Francis Hauksbee

history-francis-hauksbeeFrancis Hauksbee (English; 1660–1713), Also known as Francis Hawksbee, was an 18th-century scientist best known for his work on electricity and electrostatic repulsion. Initially apprenticed in 1678 to his elder brother as a draper, Hauksbee became Isaac Newton’s lab assistant. Hauksbee had discovered that if he placed a small amount of mercury in the glass of his modified version of Otto von Guericke’s generator, evacuated the air from it to create a mild vacuum and rubbed the ball in order to build up a charge, a glow was visible if he placed his hand on the outside of the ball. This glow was bright enough to read by. This effect later became the basis of the gas-discharge lamp, which led to neon lighting and mercury vapour lamps. Read more…

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