# Who invented the mercurial barometer?

Feb 3, 2016

Given the amount of times students have spilled mercury over the laboratory, it was probably Lucifer himself.

#### Explanation:

To be serious, the mercury barometer was invented in the 17th century by Evangelista Torricelli; we still call a $m m$ $H g$ $1$ $\text{Torr}$ in his honour. Of course, we could use other liquids than mercury to measure pressure. The advantage of mercury is that the stuff is so dense that $1$ $\text{atm}$ pressure will support a column of mercury only $\text{760}$ $m m$ tall, whereas if we used a water column it would be approx. $10$ $m$ in height.