The History of the Barometer (Paperback)
|Author: W. E. Knowles Middleton|
|In the first complete history of the barometer, W. E. Knowles Middleton documents not only the history of the instrument--invented in the mid-seventeenth century--and its various permutations, but also the history of the scientific principles involved and the scientists who either helped or hindered progress. Illustrated with nearly 200 drawings, many of them reproductions of original diagrams, this book chronicles the experiments, controversies, and refinements that resulted in the instrument that has for two centuries been an essential part of any laboratory and, as Middleton concludes, "had an immediate effect on man's view of the world."|
From the Publisher:
For two centuries the barometer has been an indispensable laboratory instrument. Yet, despite its revolutionary influence on science, W. E. Knowles Middleton here offers the first complete history of the barometer as a scientific tool.
Middleton relies on research from Western European documents and manuscripts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He begins his story with a pre-history of the barometer, the Torricellian experiment, the subsequent experiments and controversies in the 1640s, and the barometric experiments during the remainder of the century.
Later chapters are concerned with the mercury barometer as a scientific instrument, discussing the efforts to expand the scale to render the instrument portable, and to attain greater accuracy. These chapters follow accounts of mercury barographs, the history of the corrections to the barometer, the history of the mercury barometer in North America, and the luminescence that appears when a barometer is moved in the dark. The final chapters discuss barometers other than those using the weight of a column of mercury.
A large number of the more interesting barometers seen by the author in his extensive travels appears in the appendix. Nearly 200 figures and diagrams depict the wide variety of barometers studied by the author over his long career at the Smithsonian Institution.