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The power of atmospheric pressure

The German emperor, Ferdinand III, witnessed an experiment at Regensburg in the year 1654. Two teams, of eight horses each, were tied to a metallic sphere. The horses pulled in opposite directions, with all their strength. But they failed to break apart the sphere into two. This event is famous in history as the Magdeburg Experiment.Otto Von Guericke a German Physicist & Engineer, and the Mayor of Magdeburg, was the man behind this experiment. Earlier, in 1650, he had invented an air pump. Through the experiment he wanted to prove the power of atmospheric pressure. He joined two metallic hemispheres to form a sphere. Using the air pump he created vacuum inside the sphere.Now there was no air pressure inside the sphere. As a result the atmospheric pressure did not meet any countering force. So it pressed the hemispheres harder. So great was the effect of this atmospheric pressure that even two teams of horses could not break apart the sphere. Thus Guericke, for the first time, showed the importance of atmospheric pressure.

Web references :

Archimedes and the Golden Crown
Principals Of Buoyancy