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Invention & Inventor
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★ Invention & Inventor

Invention & Inventor: see Science & Intuition & Instinct & Psychology & Experience & Ability & Talent & Skill & Experiment & Hobby & Gadgets & Idea & Epiphany & Dream & Television & Electricity & Industry & Engineering & Physics & Technology & New

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He invented evolution, didn’t he, Charles Darwin?  Al Murray: The Pub Landlord: My Gaff, My Rules, Londons Playhouse Theatre

 

 

At the dawn of the nineteenth century in a cellar in Mayfair the most famous scientist of the time Humphry Davey built an extraordinary piece of electrical equipment ... The biggest battery the world had ever seen, and with it Davey was about to propel us into a new age.  Jim Al-Khalili, Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity 1/3: Spark, BBC 2011

 

Electricity is one of Nature’s most awesome phenomena.  And the most powerful manifestation of it we ever see is lightning.  ibid.

 

Before Hawkesbury electricity had been merely a curiosity.  ibid.

 

The spectacles grew bigger, and the more curious electricians started to ask more profound questions.  ibid.

 

It led [Stephen] Gray to divide the world into two different kinds of substances: he called them insulators and conductors.  ibid.

 

Musschenbroek went to his laboratory to try to make a device to store electricity.  ibid.

 

Electricity was without doubt a fantastical wonder.  ibid.

 

Franklin decided to use the power of reason to rationally explain what many considered a magical phenomenon: lightning.  ibid.

 

The modern equivalent of the Leyden Jar is this: the capacitor.  ibid.

 

What Cavendish refers to as the amount of electricity we now call electric change.  And his intensity is what we call the potential difference, or voltage.  ibid.

 

The fish gave a shock of about two hundred and forty volts, the same as mains electricity.  ibid.

 

Cavendish has shown that the torpedo fish made electricity.  ibid.

 

In 1759 here in Bologna electricity was used on the muscles of a paralysed man ... Di Animali Electricitate: Galvani.  ibid.

 

[Alessandro] Volta began his search for the new source of electricity ... His theory flew in the face of Galvani’s.  The frog’s leg twitched not because of its own animal electricity but because it was reacting to the electricity of the metals.  ibid.

 

He [Volta] could actually taste the electricity ... He’d created the first battery.  ibid.

 

The electricity flowing out of the pile became known as an electrical current.  ibid.

 

This flow of electrons is what we call an electric current.  ibid.

 

This lay the foundations for chemistry, physics and modern industry.  Volta’s pile changed everything.  The pile made Volta an international celebrity.  ibid.

 

Davy connected his battery to two carbon filaments and brought the tips together ... Out of the darkness came the light.  ibid.    

 

It appeared as though electricity might have the power of resurrection.  And this made a profound effect on a young writer called Mary Shelley.  ibid.

 

 

In the winter of 1943 Nikola Tesla looked out across the Manhattan skyline for the very last time ... He saw a new world, a world transformed, a world powered by electricity, his world.  Jim Al-Khalili, Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity 2/3: The Age of Invention

 

Harnessing the link between magnetism and electricity would completely transform the world.  ibid.

 

[Michael] Faraday had proved that this invisible force really does exist and he could see its effect  circular motion.  ibid.

 

Faraday had generated a continuous flow of electric current.  ibid.

 

The key to understanding the telegraph is understanding a special kind of magnet – an electromagnet.  ibid.

 

The 1858 cable was never fully repaired.  ibid.

 

A new branch of research into the electromagnetic spectrum, and solve the problems of the Atlantic telegraph.  ibid.

 

A new way of using electricity – to make something every person in the world would want – electric light.  ibid.

 

[Thomas] Edison had assembled a group of young and talented engineers.  ibid.

 

The race to bring electric light to the world was to play out in the great cities of the time.  ibid.

 

America’s first power station generating continuous direct current.  ibid.

 

Tesla was less impressed.  He had a dream electricity could be transmitted across entire cities or even nations.  ibid.

 

Westinghouse believed alternating current was the future.  ibid.

 

Tesla was paid $75,000 for his alternating current patents.  ibid.

 

Westinghouse and Tesla went toe to toe with Edison for New York’s lucrative lighting contracts.  ibid.

 

Edison claimed that AC was a more dangerous type of current than DC.  ibid.

 

In an almost magical display of awesome power and wonder and without wearing any safety chainmail or mast tens of thousands of volts produced by a Tesla coil passed across his body and through the end of a lamp he was holding.  ibid.

 

 

Professor Oliver Lodge ... He would set in motion a series of events that would revolutionise the Victorian world of brass and telegraph wire.  Jim Al-Khalili, Shock and Awe 3/3: Revelations & Revolutions

 

A new age of real understanding was now dawning.  ibid.

 

Maxwell would prove Faraday correct.  ibid.

 

Maxwells calculations showed how these fields could be disturbed rather like touching the surface of water with your finger.  ibid.

 

Lodge had proved that Maxwell was right.  ibid.

 

Hertz was also testing Maxwells theories.  ibid.

 

Marconi was no scientist.  But he read all he could of other peoples work.  ibid.

 

With crystals as detectors now it was possible to broadcast and detect the actual sound of a human voice or music.   ibid.

 

The very nature of Electricity itself remained unexplained.  ibid.

 

The beam became known as the Cathode Ray.  ibid.

 

The strange properties of semi-conductors ... The British had better silicon semi-conductors.  ibid.

 

Resistance wastes up to 20% of all the electricity we generate.  ibid.

 

Electricity has changed our world.  ibid.

 

 

James Clerk Maxwell would become one of the leading lights of nineteenth century Physics.  His work on electricity and magnetism was one of the great achievements of the age.  Jim Al-Khalili, Light and Dark, BBC 2013

 

This is the wave equation ... the speed the wave is travelling.  ibid.

 

300,000 kilometres per second: the speed of light ... an electromagnetic wave.  ibid.

 

 

For almost all of human history the dream of flying remained just that: a dream.  But we’re a strange creative species.  Over the ages the idea of human flight passed from one mind to another and eventually it would change the world.  But the story of how we took to the sky is full of extraordinary accidents and bizarre connections.  Jim Al-Khalili, Revolutions: The Ideas that Changed the World I: The Aeroplane, BBC 2019

 

A story of ingenuity, of wonder, of revolutions.  ibid.

 

At this very moment at least half a million people are flying … The invention of aeroplane has been a true revolution.  ibid.

 

Aviation has shrunk the world.  ibid.

 

The story of human flight is older than you might imagine.  ibid.

 

Leonardo da Vinci: Instead of attaching the wings to the arms, they will be part of a machine that will have beating wings like a bird … He designed more than a dozen machines that flapped their wings.   ibid.

 

George Cayley: the same dream: to build a flying machine … In Scarborough Cayley’s dream would take flight … Cayley had created the first working glider.  ibid.

 

Wilbur and Orville Wright: an obsession with mechanical flight.  ibid.

 

Otto Lilienthal: The dream of a flying man was real at last even though the flight couldn’t be sustained … Lilienthal died knowing that sustained flight should be possible.  ibid.

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