Almost two thousand years ago, Hero (actually Heron) of Alexandria invented the first steam turbine, called the aeolipile - a hollow sphere supported on two brackets on the lid of a basin of boiling water. One bracket was hollow and conducted steam. The steam escaped from two bent pipes on the top, therefore creating a force that made it spin around. The movement of the ball was used to make puppets dance. Hero’s aeolipile illustrated the scientific principle of Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth Last updated: July 24, 2007