William Gilbert, 1544-1603


Biographical note

William Gilbert, also known as Gilbard, was an English physician and natural philosopher. He was an early Copernican, and passionately rejected both the prevailing Aristotelian philosophy and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete (1601), and is credited as one of the originators of the term electricity. He is regarded by some as the father of electrical engineering or electricity and magnetism. While today he is generally referred to as William Gilbert, he also went under the name of William Gilberd. The latter was used in his and his father's epitaph, the records of the town of Colchester, and in the Biographical Memoir in De Magnete, as well as in the name of The Gilberd School in Colchester, named after Gilbert. A unit of magnetomotive force, also known as magnetic potential, was named the gilbert in his honour.

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