Curiosities

How electricity was discovered

Electricity is a regular part of our lives today. Our dependence on it is present in many places, from the use of computer devices to something as simple as turning on the light at home, or getting around in an electric car.

However, do you know how this clean energy was discovered and who made it? If you want to know how electricity was discovered , keep reading Green Ecology and we will tell you in a simple way, which is also great to be able to understand it well and use this article as a guide to explain it to the little ones.

What is electricity

When we speak of electricity we are referring to a very large number of physical phenomena. However, in all of them, there is an element that is constant: the flow of electrons . Electrons are one of the particles that make up atoms, specifically, the outer shell. In an atom, of whatever type, we are going to find two well differentiated parts. On one side is the nucleus, made up of protons and neutrons . On the other, there is what is known as a cloud of electrons, which are the superficial layers in which the electrons are found, moving in orbits around the nucleus.

When we talk about electricity, what we are referring to is the flow of those electrons that are naturally present around the nucleus of atoms and that, under certain circumstances, can move in the form of a flow, jumping from nucleus to nucleus to create what we call electricity. In fact, electricity can take many forms . Some of the best known are lightning , static electricity, electromagnetism or the flows of electric currents, which are used to operate the devices that human beings manufacture to improve our lives and our daily routine.

The first thing to keep in mind is that electricity , as a natural phenomenon , is not a human invention, but a discovery. What man has invented is various methods to take advantage of it. Thus, when speaking of electricity, one cannot speak of invention, since it is a natural phenomenon that has always been there, present in nature.

Thales of Miletus

The first examples of the use of electricity can be found in Antiquity. In fact, the Greek philosopher and thinker Thales of Miletus is credited with the first mention of static electricity as a phenomenon present in nature. However, it is merely a half-baked discovery, since it was not beyond curiosity, since it was not possible to understand correctly what electricity was, much less why it existed and how it worked.

William Gilbert

Later, in the year 1600 the English doctor William Gilbert was responsible for coining the term “electricity”, since he had observed the existence of a force that manifested itself in the form of static electricity after two specific objects rubbed against each other. . However, they still did not understand correctly what electricity was.

Benjamin Franklin

We would have to wait until the year 1752 for Benjamin Franklin to carry out his famous experiment with the kite , which is considered the turning point that would be taken in history as the moment when electricity was discovered. Franklin was a man ahead of his time. Considered one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, he also dedicated himself to scientific research, where he stood out for the discovery of electricity.

Franklin had observed the existence of electricity just like other people before him. However, Franklin’s studies went further, especially thanks to his famous kite experiment. This experiment consisted of taking advantage of a stormy night to fly a kite to which a metal key had previously been attached (which, as we now know, is an electrically conductive material). The result was that the kite attracted lightning, giving Franklin a good electric shock, although without this being a major setback (it could not have been the case, so do not think about flying kites on a stormy night ). That experience helped Franklin to continue progressing in the knowledge of electricity,

Thus, Benjamin Franklin was credited with the discovery of electricity . Later, other scientists such as Newton or Volta would complete Franklin’s work, allowing us to improve our knowledge of electricity, and opening the way to the understanding that we have today of this natural phenomenon.

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