A natural philosopher at work, 1628.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from 'De magnete' (On the magnet) by William Gilbert (1540-1603), published in Stettin, Poland, in 1628. Gilbert's experiments in magnetism, and his use of such terms as 'electric force', 'electric attraction', and 'magnetic pole', are the basis of the growth of the field of electricity. Originally published in 1600, this book is considered the first great scientific work published in England. Added for this unauthorised second edition, this engraving shows a scientist working in his library with one of Gilbert's experiments consisting of a magnet in water, and an armillery sphere on the floor.