The foundations of the modern science of magnetism were laid by William Gilbert.
For medicine in England Harvey did what William Gilbert did for physics and Robert Boyle for chemistry: he insisted upon direct interrogation of natural processes, and thereby annihilated the ascendancy of mere authority, which, while nations were in the making, was an essential principle in the welding together of heterogeneous and turbulent peoples.
The name is derived from the word electrica, first used by William Gilbert (1544-1603) in his epoch-making treatise De magnete, magneticisque corporibus, et de magno magnete tellure, published in 1600, 1 to denote substances which possess a similar property to amber (= electrum, from iiXecrpov) of attracting light objects when rubbed.
The earliest form of scientific electroscope was the versorium or electrical needle of William Gilbert (1544- 1603), the celebrated author of the treatise De magnete (see Electricity).
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