Thermometer (Galileo)

The origin of the thermometer can be traced to the work of Galileo, who constructed the first "thermoscope" in 1592 by trapping air in a large glass bulb with a long narrow neck inverted over a container of water or wine. Any change in the temperature of the room causes the air in the bulb to expand or contract, forcing the liquid to travel up or down the tube. It was not until almost 20 years later, however, that a colleague of Galileo suggested adding a scale to the thermoscope to make the first thermometer.

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This sculpture recreates a 17th century experiment by Galileo, in which hand-blown glass spheres of different weights float upward or downward depending on temperature.


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