Bird in vacuum (1660)
1768 rendition of English physicist and chemist Robert Boyle’s circa 1660 bird in a vacuum experiment, by English artist Joseph Wright, somewhat incorrectly entitled “An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump” (incorrect on the fact that the bird as depicted is in a vacuum bulb, and not in the air pump); a noted thermodynamics anecdote: the odd experiment done so to test and hence disprove English scientist Thomas Hobbes' "wind theory of cold". [2]
In science, an experiment is a process or trail designed to test a scientific theory. [1]

In thermodynamics, and the connected fields of chemistry and physics, a number of decisive and epoch changing experiments have been famously conducted: these include: English physical chemist Robert Boyle's circa 1660 bird in vacuum experiment (see main: animal in vacuum experiment); Benjamin Thompson’s 1798 cannon boring experiment; Humphry Davy’s 1799 ice-rubbing experiment; Thomas Young’s 1804 double-slit experiment; James Joule’s 1843 paddle wheel experiment and 1847 Niagara Falls experiment; Alfred Mayer’s 1878 floating magnets experiment; the 1952 Miller-Urey experiment, conducted by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey; Claus Wedekind’s 1995 sweaty T-shirt experiment; among others.

Thought experiments
Another type of experiment is called the “thought experiment”, examples of which James Maxwell’s 1867 heat demon thought experiment, Albert Einstein’s 1895 musing idea of what would happen if one were to run alongside a beam of light, among others.

The following are related quotes:

“It follows from this that all science is empty, deceptive, and pointless unless it is supported by experiment. What inconsistencies otherwise successful and perceptive scholars bring forth without its help! It is experimentation that dissolves all doubts, reconciles difficulties, is a unique teacher of the truth, furnishes a torch in darkness and instructs us how to determine the true causes of things by disentangling knotty problems.”
Athanasius Kircher (1631), Ars Magnetica (pg. 570); cited by Otto Guericke (1672) in New Magdeburg Experiments (pg. xvii)

“A thousand Demosthenes, a thousand Aristotles can be laid prostrate by a single man of mediocre talent who has seized upon a better way [experimental method] to find the truth. Such a hope, therefore, must be removed: for indeed, men, more learned and superior to us in book-learning, will be found who, to the same of nature itself, can make that which is, in fact, false, true.”
Galileo (1632), Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems; cited by Guericke in "Preface" to Magdeburg Experiments

“Theories which are demonstrated by experiment and visual perception must be preferred to those derived from reasoning, however probable and plausible, for many things seem true in speculation and discussion, which in actual fact defy reality.”
Otto Guericke (1672), “Preface” to New So-Called Magdeburg Experiments on the Vacuum of Space

See also

Ball and clay experiment
Ball and ring experiment
Beer keg vacuum experiment
Cannon boring experiment
Double-slit experiment
Floating magnets experiment
Ice rubbing experiment
Magdeburg hemispheres
Niagara Falls
Paddle wheel experiment
Lazy ant experiment
Libet experiment
Love thought experiment
Miller-Urey experiment

1. Daintith, John. (2005). Oxford Dictionary of Science. Oxford University Press.
2. (a) Shachtman, Tom. (1999). Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold (pg. 31-34). Mariner Books.
(b) Shapin, Steven and Schaffer, Simon. (1985). Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton University Press.
(c) An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump – Wikipedia.
(d) Leviathan and the Air-Pump – Wikipedia.

External links
Experiment – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns