Who and how discovered the electricity?
The history of electricity goes back more than two thousand years, to the time the
Ancient Greeks discovered that rubbing fur on amber caused an attraction between
the two. By the 17th century, many electricity-related discoveries had been made,
such as the invention of an early electrostatic generator, the differentiation between
positive and negative currents, and the classification of materials as conductors or
insulators. In the year 1600, English physician William Gilbert conned the term
, from the Greek
, to identify the force that certain substances exert
when rubbed against each other.
While many believe Benjamin Franklin to be the father of electricity, current findings
seem to show otherwise. In 1752, Franklin is said to have performed the famous
experiment of flying a kite during a
, which led to the discovery that
and electricity were somehow related. Modern scientists know this to be
something of a tall tale, since being hit by lightning would have been fatal. It's likely
that Franklin was actually insulated, away from the path of lightning.
The kite experiment helped Franklin establish a relationship between lightning and
electricity, which led to the invention of the lightning rod. Benjamin Franklin went on
to observe other phenomena related to electricity, but many believe that he didn't
actually discover its true nature.
In 1800, Italian-born
Alessandro Volta constructed the voltaic pile, later
known as the electric
, the first device to produce a steady electric current. It
was Volta, not Franklin, who discovered that certain
produce electricity. Volta also created the first
of electricity by linking
positively-charged and negatively-charged connectors and driving an electrical
charge, or voltage, through them.
It wasn't until 1831 that electricity became viable for use in
scientist Michael Faraday created the electric
, a crude precursor of modern
power generators. This invention opened the door to the new era of electricity. A few
decades later, in 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the light bulb.
What areas are covered by the field of electrical engineering?