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Article
July 1, 1968

WILLIAM GILBERT (1544-1603) GENIUS OF COLCHESTER

JAMA. 1968;205(1):42-43. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140270066017
Abstract

Although William Gilbert has not been immortalized by any eponym in the physical sciences as have Volta, Faraday, Ampere, or Galvani, his epitaph describes him as "physician and the founder of the science of electricity." Gilbert's father, a prosperous burgess and recorder of Colchester, made it possible for his son to study at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1561, received the MA in 1564, and the MD in 1569. Trained as a physician and engaged in the practice of medicine in London for approximately 30 years, Gilbert examined systematically, and without outside financial support, the corporeal attraction of specific objects to amber, the performance of the lodestone, and the movements of the magnetic needle, natural phenomena which proved to be integral parts of the firmament of the science of terrestrial magnetism and electricity. In addition to the ultimate worth of contributions to theoretical physics, there was

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