The administration of parochial farm made Divis turn his attention first to hydro-technical works, and in the years 1742-1744 he built several water-conduits. Then his attention was drawn to the field of constructing musical instruments, which was related to monastic musical culture. This interest was crowned by the construction of a unique cabinet-like musical instrument with metal strings, called "Denisdor" (Denis d'or - Golden Divis) that imitated the sound of various musical instruments (it is unequivocally attested to the year 1753). After 1748, under the influence of the current wave of general interest, Divis developed his experiments with electricity. He used frictional electricity and Leyden jars of his own production, and he was able to work successfully with basic electrostatic phenomena. He even had an opportunity to demonstrate them before the Imperial Court in Vienna. The news on the death of Georg Wilhelm Richmann, professor in St. Petersburg, who was killed by a lightning in 1753 during his attempt at measuring the intensity of electric field in the atmosphere, caused Divis to become interested in atmospheric electricity, and to the decision to construct a "weather-machine" at Primetice.
Another field of Divis's research was the effect of electricity on living bodies and consequently also electrotherapy; Divis was intensely involved in this subject from 1754. During his research work, Divis was in close contact with the representatives of contemporary science: Joseph Franz, Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Vienna University, Jan Antonín Scrinci, Professor of Experimental Physics at Prague University, Leonhard Euler, Professor at the Medical Faculty of Prague University, Jan Krtitel Bohac, etc. He also knew about Benjamin Franklin's experiments. He generalised his findings in the theoretical paper Magia Naturalis (Natural Sorcery), published in German translation in at Tübingen (1765), and in Frankfurt-am-Main (1768). The publication significantly influenced the circle of German pietistic philosophers and evangelical theologists around Friedrich Christoph Oetinger.
Český rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha, Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Česká Republika tel: +420-2-2155 2931–7, fax: +420-2-2155 2903
© Copyright 1996-2014 Radio Prague, All Rights Reserved