A second edition volume of Magnes (Cologne, 1643), by Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680), a German Jesuit scholar who published many extensive works on scientific, religious, and other subjects. Dubbed the “Master of a Hundred Arts,” Kircher’s interests were vast; his life’s work included studies of Egyptology, Sinology, geology, technology, and microscopy.
Magnes comprehensively describes what was known about electricity and magnetism at the time of its publication. It includes discussions of metals, transmutation, luminescence, phosphorescence, etc., but is especially notable for containing the first use of the term electromagnetism. The work is divided into three books: De natura et facultatibus magnetis (Of the Nature and Properties of Magnets), Magnes applicatus (Applications of Magnets), and Mundus sive catena magnetica (The World or the Magnetic Chain). Kircher argues that the universe is governed by universal physical forces of attraction and repulsion. He further asserts that the force which draws things together in the physical world is the same force that draws the human soul toward God. The first edition (Rome, 1641) was corrected and enlarged by Kircher only two years after its publication due to its popularity.
Fully and intricately illustrated, the work contains more than 150 woodcuts, 32 full-page engraved plates, and one foldout engraving. The work is digitized in its entirety.
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