Early Ideas of Space and Vacuum

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Physics book series (SpringerBriefs in Physics)


Aristotle’s idea of a heavenly element (quinta essentia) and his arguments against a void were generally accepted in the ancient world and through the middle ages. However, other ideas circulated as well, such as the active pneuma postulated by Stoic philosophers. Following experiments with barometers and air-pumps in the seventeenth century, the hypothesis of a natural horror vacui lost credibility. Empty space had been discovered in the laboratory—but was the space without air found by Robert Boyle and others really empty?


Vacuum Plenum Aristotle Pneuma Horror vacui 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science StudiesAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Astronomy and GeosciencesTowson UniversityTowsonUSA

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