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DIVIŠ, Prokop (DIVIŠEK, Václav)

* 26. 3. 1698, Helvíkovice near Žamberk, Czech Republic
† 25. 12. 1765, Přímétice near Znojm, Czech Republic

Natural scientist, physicist

Being provided for by the famous Premonstratensian Monastery in Louka near Znojmo D. between 1716 and 1719 studied at a Latin Jesuit school. In 1720 he took his monastic vows at the Louka Monastery and adopted the monastic name Prokop. As a Premonstratensian he studied philosophy and theology at the church school and was in 1726 ordained a priest. He taught philosophy at the church school until 1735. He successfully sustained his doctorate dissertation in 1733 at the University of Salzburg. In the same year he became sub-prior of the Louka Monastery and in 1736 took over the administration of the parish in Přímétice near Znojmo, where he, with occasional interruptions, stayed and worked till the end of his life. There he had to deal with the organization of parish economy. In the years 1742-1744 he built several water-conduits. Then his attention was drawn to the field of constructing musical instruments. 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. D. was a progressive person that is why he in 1748 developed his experiments with electricity. He used frictional electricity and Leyden jars of his own production and created spectacular basic electrostatic phenomena. He even had an opportunity to demonstrate them before the Imperial Court in Vienna. The news on the death of G. W. Richmann in St. Petersburg, who was killed by a lightning during experimentation, triggered D.'s interest in atmospheric electricity and encouraged the construction of the so-called "weather-machine" at Přímétice. Its basis was a metal cross, horizontally laid on a 15-metre (later 41.5 metre) high pole, with the ends of the cross intercrossed with shorter metal bars lying in a right angle. The 12 bar ends were equipped by D. with metal boxes filled with metal filings and penetrated with some 400 sharp metal spikes. The whole construction was grounded to the earth by means of using three chains. Being influenced by the ideas of his time, D. conceived the function of metal boxes as Leyden jars in which the electricity "sucked" from the atmosphere was collected. Relying on this interpretation, D. hoped that this was supposed to prevent lighting discharges and even the occurrence of storms. Although his "weather machine" was fundamentally different from the function of a lightning rod, it basically operated in the same way. The first "machine" was erected in June 1754 and broken down five years later, as it was considered to be the cause of a big drought by the local farmers. D. placed the other known construction onto the spire of the Přímétice church in 1761. D. was also interested in the effect of electricity on living bodies and consequently electrotherapy, in which he was intensely involved from 1754. During this period, D. was in close contact with the contemporary scientists, such as J. Franz, J. A. Scrinci and J.K. Boháč. Among others he corresponded with Leonard Euler and also knew about Benjamin Franklin's experiments.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva