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William Gilbert And Magnetism Reading Answers

Updated on 05 January, 2024

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Reading answers for IELTS Banner

One of the most crucial parts of the IELTS exam is the reading section. If you want to ace the test and attain the necessary band scores in the exam, you need to ensure that you undertake as many sample tests as possible. To help you in that regard, here’s a reading sample under the topic of ‘Development of Magnetism in the 16th Century’ with answers and explanations. 

Development of Magnetism in the 16th Century

The 16th and the 17th centuries witnessed major developments in the field of science. Individuals were curious to know the how and why of every law of nature. This advancement led to the Age of Enlightenment, the great 'age of reason' in the early 18th century.

This age produced many scholars, scientists, authors, reformers, and other notable personalities in different fields. Among them, Galileo Galilei and William Gilbert were two prominent scientists who made significant contributions to modern science.

While everybody knows Galileo as the father of modern science, Gilbert is considered the father of the science of magnetism and electricity. Since Gilbert was born before Galileo, it is safe to consider him the first modern scientist.

On May 24, 1544, Gilbert was born to Hierome Gilbert and Jerome Gilberd, a distinguishable household in the Colchester County, UK. In his early years, he studied at a renowned grammar school and later went to study medicine at the St John's College, Cambridge. He earned his MD and graduated in 1573. While practicing medicine, he traveled extensively across the mainland and settled in London.

Gilbert was triumphant in the field of medicine and was a notable doctor, and this brought him recognition. He was elected the president of Royal Science Society. The Queen, also known as Elizabeth I appointed him as her personal physician until she passed away. The Queen knighted him for his actions and contributions. After the Queen's death, King James renewed his appointment, but Gilbert could not serve him for long as he passed away soon after her majesty's demise.

Initially, Gilbert was inclined towards chemistry, but Alchemy, a precursor to modern chemistry, made him change his mind. He started reading about the ancient scientific discoveries and their knowledge of physics and became curious about this field. He was particularly attracted to the ideas and beliefs of the Greeks. They had a lot of knowledge about lodestones, a mineral that was not known much during the period but had strange properties that attracted iron.

During this time, around 1588, the English defeated the Spanish Armada, and the routes opened up to America and other countries that became British settlements for many years. As sea voyages became common, British ships relied on the wonderful magnetic compass for navigation. Although the magnetic compass was popular, nobody knew how it worked. There were different speculations by different great minds about magnetism. While Columbus thought the Pole Star attracted it, Odyssey mentioned a magnetic mountain in the pole that would remove all iron fittings and nails of the ship if the sailors moved too close to the pole. Since there was no concrete work on magnetism, Gilbert worked on different experiments to gain an understanding of the field for twenty years. Some of his notable works include Magnetic Bodies, On the Magnet, Great Magnet of the Earth, etc.

Gilbert's discovery was a significant turning point in modern physics. He coined the word 'electric' and worked on the properties of electricity and magnetism to a great extent. He discarded the early superstitions related to magnetism through his work. On voyages, sailors strictly prohibited everyone not to eat garlic near a ship's compass as the popular belief was massaging garlic on the lodestone could neutralize the magnetism property. The sailors were afraid that even the whiff of garlic could disturb the functioning of the compass. Gilbert discovered several properties of magnets, and his findings confirmed that metals could be magnetized by rubbing plastic, fur, or other similar materials. Also, ordinary iron always attracts magnets. The attraction and repelling properties of the magnetic poles depend on polarity, and he named them the "south pole" and "north pole."

Although Gilbert made some notable discoveries while studying the properties of magnets, his contribution to the distinct relationship between electricity and magnetism is incomplete. In fact, a French guy named Du Fay completed the work on electrical charges. He discovered positive and negative charges of electricity. Gilbert studied this using jet and amber, but he could only conclude that articles with the electrical charges have similar properties to magnets. These objects attract small materials toward them.

Gilbert didn't remain confined to only the fields of magnets and electric. He disputed the early astronomical beliefs. Although he identified with Copernicus's views, he didn't stress the facts of whether or not the earth resides at the universe’s centre. However, he had his own beliefs and believed that the stars are not equally distant from the earth. He also believed that the solar system has planets that orbit around the stars.

Furthermore, he compared the earth to a massive magnet on the subject of magnets. This is the reason he used to justify why compasses mostly point towards north. Gilbert also connected the earth's polarity with the polarity of magnets and built a magnetic philosophy. In his view, the earth has a magnetic soul, which is why a spherical lodestone would not be stable if lined with the earth's poles.

Gilbert adopted an innovative scientific method, and in an era dominated by logic, he relied on experiments to find answers. Greek philosophers never took this approach before. Hence, this was a new school of thought. Gilbert introduced the idea of conducting scientific experiments.

Due to his contribution to magnetism and scientific attitude, a unit of magneto motive force was named after him. Before him, there was no significant work or development of ideas about magnetism. His experimental approach and observation to deduce results laid the foundation of modern science. Leaving behind some crucial contributions to pave the path towards modern science and vast knowledge in the field of magnetism, Gilbert died on November 30, 1963.

Questions 1-7

Reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-G.

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

List of headings

I. Early years of Gilbert

ii. What was new about his scientific research method

iii. The development of chemistry

iv. Questioning traditional astronomy

V. Pioneers of the early science

Vi. Professional and social recognition

Vii. Becoming the president of the Royal Science Society

Viii. The great works of Gilbert

ix. His discovery about magnetism

X. His change of focus

1-Paragraph A

2-Paragraph B

3-Paragraph C

4-Paragraph D

5-Paragraph E

6-Paragraph F

7-Paragraph G

Questions 8-10

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage? 

In boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

8. He is less famous than he should be.

9. He was famous as a doctor before he was employed by the Queen.

10. He lost faith in the medical theories of his time.

Questions 11-13

Choose THREE letters A-F.

Write your answers in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

Which THREE of the following are parts of Gilbert's discovery?

A Metal can be transformed into another.

B Garlic can remove magnetism,

C Metals can be magnetised.

D Stars are at different distances from the earth.

E The earth wobbles on its axis.

F There arc two charges of electricity.






In the passage ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ reading IELTS sample, the answer is in paragraph A which mentions Galileo and Gilbert were two scientists.



Paragraph B of the ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ reading IELTS sample mentions that Gilbert was born before Galileo.



In the ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ reading IELTS sample, the answer is paragraph C which mentions Gilbert was a successful doctor.



You will find that the answer is mentioned in the ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ IELTS reading sample wherein Gilbert was briefly interested in Chemistry but later changed his mind.



The passage William Gilbert and Magnetism reading the IELTS sample mention that Gilbert was working on magnetism and electricity.



The first sentence of the ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ reading IELTS sample mentions that Gilbert debated the early astronomical beliefs.



The passage William Gilbert and Magnetism reading IELTS sample mention that Gilbert used to conduct experiments to find results instead of using logic and reasoning.



The first paragraph in the passage William Gilbert and Magnetism reading IELTS sample mentions that Gilbert is not as famous as he should be.



We find the supporting statement in paragraph C of ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism’ reading IELTS sample, where it is mentioned, Gilbert was a renowned doctor.


Not Given

There is no supporting statement found in the essay with regard to the statement given.



The first part of Gilbert’s discovery was that metals can be magnetized with the help of rubbing materials like plastic, fur, or something like that. The answer is found in the IELTS reading sample, ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism.’



In paragraph F of IELTS reading sample, ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism,’ you can find that stars are present at different distances from the Earth. 



Lastly, paragraph F of the IELTS reading sample, ‘William Gilbert and Magnetism, ’ mentions that the earth spins on its own axis. 

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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