A simple and easy introduction to electricity. It covers electric charge, the discovery of electricity, the nature of electricity and some of the more technical stuff for the classroom for you students.
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Discovery of Electricity - the first recordings of electricity were by the ancient Egyptians in the form of these strange electric fish swimming in the Nile. The second encounter with electricity were recorded by the ancient greeks who discovered that if you rub amber with cats fur, it attracted feathers. Although they didn't know what was happening, it made them very curious indeed...
Electric charge - Around the 18th century, people discovered this mysterious force between objects was because of electric charges. The first thing you need to know about charges is that there are two types: positive and negative. It was found through experiment that like charges repel and opposite charges attract. Also, EVERYTHING has electric charge. So why isn't everything being attracted and repelled by everything else? Because there is usually equal distribution of electric charge on objects, leaving the overall charge neutral.
The nature of electricity - So what was happening in ancient Greece with the amber, cats fur and the feather? When the cats fur was rubbed on the amber, some negative electric charge was transferred from the cats fur to the amber, leaving it negatively charged. When placed near the feather, the negatively charged amber would repel some of the negative charges in the feather, leaving the feather positively charged. Now the positively charged feather is attracted to the negatively charged amber!
Technical stuff - Charge is a NOT an object, it is a property of an object. Lastly, the SI unit for charge is the Coulomb, named after Charles Augustine de Coulomb.
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