmospheric pressure forcing the hemispheres together was so strong that not even two teams of eight horses could open them.

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