Guilielmi Gilberti Colcestrensis, medici londinensis, De magnete
54. Magnetism and Electricity
Gilbert, physician to Elizabeth I, gathered all known opinions relating to the magnet and put them to the test of experiment, thereby being among the first to initiate the experimental method of science. He treated the attractive powers of magnets, their orientation to the earth's poles, variation and declination, use in navigation and proposed that the earth itself was a large magnet. He scorned unproved authority and the superstitions of his time. Book II is devoted exclusively to electrical phenomena, the first ever published. He describes his electroscope, the properties of amber and other electrics and non-electrics.