Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity - Spark

The ancient Greeks knew that if you rubbed two pieces of amber, you'd produce static electricity, but apart from that, it would be another two thousand years until this weird, invisible, ephemeral, mysterious and (literally) shocking phenomenon would be systematically studied, controlled, stored, understood and made to flow continuously. But as with any nascent science, there were false starts, one question answered only leading to more questions.

In this first installment of the documentary series Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity, professor Jim Al-Khalili explores the history of the scientific exploration of electricity through the work and incredible creativity and experimental rigor of luminaries such as Pieter van Musschenbroek with his Leyden Jar; Benjamin Franklin's famous explanation of electricity as a liquid with positive and negative charge,  and yes, even the apocryphal kite story, demonstrating, like Newton had done before, that phenomena previously presumed to be heavenly in kind (thunder and lightning) were actually just instances of the same general laws that apply to mundane objects here on Earth; Henry Cavendish's experiments with the torpedo fish, which gave rise to the distinction between electric charge and voltage; Humphrey Davy's popular demonstrations at the Royal Society; the fascinating (and somewhat gruesome) dispute between the "animal" electricity of Galvani and the "no-nonsense" secular electricity of Volta; ; the isolation of chemical elements; and the prospect of resurrection and life after death...


Pure awesomeness :)
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