Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the physics of imponderable, or weightless, fluids. It first reviews the existing historical literature on the physics of imponderables before considering how supporters and sceptics of imponderables reacted after 1800 to the introduction of new instruments of analysis that followed the introduction of the Voltaic battery. The Voltaic battery was followed by the development of an array of new concepts that included sophisticated mathematical tools, unanticipated chemical procedures, and ingenious wood and brass apparatus. The tangled developments accompanying the introduction of these new instruments culminated somehow, after two decades, with the adoption of the notion of electric current. The article also explores the views of Pierre Simon Laplace regarding imponderables and how the new instruments were addressed by three authors: Jean Baptiste Biot, Humphry Davy, and André-Marie Ampère.

Keywords: physics, imponderable fluids, instruments, Voltaic battery, electric current, Pierre Simon Laplace, Jean Baptiste Biot, Humphry Davy, André-Marie Ampère, imponderables

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.