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Vacuum science facts and inventions

Vacuum science – did you know...? 

Physicists, scientists, engineers and researchers from the past and present have made significant contributions to the foundations and development of vacuum science and technology. From the beginnings of the electron spectroscopy to the workings of vacuum pumps, here are some interesting vacuum science facts and untold stories you may not know about.  

1643: Barometer

Torricelli was a student Galileo and developed the first mercury filled glass tube known as the ‘Barometer’. He is also known for writing ‘Torricelli’s law’ which centered on speed of a fluid flowing out of an opening.

1906: Pirani Gauge

Pirani developed the first automatically reading gauge known as the ‘Pirani gauge’. He also worked on optical vacuum measurements of high temperatures.

Wolfgang Gaede

1878 – 1945

At the beginning of the 20th century, Wolfgang Gaede discovered several innovative vacuum principles while inventing vacuum pumps that are still common today: the rotary vane pump, the diffusion pump, the gas ballast, and the molecular pump.

1920: Molecular Pump

French scientist Holweck made a significant impact on a range of activities such as x-rays, the gravimetric pendulum, electrons and the Holweck molecular vacuum pump which achieved vacuum levels of 10-6 mbar.

1926 - 1933: The Beaming Effect 

Clausing worked on a range of activities relating to vacuum physics such as the diffuse reflection of molecules from surfaces and the ‘beaming’ effect associated with molecules exiting tubes.

1944: Siegbahn Pump

Siegbahn was a Swedish physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1924 for his discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy. He was responsible for the development of the Siegbahn Pump.

1984: Edwards Dry Pump

Wycliffe worked with Edwards for 44 years and is best known for patenting the dry pump. 

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