Guericke and vacuum

Wandering the streets of the city of Magdeburg Otto was poring over something he had heard: The latest astronomical considerations that the scientific (and the non-scientific) world was contemplating: Does the Earth orbit the Sun? Isn’t the Earth the centre of the universe but the Sun? Initially, this idea had been considered as absurd, not just because it contradicted Aristotle’s doctrine directly, but also as the Catholic Church had accepted the Earth being in the center as the truth. On the other hand the reformation had changed the fact that the Catholic Church was the authority which it had been one hundred years ago when Nicolas Copernicus had established his world picture, and recently Galileo had produced empirical evidence in favour of the heliocentric world model. Ever since then there had been many arguments for and against that model and by now Guericke was convinced that this model described the world much more precisely than the Aristotelian one even though the movement of the Earth was not noticeable and the also question of how the moving Earth could possibly pull the moon with her remained.

Otto and the emptiness

05/05/2021 149 KB (PDF)

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Biographies und historical backgrounds

Filename Date Size / type
Historical background: Otto von Guericke 05/05/2021 1 MB (PDF)
Biography: Otto von Guericke 05/05/2021 626 KB (PDF)

Storytelling Resources

Educational Resources

Filename Category Date Size / type
Suggestions to Teachers 05/05/2021 192 KB (PDF)
Student’s Learning Activities 05/05/2021 240 KB (PDF)

Historical Resources

A Primary Sources, English and Latin

Schott, Kaspar: Technica Curiosa, Sive Mirabilia Artis: Libris XII. [...], Nürnberg 1664, online available:
Guericke, Otto von: Ottonis de Guericke Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de vacuo spatio 1672, online available:
Guericke, Otto von: The New (So-Called) Magdeburg Experiments of Otto Von Guericke, Dordrecht 1994, online available:

B Secondary Sources, English

Genz, Henning: Nothingness, the Science of Empty Space., Reading, MA 2009, online available:

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Story and all resources 2 MB (ZIP)