Electricity - The Past & The Future
Even though electricity is so important to us, it still remains somewhat of an enigma. Most of us give little thought to its very presence, let alone contemplate its history or future. Today we are going to rectify that situation by not only giving you the history of this vital force of nature but also by giving you an overview of how electricity is going to change our lives in the very near future.†
The History Of Electricity
It is now commonly believed that electrical forces were harnessed by mankind, albeit on a very limited scale, as early as the first century A.D. This belief has been fostered since 1938, when William Konig discovered earthenware objects that were believed to have been used as the first batteries. These artifacts were made of terracotta and contained both a copper cylinder and an iron cylinder inside. It is believed that the ancient people in this area filled these pots with either lemon juice or vinegar, used as a weak electrolyte. This would strip electrons from one metal post and depositing it on the other metal post, thus creating an electric current. Because of this potential for electric current, these artifacts have since been dubbed Baghdad batteries.
Even though the ancients may have had a basic understanding of electrical properties, it wouldn't be until the seventeenth century until scientists really began to investigate the seemingly magical properties of electricity. This is when an English scientists named William Gilbert really began looking into the properties of electricity with a series of experiments that produced static electricity by applying friction to a piece of amber. William Gilbert would go on to coin the word "electricus", a Latin word that means "like amber", and would later evolve into the word electricity.
Research into the properties and applications of electricity would continue at a snail's pace until the nineteenth century when some of the greatest minds in the world began to refine the principles and generation of electricity. Some of the people who helped revolutionize this field included Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Lord Kelvin. These great minds transformed electricity from a mere intellectual curiosity into the defined scientific principle that it is today, thereby transforming the entire world.†
The Future Of Electricity
Having established the long and illustrious history of electricity, let's turn our attention to the future. What new advances can we expect to see in this field? Quite a few, actually. Let's look at what electricity is likely to be transformed into.
Wouldn't it be nice to power you laptop without having to worry about charging its batteries or running a television somewhere that isn't close to an outlet? Well, that might just be the future of electricity. Researchers at MIT's Department Of Physics has made significant strides in making this a reality by developing something they call "WiTricity." It works by transferring electricity right over the air like Wi-fi. They have already demonstrated their ability to do this by lighting a light bulb that draws its power over the air rather than through an electrical cord.†
All Things Electric!!
It is predicted that in the future electricity will take on an even more prominent role in our lives. It will be used to power anything and everything. This includes combs, brushes, shoes and even articles of clothing. These innovative ideas may further increase our dependance on electricity, but it will also open up new possibilities for us. If you don't believe that electricity will play an increased role in our future lives, then all you have to do is look at the electric car. A few years ago these vehicles were pretty rare but they are now becoming more and more common.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Graeme is writing on behalf of Haven Power