The thunder house is a scientific model which gives a spectacular demonstration of the destructive effect of a lightning bolt striking a house with an imperfect lightning conductor.
Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as one billion joules of energy. This discharge may produce a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, from very hot plasma created by the rapid movement of electrons to brilliant flashes of visible light in the form of black-body radiation. Lightning is often followed by thunder, an audible sound caused by the shock wave which develops as gases in the vicinity of the discharge experience a sudden increase in pressure. It occurs commonly during thunderstorms and other types of energetic weather systems.
The small wooden house has hinged walls and carries a brass rod representing a lightning rod. A section of the conductor runs along a piece of wood placed on the façade. Inside the house is a spark gap housed in a small brass cylinder containing a small quantity of gunpowder.
Gunpowder, also known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur (S), charcoal (C), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter, KNO3). The sulfur and charcoal act as fuels while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. Because of its incendiary properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms, artillery, rockets, and fireworks, and as a blasting powder in quarrying, mining, and road building.
When the piece of wood is removed, the lightning-conductor circuit is broken. The lightning bolt, simulated by a spark generated by a Leyden jar, ignites the powder, whose explosion causes the house to collapse. If, instead, the piece of wood is positioned correctly, the electricity will be discharged to the ground, leaving the house intact. Filippo Lucci depicted a similar device in the Stanzino of the Matematiche of the Uffizi Gallery in 1780—clear evidence of the popularity of such demonstrations in the late eighteenth century. The same phenomenon is also visible through the use of a similar instrument called Thunder Obelisk
A Leyden jar is an antique electrical component which stores a high-voltage electric charge between electrical conductors on the inside and outside of a glass jar. It typically consists of a glass jar with metal foil cemented to the inside and the outside surfaces, and a metal terminal projecting vertically through the jar lid to make contact with the inner foil. It was the original form of the capacitor.
Miniati, Mara, ed. (1991). Museo di storia della scienza: catalogo (in Italian). Firenze: Giunti. p. 248, board n. 50. ISBN 88-09-20036-5.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
Willem D. Hackmann, ed. (1995). Catalogue of pneumatical, magnetical and electrical instruments (in Italian). Firenze: Giunti. p. 140, board n. 163. ISBN 88-09-20732-7.
"Museo Galileo - object description".
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.
Museo Galileo, the former Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza is located in Florence, Italy, in Piazza dei Giudici, along the River Arno and close to the Uffizi Gallery. The museum, dedicated to astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei, is housed in Palazzo Castellani, an 11th-century building which was then known as the Castello d’Altafronte. Museo Galileo owns one of the world’s major collection of scientific instruments, which bears evidence of the role that the Medici and Lorraine Grand Dukes attached to science and scientists. The Museo di Storia della Scienza re-opened to the public under the new name Museo Galileo on June 10, 2010, after a two-year closure due to redesigning and renovation works. It was inaugurated four hundred years after the publication in March 1610 of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius.
The Villa del Trebbio is a Medici villa in Tuscany, Italy.
Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo the Elder, also known as Portrait of a Youth with a Medal, is a tempera painting by Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. The painting features a young man displaying in triangled hands a medal stamped with the likeness of Cosimo de' Medici. The identity of the young man has been a long-enduring mystery. Completed in approximately 1475, it is on display in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence.
Madonna with Child is a tempera painting by Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, dating to c. 1467 and housed in the Musée du Petit Palais of Avignon, France.
The French Union of Modern Artists was a movement made up of decorative artists and architects founded in France on 15 May 1929 and active until 1959.
Alessandro Vezzosi is an Italian art critic, Leonardo scholar, artist, expert on interdisciplinary studies and creative museology, he is also the author of hundreds of exhibits, publications and conferences, in Italy and abroad on Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance, contemporary art and design. Amongst others, he was the first scholar from the Armand Hammer Centre for Leonardo Studies from the University of California in Los Angeles (1981), directed by Carlo Pedretti; he taught at the University of Progetto in Reggio Emilia; and he is honorary professor at the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence. He began as an artist from 1964 to 1971 winning more than 80 prizes in painting competitions. In the Seventies he was the founder of the “Archivio Leonardisimi” and of Strumenti-Memoria del Territorio; he coordinated "ArteCronaca", he was the historical-artistic consultant of the Municipality of Vinci and he collaborated on the publications on Tuscany and Leonardo, modern and contemporary art. In 1980 he curated the Centro di Documentazione Arti Visive of the Municipality of Florence.
The writing hand is a mechanical automaton created by Friedrich von Knauss in 1764. A clockwork mechanism moves a hand which dips a pen into an inkstand and writes the phrase "Huic Domui Deus / Nec metas rerum / Nec tempora ponat" on a small card. On the silver-coating of the mechanism are the words "Pro patria".
The jovilabe is a brass scientific instrument, undated and of unknown maker.
Galileo's objective lens is a specific objective lens held in the Museo Galileo, Florence, Italy. It was used by Galileo Galilei in the Galilean telescope with which he discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610. The lens has a diameter of 38mm and a gilt brass housing. The frame is made of ebony and ivory and has dimensions of 410mm x 300mm.
The Campani compound microscope is a microscope on exhibit at the Museo Galileo in Italy, thought to have been built by optical instrument maker Giuseppe Campani in the second half 17th century. For a time it was thought to have been built by Italian scientist Galileo Galilei but no longer bares that attribution.
The Quadrans Vetus is a medieval astronomical instrument.
The Instrument of the Primum Mobile is also called the quadrant of Petrus Apianus, because he invented it and described it in the treatise Instrumentum primi mobilis. The instrument is used to find sines and cosines. It bears the initials "F.E.D.P.F." [Frater Egnatius Dantis Predicatorum Fecit]. Ignazio Danti dedicated it to Cosimo I de' Medici, as attested by the Medici coat of arms engraved on the front. The instrument was depicted on the ceiling of the Stanzino delle Matematiche in the Uffizi Gallery.
The Tabula Affinitatum is a table of chemical affinities between substances.
The tall-stem thermometers are a kind of thermometer, resting on branched feet.
The frog thermometer or - as the Cimento academicians defined it, the botticino [small-toad] thermometer - contained small glass spheres of different density, which were immersed in alcohol. The device was used as a clinical thermometer, tied to the wrist or the arm of the patient with the head of the frog facing upward. The variations in body temperature were registered by the movement of the spheres. The rise in temperature causes an increase in the volume of the alcohol, reflected in the movement of the small spheres. Because of the spheres' sluggish motion, this thermometer was also called infingardo [slothful, slow]. The invention of this model is attributed to Ferdinand II de' Medici.
The luminous discharge tubes is part of an electric machine.
The elastic and inelastic collisions apparatus is a large apparatus to study elastic and inelastic collisions.
The mechanical paradox is an apparatus for studying physical paradoxes.
The Reale Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale was an Italian museum founded on February 22, 1775 in Florence that survived until 1878, when its collections were split up in various Florentine museums.