Why does a magnet attract iron, why does a compass needle point north? While the magnet or lodestone was known since antiquity, magnetism became one of the most important topics in early modern natural science and technology. In
Magnes Christoph Sander explores this fascinating subject and draws, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the early modern research on magnetism (c. 1500–1650). The study examines in breadth, covering all disciplines of this epoch, what scholars understood by ‘magnet’ and ‘magnetism,’ the properties they ascribed to it, in which instruments and practices magnetism was employed, and how they tried to explain this exciting phenomenon. This historical panorama is unpreceded and based on around 1500 historical sources, including over 100 manuscripts.
Christoph Sander, Ph.D. (2020), Technical University Berlin, is a postdoctoral scholar at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome (Max Planck Institute for Art History). He has published widely on the history of early modern philosophy and its institutional embedding.
Researchers from the fields of the history of science, ideas, knowledge, philosophy and technology, as well as anyone interested in the history of magnetism and mineralogy.