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In physics horror vacui, or plenism, is a theory first proposed by Aristotle that nature abhors a vacuum, and therefore empty space would always be trying to suck in gas or liquids to avoid being empty. The theory was widely accepted for a long time and supported by Galileo Galilei. His pupil Evangelista Torricelli stated in 1644 that the level of mercury in a closed tube was dependent on the pressure of surrounding air. In 1647 Blaise Pascal proved this notion in his famous vide dans le vide (“emptiness in emptiness”) experiment. The Magdeburg Hemispheres used by Otto von Guericke in 1650 were seen by some as proof that Aristotle's theory was not correct (see more on this topic in history of thermodynamics). For a scholarly discussion Leviathan and the Air-Pump, by Shapin and Schaffer 1985, is particularly instructive in the 17th century debate between Hobbes, supporting the plenum, and Boyle's experimental demonstration of the vacuum.

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