Because air has weight, it exerts pressure. The air in a room can weigh as much as 100 kilograms, which is the weight of a large person. Air can also be compressed into small containers, such as those used by underwater divers. Teachers can construct several toys called Cartesian divers which will rise and fall exactly as a diving bell does. The toys are called "Cartesian" because the principle of moving diving machines by air pressure was first explained by Rene Descartes, a 16th century mathematician. This exercise is divided up into four parts: "A Cartesian Retriever," "The Cartesian Helicopter," "A Cartesian Counter" and "Cartesian Basketball."
Iowa Science Teachers Journal
© Copyright 1991 by the Iowa Academy of Science
Mauch, John J.
"Microscale Cartesian Diver Activities,"
Iowa Science Teachers Journal: Vol. 28
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/istj/vol28/iss3/4