Lecture 4 - Electricity

Lecture 4 - Electricity - 1 An Eighteenth Centu ry Science...

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January 29, 2009 An Eighteenth Century Science: Electricity 1. Physics” and Electricity (Gilbert; Boyle) a. Electricity comes from an electron. Newton listed various sources of materials that exhibited this amber attraction effect. Why are light bodies attracted towards electrified amber/materials? They didn’t know why this happened. When you electrified something by rubbing it you released the effluvia and it created an attraction. By the end of the 17 th century was still a mystery. 2. Electricity as Attraction a. Hauksbee and Newton i. Hauksbee was the demonstrator in the royal society. He brought along a 30-inch tube of glass and some leaf brass. Electrified the tube and then the bits of leaf brass would “thump” towards the tube and then be repulsed away from the tube. Attractive and entertaining field for experimentalists. Experiment caught attention of royal society’s president (Newton). ii. Newton thought ethers could be the cause of electricity and responsible for the electrical effect. These sorts of ethers would interact with ordinary matter through short- range interaction forces. Newton also talks about some sort of fluid that could be responsible for electrical effects. Taking those two things together there was a lot of new interest in electricity. 3. New Phenomena: a. Gray and “Communication” 1
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i. Added to existing electrical properties the attractive virtue of electrified bodies. Used glass tubes (standard apparatus for electrical experiments)…found that the feather was more powerfully attracted towards the cork at the end of the glass tube than he was to the glass itself. ii. Suspended a charity boy in order to attract leaf brass. Suspended from ceiling by threads of silk. Attractive virtue extends along the line of the string. Then used thin brass wires (didn’t work…escaped up the line of brass wire). b. Dufay: Unified Conceptualizations i. Vitreous and Resinous Electrities 1. Published in mid 1700s, work copying Gray’s experiments. Strings better to conduct attractive virtue if the strings were dampened a bit. He wanted to lengthen the string while still be able to show the attractiveness of the string. Came up with new ideas to try and make sense of these various electrical phenomena…illustrated
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2009 for the course STS 2821 taught by Professor Dear during the Spring '09 term at Cornell.

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Lecture 4 - Electricity - 1 An Eighteenth Centu ry Science...

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