Jean-Antoine Nollet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jean-Antoine Nollet
Jean-Antoine Nollet.jpg
Born (1700-11-19)19 November 1700
Pimprez, France
Died 25 April 1770(1770-04-25) (aged 69)
Known for Discovery of osmosis

Jean-Antoine Nollet (19 November 1700 – 25 April 1770) was a French clergyman and physicist. As a priest, he was also known as Abbé Nollet.

Scientific work

Nollet was particularly interested in the new science of electricity, which he explored with the help of Du Fay and Réaumur. He joined the Royal Society of London in 1734 and later became the first professor of experimental physics at the University of Paris. He is reputed to have given the name to the Leyden jar after it was invented by Pieter van Musschenbroek.

The Electric Boy, Essai sur l'electricité des corps, 1746

One of many experimental demonstrations of static electricity which he carried out was the "Electric boy", in which a young man was suspended from the ceiling using insulating silk cords, and electrified, causing his body to act as a magnet. Objects were attracted to him, and close proximity of another person could lead to sparks.[1]

In 1746 Nollet gathered about two hundred monks into a circle about a mile (1.6 km) in circumference, with pieces of iron wire connecting them. He then discharged a battery of Leyden jars through the human chain and observed that each man reacted at substantially the same time to the electric shock, showing that the speed of electricity's propagation was very high.[2] In 1748 he discovered the phenomenon of osmosis in natural membranes.

In 1750 Nollet made some advances on electrospray.[3] He noted that water flowing from a vessel would aerosolize if the vessel was electrified and placed near electrical ground. He also noted that similarly “a person, electrified by connection to a high-voltage generator, would not bleed normally if he were to cut himself; blood would spray from the wound.”

See also


  1. ^ Lynn, Michael R. (2006). Popular science and public opinion in eighteenth-century France. Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0719073731. Retrieved 31 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Gundersen, P. Erik (October 1998). The Handy Physics Answer Book. Visible Ink Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-1578590582. 
  3. ^ Grimm, Ronald L. (2006). "2". Fundamental Studies of the Mechanisms and Applications of Field-Induced Droplet Ionization Mass Spectrometry and Electrospray Mass Spectrometry (PDF) (Ph.D.). Caltech Library. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 


  • Biography by Eugenii Katz
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Jean-Antoine Nollet". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 

Further reading

  • Magie, W.M. (1935). "The Leyden Jar." Source book in physics. Cambridge: Harvard UP. pp. 403–406. Partial translation of "Observations sur quelques nouveaux phénomènes d'Électricité", published in Mémoires de l' Académie Royale des Sciences, 1796, p. 1.
  • Extract of the Observations Made in Italy, by the Abbe Nollet, F. R. S. on the Grotta de Cani. Translated from the French by Tho. Stack, M. D. F. R. S. (January 1, 1753). [1]

Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Jean-Antoine Nollet"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA