amber), was the first to distinguish clearly between electric and magnetic phenomena, and published (1600) De Magnete, the most important work on magnetism until the early 19th cent. In it he described his methods for strengthening natural magnets (lodestones) and for using them to magnetize steel rods by stroking he also outlined his investigations of the earth's magnetic field, from which he concluded that the earth as a whole behaves like a giant magnet with its poles near the geographic poles. He found that an iron bar that is left in alignment with the earth's magnetic field will slowly become magnetized, and that sufficient heating will cause a magnet to lose its magnetism.
See translations of his De Magnete by P. F. Mottelay (1893, repr. 1958) and S. P. Thompson (1901, repr. 1958).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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