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Electricity is a force caused by electric charge. It is a form of energy which we use to

power machines and electrical devices. When the charges are not moving, electricity is called static
electricity. When the charges are moving they are an electric current, sometimes called 'dynamic
electricity'. Lightning is the most obvious kind of electricity in nature but sometimes static electricity
causes things to stick together. You may have experienced static electricity when you have touched
your TV screen. Always treat electricity with respect. Electricity is not a good match with water.

Static electricity occurs when the number of electrons of atoms in a material are either more than
usual or less than usual. If the electrons stay where they are, the atom that has too many or too few
electrons will attract or sometimes repel other atoms. If the electrons move from where there are too
many to where there are too few, a flow of electrons will occur, an electrical current.

Scientists have observed that electricity can flow like water from one place to another, either as a
spark or as a current in a metal. They now know that all matter has an electric charge, but this is
mostly cancelled out by the presence of matter with an opposite charge. We only see an effect when
there is too much or too little electric charge in one place so that it is not cancelled out.

Since the nineteenth century, electricity has been used in every part of our lives. Until then, it was
just a curiosity or a force of nature seen in a thunderstorm.

Scientists have found we can make electricity if we pass a magnet close to a metal wire, or if we put
the right chemicals in a jar with two different kinds of metal rods. We can also make static
electricity by rubbing two things, for instance a wool cap and a plastic ruler, together. This may make
a spark. People make most our electric energy in generators. The biggest generators are in power
stations. Some of our electricity comes from photovoltaic cells or from batteries.

Electricity arrives at our homes through wires from the places where it is made. It is used by electric
lamps for producing light, electric heaters to produce heat, etc. It is also used by many devices such
as washing machines, electric cookers, etc. for doing work. In factories, electricity is used for running
machines and computers.

The people who deal with electricity and electrical devices in our homes and factories are called


1 Electricity in physics

2 Electric current

o 2.1 Some terms related to electricity

3 Generating electricity

Electricity in physics[change | change source]

Electricity works because electric charges push and pull on each other. There are two types of
electric charges: positive charges and negative charges. Similar charges repel each other. This
means that if you put two positive charges close together and let them go, they would move apart.
Two negative charges also repel. But different charges attract each other. This means that if you put
a positive charge and a negative charge close together, they would smack together. A short way to
remember this is the phraseopposites attract, likes repel.

Electric charges push or pull on each other if they are not touching. This is possible because each
charge makes an electric fieldaround itself. An electric field is an area that surrounds a charge. At
each point near a charge, the electric field points in a certain direction. If a positive charge is put at
that point, it will be pushed in that direction. If a negative charge is put at that point, it will be pushed
in the exact opposite direction.

All the matter in the world is made of tiny positive and negative charges. The positive charges are
called protons, and the negative charges are called electrons. Protons are much bigger and heavier
than electrons, but they both ave the same amount of electric charge, except that protons are
positive and electrons are negative. Because "opposites attract," protons and electrons stick
together. A few protons and electrons can form bigger particles called atoms and molecules. Atoms
and molecules are still very tiny. It is impossible to see them without a very powerful microscope. Any
big object, like your body, has more atoms and molecules in it than anyone could count.

Because negative electrons and positive protons stick together to make big objects, all big objects
that we can see and feel are electrically neutral. Electrically is a word meaning "describing
electricity", and neutral is a word meaning "balanced." That is why we do not feel objects pushing
and pulling on us from a distance, like they would if everything was electrically charged. All big
objects are electrically neutral because there is exactly the same amount of positive and negative
charge in the world. We could say that the world is exactly balanced, or neutral. This seems very
surprising and lucky. Scientists still do not know why this is so, even though they have been studying
electricity for a long time.

Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric
charge. Electricity gives a wide variety of well-known effects, such as lightning, static
electricity, electromagnetic induction and electrical current. In addition, electricity permits the
creation and reception of electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves.

In electricity, charges produce electromagnetic fields which act on other charges. Electricity occurs
due to several types of physics:

electric charge: a property of some subatomic particles, which determines

their electromagnetic interactions. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces,
electromagnetic fields.

electric field (see electrostatics): an especially simple type of electromagnetic field

produced by an electric charge even when it is not moving (i.e., there is no electric current). The
electric field produces a force on other charges in its vicinity.

electric potential: the capacity of an electric field to do work on an electric charge, typically
measured in volts.

electric current: a movement or flow of electrically charged particles, typically measured

in amperes.

electromagnets: Moving charges produce a magnetic field. Electrical currents generate

magnetic fields, and changing magnetic fields generate electrical currents.

2. Uses ng Electricity
In electrical engineering, electricity is used for:

electric power where electric current is used to energise equipment;

electronics which deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such
as vacuum tubes, transistors,diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive
interconnection technologies.

Pwedeng uses o application


The light bulb, an early application of electricity, operates by Joule heating: the passage
of current throughresistance generating heat

Electricity is a very convenient way to transfer energy, and it has been adapted to a huge, and
growing, number of uses.[56] The invention of a practical incandescent light bulb in the 1870s led
to lighting becoming one of the first publicly available applications of electrical power. Although
electrification brought with it its own dangers, replacing the naked flames of gas lighting greatly
reduced fire hazards within homes and factories. [57] Public utilities were set up in many cities
targeting the burgeoning market for electrical lighting.

The Joule heating effect employed in the light bulb also sees more direct use in electric heating.
While this is versatile and controllable, it can be seen as wasteful, since most electrical generation
has already required the production of heat at a power station.[58] A number of countries, such as
Denmark, have issued legislation restricting or banning the use of electric heating in new buildings.
Electricity is however a highly practical energy source for refrigeration,[60] with air
conditioning representing a growing sector for electricity demand, the effects of which electricity
utilities are increasingly obliged to accommodate.[61]

Electricity is used within telecommunications, and indeed the electrical telegraph, demonstrated
commercially in 1837 by Cooke and Wheatstone, was one of its earliest applications. With the
construction of first intercontinental, and then transatlantic, telegraph systems in the 1860s,
electricity had enabled communications in minutes across the globe. Optical fibre and satellite
communication have taken a share of the market for communications systems, but electricity can be
expected to remain an essential part of the process.

The effects of electromagnetism are most visibly employed in the electric motor, which provides a
clean and efficient means of motive power. A stationary motor such as a winch is easily provided with
a supply of power, but a motor that moves with its application, such as an electric vehicle, is obliged
to either carry along a power source such as a battery, or to collect current from a sliding contact
such as a pantograph.

Electronic devices make use of the transistor, perhaps one of the most important inventions of the
twentieth century,[62] and a fundamental building block of all modern circuitry. A modern integrated
circuit may contain several billion miniaturised transistors in a region only a few centimetres square.

Electricity is also used to fuel public transportation, including electric buses and trains.

3. Known scientists

Alessandro Guiseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta

Alessandro Guiseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (b. Como, Italy, 18th Feb.1745, d. Como, Italy, 5th March
1827) was a pioneer in the field of electricity. The SI unit of electric potential was named after him as the
Volt. The portrait (above) was featured on the Italian 10,000 Lire banknote. He came from a Lombard
family ennobled by the municipality of Como and almost extinguished, in his time, through its service to
the church. One of his paternal uncles was a Dominican, another a Canon and the third an Archdeacon.
His father, Filipo (1862-1752), after eleven years as a Jesuit, withdrew to propagate the line. Filipo
married Maddelena de' conti Inzaghi in 1773. They had seven children; three girls, two of whom became
nuns; three boys who followed the careers of their uncles; and Alessandro, the youngest.
Alessandro was about seven when his father died. His uncle the Canon took charge of his education.
Alessandro joined the local Jesuit College in 1757. His quickness soon attracted the attention of his
teachers. In 1761 the philosophy professor, Girolamo Bonensi, tried to recruit him. This made his uncle
want to take him from school. Volta continued his education at Seminario Benzi. His uncle wanted him to
be an attorney. But, Volta chose the study of electricity.
Alessandro was a large, vigorous man. He actively practised the Catholic faith. He, in the words of his
friend Lichtenberg, "understood a lot about the electricity of women." For many years he enjoyed the
favours of a singer, Marianna Paris, whom he might have married but for his theological and family
Volta developed the concept of 'state of saturation of bodies' to explain attractions and repulsions of
electrified bodies. The electrophore he invented was severely criticized by Beccaria, one of the chief
authorities in electricity. In 1774, he became the principal of the state Gymnasium in Como. In 1775, he
was granted the professorship of experimental physics. Cavendish's memoir of 1771 made Volta
transform his notion of 'natural saturation' into the concept of potential. His last memoir was on galvanic
and common electricity. Seeing Volta's demonstrations, Napoleon raised him to Count and Senator of the
kingdom of Italy. During the last 20 years of his life he had the income of a wealthy man.

Andr-Marie Ampre

Andr-Marie Ampre (b. Lyons, France, 22nd Jan. 1775, d. Marseilles, France, 10th June 1836) was a
mathematician, a chemist, a physicist and a philosopher. The SI unit of electric current was named after
him as the Ampere. His father, Jean-Jacques, was a merchant. Jean-Jacques exposed his son to a library
and let him educate himself according to his own tastes. Andr-Marie soon discovered and perfected his
mathematical talents. He even learned Latin in order to read the works by Euler and Bernoulli. The great
encyclopdie had the most important influence on him. He was also thoroughly instructed in Catholic
faith. During the French Revolution, his father was guillotined. Andr-Marie was unable to bear this shock.
For a year, he retreated, not talking to anyone. During this time, he met Julie Carron who was somewhat
older than he was. Ampre pursued Julie until she consented to marry him. They were wed on the 7th of
August 1799 and their son, Jean-Jacques, was born.the following year. Ampre became the professor of
physics and chemistry at the cole-Centrale of Bourgen-Bresse, where he worked on probability theory.
Julie died on the 13th of July 1803 of an illness. Ampre became inconsolable again. He married Jeanne
Potot in 1806. After the birth of their daughter, Albine, they got a divorce.
Between 1820 and 1825, after a series of experiments, Ampre provided factual evidence for his
contention that magnetism was electricity in motion, summarized in his famous 9 points. They describe
the law of action of current carrying wires, and model magnets as having circulating currents in them.
Ampre was able to unify the fields of electricity and magnetism on a basic numeric level. Fresnel helped
Ampre improve his theory by suggesting that there may be currents of electricity around each molecule.
Ampre assumed that the 'electrodynamic molecule' was a molecule of iron that decomposed the aether,
that pervaded both space and matter into the two 'electric fluids.' Ampere's theory of the electrodynamic
molecule was not accepted by everyone. His primary opponent was Michael Faraday, who could not
follow the mathematics and did not accept his theory. Ampre's son fell in love with Mrs. Jeanne
Recamier, an entertainer and a great beauty of the empire. His daughter Albine, married an army officer
who turned out to be a drunkard. Following this, after 1827, Ampre's scientific activity declined and he
died alone, while on a tour in Marseilles.

James Prescott Joule

James Prescott Joule (b. Salford, England, 24th Dec. 1818, d. Salford, England, 11th October 1889) was
the second son of a prosperous brewer. The SI Unit of energy or work was named after him as the Joule.
James was not a strong child. He had a spinal injury which left a slight deformity. Because of this, his
education was limited. To a large extent he was self taught. He even read relatively little and had no
pretence of being a great scientist. When he was 16, he and his brother, Benjamin, studied under Dalton
for about two years. His chief contact with the world was with the members of the Manchester Literary
and Philosophical Society. He began his quantitative electrical work when he was 19, using a standard
resistance of copper wire.
He was a simple, earnest and modest man. He was the first to give an expression for the heat generated
in a resistor by current flow, in 1840, and to observe magnetostriction. He spent a major part of his life
working on the mechanical equivalence of heat. In 1845, he investigated the relationship between the
temperature and the internal energy of gas. In April 1847, he gave a popular lecture in Manchester in
which he stated the concept of the conservation of energy. But, it went unnoticed. At a meeting at Oxford
in June 1847, he was advised by the chairman to restrict himself to a brief oral report on his experiments,
rather than a paper, and not to invite discussion. Fortunately, his idea was grasped by William Thomson,
Faraday and Stokes. Recognition to Joule came from Faraday who introduced Joule's 1849 paper to the
Society. This paper won for him the 1852 Royal Medal. His last remarkable contribution was work in 1860
which resulted in a significant improvement of steam-engine efficiency. In the same year, he made one of
the first accurate galvanometers and calibrated it by use of a voltmeter. He received many awards and
medals including the 1870 Copley Medal and a pension from the queen in 1878.
His mother died in 1836. His father retired in 1883 due to illness. James and Benjamin took over the
family brewing. James married in 1847 and had a daughter and a son. After the death of his wife in 1854,
the brewery was sold. Joule's health became worse as time passed. He suffered from frequent nose-
bleeding, presumably haemophilia. But, he kept on working as much as he could until his death.

Georg Simon Ohm

Georg Simon Ohm (b. Erlangen, Germany, 16th March 1789, d. Munich, Germany, 6th July 1854) was a
mathematician and a physicist. The SI unit of electrical resistance was named after him as the Ohm. His
father, Johan Wolfgang Ohm, was a master locksmith. Johan Wolfgang married Maria Elizabeth Beck,
daughter of a master tailor. They were a protestant couple. Of their seven children only three survived
childhood: Georg Simon the eldest, Martin the mathematician, and Elizabeth Barbara. Johan Wolfgang
gave his sons a solid education in mathematics, physics, chemistry and the philosophies of Kant and
Fichte. Their mathematical talents were soon recognised by the Erlangen professor Karl Christian Von
Langsdorf. Georg Simon matriculated on the 3rd of May 1805 at the University of Erlangen. He studied 3
semesters there until his father's displeasure at his supposed overindulgence in dancing, billiards, and ice
skating forced him to withdraw to rural Switzerland.
He began to teach mathematics in September 1806 in Gottstadt. He received his PhD on the 25th of
October 1811. Lack of money forced him to seek employment from the German government. But, the best
he could obtain was a post as a teacher of mathematics and physics at a poorly attended 'Realschule' in
Bamberg. He worked there with great dissatisfaction. In 1817, Ohm was offered the position of
'Oberlehrer' of mathematics and physics at the Jesuit Gymnasium at Cologne. He began his experiments
on electricity and magnetism after 1820. His first scientific paper was published in 1825 in which he
sought a relationship between the decrease in the force exerted by current-carrying wires and the length
of the wires. In April 1826, he published two important papers on galvanicm electricity. He published his
book on Ohm's law, Die Galvanische Kette Mathematische Bearbeit, in 1827. Sir John Leslie had already
provided both theoretical discussion and experimental confirmation of Ohm's law in a paper written in
1791 and published in 1824, which was not accepted. Ohm's law was so coldly received that Ohm
resigned his post at Cologne. Ohm obtained the professorship of physics at the Polytechninische
Schedule in Nuremberg in 1833. Finally, his work began to be recognised. In 1841, he was awarded the
Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London and was made a foreign member a year later.
Charles William Siemens

Charles William Siemens (ne: Carl Wilhelm Siemens, b. Lenthe, Germany, 4th April 1823, d. London,
England, 9th November 1883) was a pioneer in the practical application of scientific discoveries to
industrial processes. The SI unit of electrical conductance was named after him as the Siemens (S).
Christian Ferdinand Siemens, a wealthy farmer, and his wife, Eleonore Deichmann had eleven sons and
three daughters, of whom Charles William was the seventh child. In July 1839, Eleonore died. Unable to
bear this loss, Ferdinand died six months later. A few years later, the children were dispersed among
relations and friends.
Siemens went to England in 1843. Being a shrewd businessman, he sold the patent of the electroplating
invention of his elder brother, Werner. William was naturalised as a British subject on the 19th of March
1859. On the 23rd of July he same year, he married Anne Gordon. Siemens Brothers, founded in 1865 by
William and Werner, soon became a world famous manufacturer of telegraphic equipment, cables,
dynamos and lighting equipment. William was a member of the Society of Telegraph Engineers; the
British Association, the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and a
fellow of the Royal Society. He developed a highly successful meter for measuring water consumption.
His important invention of the regenerative gas furnace and its application to open-hearth steel making
and other industrial processes made him independently wealthy before 1870. In 1874, he designed the
cable ship 'Faraday' and assisted in the laying of the first of several transatlantic cables. During the last
15 years of his life he actively supported the development of the engineering profession and stimulated
public interest in the reduction of air pollution and the potential value of electric power in a wide variety of
engineering applications.
Suffering an acute pain in the region of the heart for a few weeks, he was attacked by a difficulty of
breathing. As he was sitting in his arm chair, peacefully and quietly, as if he were falling asleep, his spirit
passed away. The burial took place on the 26th of November, followed by a very grand funeral service. As
he had requested, the inscription on his coffin contained simply his name. The Institute of Civil Engineers
erected a stained glass window in Westminster Abbey as a tribute of respect in his memory.

Charles-Augustin Coulomb

Charles-Augustin Coulomb (b. Angouleme, France, 14th June 1736, d. Paris, France, 23rd August, 1806)
was a pioneer in the field of electricity, magnetism and applied mechanics. The SI unit of quantity of
electric charge was named after him as the Coulomb. In his electrical studies Coulomb determined the
quantitative force law, gave the notion of electric mass, and studied charge leakage and the surface
distribution of charge on conducting bodies. In magnetism he determined the quantitative force law,
created a theory of magnetism based on molecular polarisation, and introduced the idea of
His father, Henrey, came from Montpellier, where the family was important in the legal and administrative
history of Languedoc. His mother, Catherine Bajet, was related to the wealthy de Senac family. During
Charles-Augustin's youth the family moved to Paris. Charles-Augustin attended lectures at the College
Mazarin and the College de France. An argument with his mother over career plans caused Coulomb to
follow his father to Montpellier who became penniless later through financial speculations.
Coulomb graduated in November 1761 with the rank of lieutenant en premier in the Corps du Gnie. He
worked at Brest and then at Martinique. While he was in Martinique he became seriously ill several times.
The research he did in Richefort won him the double first prize at the academy in Paris in 1781. He
became a resident in Paris. He found a wife there and raised a family. He wrote 25 scientific Momoirs at
the Academy from 1781 to 1806. He also participated in 310 committee reports to the Academy. In 1787
Coulomb was sent to England to investigate hospital conditions in London. In 1801 he was elected to the
position of the president of the Institute de France. By 1791, the National Assembly reorganized the Corps
du Gnie. Coulomb had to resign from the corps. He received an annual pension which was reduced by
two-thirds after the Revolution. He returned to his research in Paris in December 1795, upon his election
as member for physique experimntale in the new Institute de France. Coulomb's last public service was
as inspector general of public instruction from 1802 until his death. Coulomb's health declined
precipitously in the early summer of 1806 and he died. Secondary accounts indicate that Revolution took
most of his properties and that he died almost in poverty.

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (b. Newington, Surrey, England, 22nd Sep. 1791, d. Hampton Court, Middlesex,
England, 25th August 1867) was a physicist, a chemist, a physical chemist and a natural philosopher. The
SI unit of capacitance was named after him as the Farad (F). He was born into a poor family, of which he
was he third of four children. His father, James Faraday, was a blacksmith. James Faraday's poor health
prevented him from providing more than bare necessities to his family. Michael later recalled that he was
once given a loaf of bread to feed him for a week. His parents were members of the Sandemanian
Church, and Michael was brought up within this discipline. His most favourite book was the Bible in which
he had heavily underlined, Timothy 6:10, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Michael, at the age of
14, was apprenticed to Riebau, a bookseller and a bookbinder, in whose shop he read books on science
that came to his hands.
In 1812, one of the customers at Riebau's shop, gave Faraday a ticket to attend the last four lectures of a
course given by Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He applied to Davy for
employment, sending him as evidence of his interest the notes that he had made of his lectures. At the
age of 21, he was appointed assistance to Davy to help with both lecture experiments and research. He
accompanied Davy on a tour in Europe where he saw much of the active scientific research. In 1821, he
married Sarah Barnard, a union that was happy though childless. Faraday became the discoverer of
electromagnetic induction, of the laws of electrolysis, and of the fundamental relations between between
light and magnetism. He was the originator of the conceptions that underlie the modern theory of the
electromagnetic field. He also discovered two unknown chlorides of carbon and a new compound of
carbon. His last discovery was the rotation of the plane of polarization of light in magnetic field. When
Faraday was endeavouring to explain to the Prime Minister or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer an
important discovery, a politician's alleged comment was, "But, after all, what use is it?" Whereupon
Faraday replied, "Why sir, there is a probability that you will soon be able to tax it!" His mind deteriorated
rapidly after the mid-1850s. In 1862, he resigned his position at the Royal Institution, retiring to a house
provided for him by Queen Victoria at Hampton Court.

Joseph Henry

Joseph Henry (b. Albany, NY, USA, 17th December 1797, d. Washington, USA, 13th May 1878) was a
pioneer in the field of electromagnetism. The SI unit of inductance was named after him as the Henry (H).
He was born to a poor family of Scottish descent and raised as a Presbyterian, a faith he followed
throughout his life. His elementary education was in Albany and Galway, New York, where he stayed with
relatives. Henry was apprenticed to an Albany watchmaker and silversmith. The theater was his principal
interest as an adolescent, until a chance reading of George Gregory's Popular Lectures on Experimental
Philosophy, Astronomy, and chemistry turned him to science. In 1819 he enrolled in the Albany Academy
and remained there until 1822, with a year off to teach in a rural school in order to support himself. He did
odd surviving jobs while he was doing his scientific research. in 1825, Henry was appointed professor of
mathematics and natural philosophy at the Albany Academy. In 1832, he accepted a chair at the College
of New Jersey.
Henry's earliest known work was in chemistry. In 1827, he started active research on electricity and
magnetism. Throughout his career, Henry was interested in terrestrial magnetism and other geophysical
topics. He independently uncovered the sense of Ohm's law and engaged in impedance matching. In
1832, Henry discovered self-inductance following some experiments. He also conducted investigations on
capillarity, phosphorescence, heat, colour blindness and the relative radiation of solar spots with skill and
imagination. His 1835 paper was on the action of a spiral conductor in increasing the intensity of galvanic
currents. He conceived of astronomy as the model science and mechanics as the ultimate analytical tool.
Henry could not accept Faraday's field concept because of his belief in central forces acting in a universal
fluid. He concluded that the currents are oscillatory wave phenomena exciting equivalent effects in an
electrical plenum coincident, if not identical, with the universal aether.
Henry formed the Smithsonian Committee, consisting of dedicated men forming internationally recognized
standards and engaging in free and harmonious intellectual intercourse among themselves. Being the
secretary of the Smithsonian, he was not interested in popularizing science but with supporting research
and disseminating findings.

Nicola Tesla

Nicola Tesla (b. Smiljan, Croatia, 10th July 1856, d. New York 7th Jan. 1943) was a pioneer in the field of
high-tension electricity. The SI unit of magnetic flux density was named after him as the Tesla (T). He
made many discoveries and inventions of great value to the development of radio transmission and to the
field of electricity. These include a system of arc lighting, the Tesla induction motor and a system of
alternating-current transmission, the Tesla coil, a transformer to increase oscillating currents to high
potential, a system of wireless communication, and a system of transmitting electric power without wires.
He designed the great power system at Niagara. Tesla's advanced concepts include transmission of large
quantities of electrical power without wires and inexhaustible energy supplies from the universe. Despite
over 700 patents bearing his name he disliked being called an "inventor," much preferring the description
He emigrated to United States in 1884 with the hope of finding a backer for his polyphase alternating
current system. The magnet that drew him was the Niagara falls. As a boy in his teens he had seen a
picture of the falls, ever since then the hope of converting the power of the falls into electricity had
remained with him. It is said that when he thought of an object, he could see it physically and had no need
of pencil and paper, just as when he read, which he did rapidly, he was virtually photographic.
When Edison heard his ideas he was not interested but gave him a job. Edison promised $50,000 if Tesla
could perfect a new type of dynamo. When Tesla succeeded and asked for the money he was told that he
did not understand American sense of humour. At this point Tesla quit. He was unemployed and was
forced to dig ditches at $2 per day to earn a living. Fortunately his foreman introduced him to a Mr Brown
of Westinghouse and once more he had a laboratory. Tesla continued on his invention and in May 1890,
he was granted the first string of patents, and they grew faster. George Westinghouse offered one million
dollars to Tesla for his patents. During the Spanish -American war Tesla offered to the government his
invention of a "robot" to be operated by remote control by means of his wireless system. They laughed at
him. He died a pauper leaving behind a golden legacy in the shape of his great inventions.

Wilhelm Eduard Weber

Wilhelm Eduard Weber (b. Wittenberg, Germany, 24th October 1804, d. Gottingen, Germany, 23rd June
1891) was one of the twelve children of Michael Weber, professor of theology at the University of
Wittenberg. The family lived in the house of Christian August Langguth, a professor of medicine and
natural history. The house was burned during the bombardment of Wittenberg by the Prussians in 1813.
The following year the Webers settled in Halle. Wilhelm began his scientific work in collaboration with
Ernest Heinrich at the University of Halle.
Wilhelm published his famous paper, which contained experimental investigations of water and sound
waves, in 1825. In 1831, he became the professor of physics at Gottingen, where his friendship with
Gauss began. In 1832, Weber introduced absolute units of measurements into magnetism. Gauss and
Weber founded the Gottingen Magnetische Verenin to initiate a network of magnetic observations and to
correlate the resulting measurements. In 1833, they set up a battery-operated telegraph line some 9,000
feet long, between the physics and
astronomical observatory, in order to facilitate simultaneous magnetic observations. Weber also managed
to find time to work with his younger brother Eduard on the physiology and physics of human locomotion.
With the death of William IV in 1837, Victoria became the queen of England and her uncle, Ernst August,
acceded to the rule of Hannover and at once revoked the liberal constitution of 1833. Weber was one of
the seven Gottingen professors who signed a statement of protest. At the king's order all the seven lost
their positions. But, Weber continued his research. In 1843, Weber became the professor of physics at
Leipzig. There he formulated his law of electrical force, which was later discarded with the triumph of
Maxwell's field theory. In 1848, he was able to return to his old position. Weber retired in 1870's,
relinquishing his duties in physics to his assistant, Edward Rieche. Rieche, later began the development
of electron theory of metals from Weber's ideas. Weber received many honours from Germany, France,
and England, including the title of Geheimrat and the Royal Society's Copley Medal. The SI unit of
magnetic flux was named after him as the Weber (Wb). Weber, a friendly, modest, and unsophisticated
man, remained unmarried. He died peacefully in his garden.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (b. Hamburg, Germany, 22nd Feb. 1857, d. Bonn, Germany, 1st January 1894), a
physicist, whose research has come to be regarded as the starting point of radio - it was he who first
detected and measured electromagnetic waves in space. The SI unit of frequency was named after him
as the Hertz (Hz). His grandfather, Heinrich David Hertz, the youngest son of a wealthy Jewish family was
converted to the Lutheran faith along with his wife and children. David Heinrich Hertz's son, Gustav,
became a Minister of Justice and was the first to attend a university in the family. He married a
classmate's sister, Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn, and had five children, the eldest of whom was Heinrich
Rudolf Hertz.
He was an exceptionally gifted child and excelled in every way. After completing his secondary education,
he wanted to be a structural engineer and served as an apprentice in a civil engineering office. Reading a
lot of books, he became interested in telegraphy and enrolled in the Technical University of Dresden.
Finding the level of instruction low for him, after one semester, he embarked on his year of compulsory
military service. He then enrolled in the Technical University of Munich to do physics, but later, switched to
the University of Munich. He was still not satisfied, and after two semesters transferred to the University of
Berlin where Gustav Kirchhoff and Hermann Helmholtz taught physics. Very soon he was working as a
student assistant to Helmholtz. He graduated the following year, before which he had written two papers
on his research - determining if electrons have inertial mass and induction in rotating spheres. He
obtained his doctorate in 1880 and was appointed assistant of Helmholtz.
After three years, he went to the University of Kiel to become a lecturer in physics and soon he was
promoted and became a professor at the Technical High School in Karlsruhe, and then he went to the
University of Bonn. In 1886 he married Elizabeth Doll, and started his research on electric waves. He
wrote many papers not only in electromagnetism but also in the theory of contact mechanics and the
measurement of hardness. Suffering a severe illness which led to chronic blood poisoning he died after
indescribable suffering. He was an extremely modest man and once denying the request for publishing
his portrait he said, "... Too much honour certainly does me harm in the eyes of reasonable men..." and
four years after, following his death, his portrait was published.
Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi (b. Bologna, Italy, 25th April 1874, d. Rome, Italy, 20th July, 1937) was the second son
of Giuseppe Marconi, a wealthy landowner, and his second wife, Annie Jameson, the daughter of an Irish
Whiskey distiller. Giuseppe Marconi ruled his household in the style of a martinet. Guglielmo spent most
of childhood away from home. Consequently, his education was neglected. When he was sent to a
school, he was unable to cope with his studies and other students made fun of his poor Italian accent. He
failed to pass the entrance examination to the Italian Naval Academy and went to Livorno Technical
Institute. His ambition was to have an electrical career, but he could not even pass his matriculation. His
father became very angry, wrecked the devices Guglielmo had constructed, and even withheld his pocket
money. But, his mother did all she could to help her son do his experiments. Marconi did experiments on
electromagnetic waves with the assistance of Prof. A. Righi of Bologna and discovered that increased
transmission distance could be obtained with larger antennas. In 1895, he achieved a transmission
distance of 1.5 miles, and also conceived of 'wireless telegraph' communication.
Being unable to interest the Italian Government in the potential of his work, he moved to London in 1896.
His Irish cousin, Henry Jameson Davis, helped him to form and finance the Wireless Telegraph and
Signal Co. Ltd., which became Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. in 1900. On behalf of the Italian
Government, Solari presented to Marconi a newly invented receiver. Having increased his signaling
distance to 150 miles, using a kiteborne antenna and Solari's carbon-on-steel detector with a telephone
receiver, on the 12th of December 1901, he received a transatlantic wireless communication, the three
code dots signifying the letter 'S'. He became famous overnight. But, controversy arose when Prof.
Angelo Banti pointed out that the receiver was actually invented by a corporal signalman, Paolo Castelli.
After 1902, Marconi spent most of his time managing his companies. He was able to attract highly
qualified employees including J. A. Fleming. In 1927, Marconi's company completed a system of
shortwave beam stations. In 1932, he discovered that microwaves could be received at a point much
farther below the optical horizon than had been predicted by any theory. Marconi received many awards
including the Nobel Prize for physics, which he shared with K. F. Braun in 1909.

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (b. Konigsberg, Germany, 12th March 1824, d. Berlin, Germany, 17th October
1887) was a physicist. His father was a law councillor. Kirchhoff easily derived Kirchhoff's voltage law for
electrical network analysis between 1845-1846, while he was still a student at Konigsberg. In 1849,
following the experiments of Kohlrausch, he introduced Kirchhoff's current law for electrical network
analysis. He graduated in 1847 and married Clara Richelot, the daughter of one of his teachers, the same
year. Three years later, he was appointed professor at Breslau. In 1854, he moved to Heidelberg, where
Robert Bunsen was a professor of chemistry. In 1869, Clara died, leaving him two sons and two
daughters. In 1872, he married Luise Brommel.
In 1859, he published an explanation of the dark lines in the sun's spectrum, discovered by Josef von
Fraunhofer. In the course of investigating the optical spectra of chemical elements, Kirchhoff made his
major contribution to science which was his experimental discovery and theoretical analysis of a
fundamental law of electromagnetic radiation which states that for all material bodies, the ratio of
absorptive and emissive power of radiation is a universal function of wavelength and temperature. In
1860, Bunsen and Kirchhoff discovered that each chemical substance emits light that has its own unique
pattern of spectral lines. A Few months later, they discovered a new metal, cesium and the next year, they
found rubidium. They also constructed an improved form of the spectroscope. Kirchhoff once told his
bank manager of the discovery of terrestrial metals of the sun. The bank manager said, "Of what use is
gold on the sun if I cannot get it down to earth?" later, after Queen Victoria of England had presented
Kirchhoff with a medal and a prize in gold sovereigns for work on the sun's spectrum, he took them to the
bank manager and said, "Here is some gold from the sun!"
Kirchhoff was crippled by an accident in mid-Iife which compelled him to use crutches and wheelchair.
But, he remained in good spirit. On two occasions he turned down calls to other universities. Only when
his failing health hindered his experimental work did he accept a chair of theoretical physics offered to him
in Berlin. He worked there with great devotion, until illness forced him to give up his teaching activity in
1886. He bore with patience the long illness of his last years. He died peacefully, presumably of a
cerebral congestion.

Lon Charles Thvenin

Lon-Charles Thvenin (b.Meaux, France, 30th March 1857, d. Paris, 1926) was a French telegraph
engineer and educator. He was the one to propose the equivalent generator theorem in 1883, 43 years
before Norton's complementary theorem. The theorem is commonly called Thvenin's Theorem in his
honour, but, in fact Hermann Von Helmholtz proposed it first in an 1853 paper.
Thevenin graduated from the cole Polytechnique in 1876 and became one of the first students to enrol
in the cole Superieure de Telegraphie (EST) to be prepared for a career in the Government owned
telegraph service. In the two-year program at the EST, he was introduced to Gustav Kirchhoff's laws of
circuit analysis. His duties included administrative and educational activities. Thvenin devoted a
considerable portion of his time to teaching, for which he had a liking. In connection with his teaching, he
undertook an investigation of Kirchhoff's laws as applied to electric networks. This study resulted in his
formulation of the equivalent generator theorem.
He was a talented violin player. Another favourite pastime of his was angling. He remained single but
shared his home with a widowed cousin of his mother's and her two children whom he later adopted.
Thvenin consulted several scholars well known at that time, and controversy arose as to whether his law
was consistent with the facts or not. Shortly before his death he was visited by a friend of his, J. B.
Pomey, and was surprised to hear that his theorem had been accepted all over the world.
In 1926, he was taken to Paris for treatment. He left a formal request that no one should accompany him
to the cemetery except his family and that nothing be placed on his coffin but a rose from his garden. This
is how he was buried at Meaux. Thvenin is remembered as a model engineer and employee, hard-
working, of scrupulous morality, strict in his principles but kind at heart.

Edward Lawry Norton

Edward Lawry Norton (b. Rockland, Maine, USA, 28th July 1898, d. Chatham, New Jersey, USA, 28th
January 1983) was an American electrical engineer for whom the Norton equivalent circuit is named.
Norton served as a radio operator in the U.S Navy between 1917 and 1919. He attended the University of
Maine for one year before and for one year after his wartime service, then transferred to MIT in 1920,
receiving his BS degree in electrical engineering in 1922. He started work in 1922 at the Western Electric
Corporation in New York City, which eventually became Bell Laboratories in 1925. While working for
Western Electric, he earned an MA degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in 1925.
Among his publications are constant resistance networks with applications to filter groups in the Bell
System Technical Journal, magnetic fluxmeter in the Bell Laboratories Record and dynamic
measurements on electromagnetic devices in the Transactions of the AIEE. Norton wrote 92 technical
memoranda (TMs in Bell Laboratories parlance). Because of Norton's lack of publications, it appears that
Norton preferred working behind the scenes. As described in the history of Bell Labs, "this reticence
belied his capabilities."
Norton was something of a legendary figure in network theory work who turned out a prodigious number
of designs armed only with a slide rule and his intuition. Many anecdotes survive. On one occasion T.C.
Fry called in his network theory group, which included at that time Bode, Darlington and R.L. Dietzold
among others, and told them: "You fellows had better not sign up for any graduate courses or other
outside work this coming year because you are going to take over the network design that Ed Norton has
been doing single-handed." [A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: Transmission
Technology (1925-1975), p. 210]
He applied his deep knowledge of circuit analysis to many fields, and after World War II he worked on
Nike missile guidance systems. On November 11, 1926, he wrote the technical memorandum Design of
Finite Networks for Uniform Frequency Characteristic, that contains the following paragraph on page 9:
"The illustrative example considered above gives the solution for the ratio of the input to output current,
since this seems to be of more practical interest. An electric network usually requires the solution for the
case of a constant voltage in series with an output impedance connected to the input of the network. This
condition would require the equations of the voltage divided by the current in the load to be treated as
above. It is ordinarily easier, however, to make use of a simple theorem which can be easily proved, that
the effect of a constant voltage E in series with an impedance Z and the network is the same as a current
I=E/Z into a parallel combination of the network and the impedance Z. If, as is usually the case, Z is a
pure resistance, the solution of this case reduces to the case treated above for the ratio of the two currents,
with the additional complication of a resistance shunted across the input terminals of the network. If Z is
not a resistance the method still applies, but here the variation of the input current E/Z must be taken
into account."
This paragraph clearly defines what is now known as the Norton equivalent circuit in the United States.
Norton never published this result or mentioned it in any of his 18 patents and 3 publications. In Europe, it
is known as the Mayer-Norton equivalent. The German telecommunications engineer Hans Ferdinand
Mayer published the same result in the same month as Norton's technical memorandum. Norton retired in
1961 and died on January 28, 1983 at the King James Nursing Home in Chatham, New Jersey

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 October 18, 1931) was
an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life
around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical
electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park",[3] he was one of the first inventors to apply
the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and
because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.[4]

Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the
United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents was
the widespread impact of his inventions: electric light and powerutilities, sound recording, and motion
pictures all established major new industries world-wide. Edison's inventions contributed tomass
communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical
vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.

His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator.
Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution [5] to homes, businesses,
and factories a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was
on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York.[5]

4. Relationship ng electrity in civil engineering

Electrical engineering works with electrical and electronic systems.
Civil engineers work with structures and resource control.

When we have buildings without electricity, roads without stoplights, and flood control without pumps, then
the two engineers will be able to work without each other.

Why is it important to coordinate? You don't want the civil engineer to build the road, and then have the
electrical engineer dig it back up to put in the sensors and power lines.

? 5 years ago

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Interaction between civil and electrical engineers is common. I'm an electrical engineer, in a recent project
we built a transmission (Extremely High Voltage) line between two remote sites for a mine site
development. There were two engineers on site, myself and the civil engineer.
As part of the project we were required to install tracks which the civil engineer supervised, and construct
the towers including all of the footings works (where they anchor into the ground), this also required the
civil engineers supervision.

In high voltage electrical engineering all structures require civil engineering input, whether they require
footings int he ground, or supports for under ground cables. Civil engineers are also used in created
substation (where voltage is stepped up or down), ensuring that the base is strong enough and
supervising all footings for the structures within the site.

With out a good footing or firm base equipment can move. When you are off loading an 100 tonne
transformer you need to be sure it is sitting on a good solid base. Or when you are stringing your
transmission line you need to know that the towers are secure