William Gilbert

William_Gilbert_45626iWilliam Gilbert was an astronomer who was born on May 25 1544. He is not as well known as other scientists of his time such as galileo galilei, but he still made many contributions to science. He was also an English Physician,Physicist and a natural philosopher.

He passionately rejected both the prevailing way of teaching by Aristotle and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete and is credited as one of the originators of the term “electricity”. He is regarded by some as the father of electrical engineering and studies.

While today he is generally referred to as William Gilbert, he also went under the name of William Gilberd. The latter was used in both his and his father’s epitaphs, in the records of the town of Colchester, in the Biographical Memoir that appears in De Magnete, and in the name of The Gilberd school which is located in Colchester England.    

              Gilbert was born in Colchester to Jerome Gilberd. He was educated at St. john college in england. After gaining his MD from Cambridge in 1569,he left to practice medicine in London and travelled on the continent. In 1573, he was elected a club/squad/team member of the Royal college of physicians. In 1600 he was elected President of the College.From 1601 until her death in 1603, he was Elizabith the 1sts own physician, and James VI renewed his appointment to keep him a physician there.


The English word “electricity” was first used in 1646 by Thomas Browne,derived from Gilbert’s 1600 New latin word ”Electricus” , meaning “like Amber”. So if you sit and think about it He pretty much created the term word electric or electricity The term had been in use since the 13th century, but Gilbert was the first to use it to mean “like amber in its attractive properties”. He recognized that friction with these objects removed a so-called “effluvium”, which would cause the attraction effect in returning to the object, though he did not realize that this substance which ended up being electric charge was universal to all materials.

Fun Fact: A unit of magnetic force, also known as magnetic potential,was named the nicknamed The Gilbery in his honour.

William Gilbert passed away on November 30 1603. Rest in Pepporonis William you were a good man. Be proud.

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