GILBERT, Wn.LIAisr, a distinguished natural philosopher and physician, was b. in 1540 at Colchester, of which town his father was recorder. He was a member and sub sequently fellow of St. John's college, Cambridge; was B.A. in 1560, M.A. in 1564, and M.D. in 1569. About the year 1573, be settled in London, joined the college of phys icians, and practiced with so much reputation, that he was appointed physician to queen Elizabeth. The time that he could spare from the duties of his profession was employed in philosophical experiments, particularly in relation to the magnet; and in these lie was assisted by a pension from the queen. After holding various offices in the college of physicians, he was finally elected its president in 1600. At the death of the queen, he was continued in his office of court physician by James I., but he survived his royal mistress only a few months, and died a bachelor in Nov., 1603. His death seems to have taken place in London; but he was buried at Colchester, in the church of the Holy Trinity, where there is a handsome monument to his memory. He left his library, globes, instruments, and eabinet of minerals to the college of physicians. From his birthplace, he is generally designated as Gilbert of Colchester. His works are (1) Ds .3fagnete, Jfagnetieisque Corporibus, et de Hague Magnets, Tellure, Physzologia Nova, fol., Load. 1600 (reprinted at Stettin in 1633), of which there are several editions; (2) Do
.3lundo nostro Sublunari Philosophia Nava, 4to, Amsterdam, 1651 (published from a MS. in the library of sir William Boswell). The first of these works has served as the basis of most subsequent investigations on terrestrial magnetism; and (to use the words of prof. Whewell in his History of theinoluctive Sciences) it "contains all the fundamental facts of the science, so fully examined, indeed, that even at this day we have little to add to them." He establishes the magnetic nature of the earth, which he regards (as the title of his work indicates) as one great magnet; and he conjectured that terrestrial magnetism and electricity were two allied emanations of a single force; a view which was only demonstrated with scientific strictness more than two centuries afterwards, by Oersted and Faraday. Gilbert was the first to use the terms " electric force" and " elec tric attraction," and to point out that amber is not the only substance which, when rubbed, attracts light objects, but that the same faculty belongs to the resins, sealing wax, sulphur, glass, etc.; and he describes how to measure the excited electricity by means of an iron needle moving freely on a point.' Galileo pronounced him " great to a degree that might be envied;" and the publication of his treatise De Magnete will always be regarded as constituting an epoch in the history of magnetism and the allied sciences.