I was wondering if there are references to static electricity in any classic works. I understand There were many people experimenting with it over the millennia, but was it also a common household occurrence? You know, wear certain clothes, touch a certain metal, and Zap!
Someone claimed that static electricity only became a common occurrence after synthetic material became widespread which aids in helping the charge. I have not found any helpful leads researching this online.
Is there documentation regarding any of this?
The first verifiable mention I could find was in Theophrastus (circa 300 BC):
[Lyngourion] has the power of attraction, just as amber has, and some say that it not only attracts straws and bits of wood, but also copper and iron, if the pieces are this, as Diokles used to explain. -- Theophrastus
by Chris Woodford. Last updated: May 27, 2021.
Z ap! When a bolt of lightning leaps to the ground, we get a sudden, very vivid demonstration of the power of static electricity (electrical energy that has gathered in one place). Most of us know that static builds up when we rub things together, although that's not really a satisfying explanation. What is it about rubbing things that produces an electrical phenomenon? Although lightning is a spectacular example of static electricity, it's not something we can harness. But there are many other places where static electricity is incredibly useful from laser printers and photocopiers to pollution-busting power plants, static can be really fantastic. So let's take a closer look at what it is and how it works!
Photo: A lightning bolt is a huge release of static electricity, in which built-up electrical potential energy shoots from the sky to the ground in a sudden, improvised, electric current. If you want to photograph lightning, set your camera to take multiple, continuous shots and be prepared for a very long wait: it took me two hours and hundreds of vain attempts to capture this single shot.
I. Original Works. Gilbert’s writings are De magnete, magneticisque corporibus, et de magno magnete tellure physiologic nova, plurimis & argumentis, & experimentis demonstrata (London, 1600), Eng. trans., P. Fleury Mottelay,William Gilbert of Colchester . on the Great Magnet of the Earth (Ann Arbor, 1893) and De mundo nostro sublunari philosophia nova, collected by his half brother, William Gilbert of Melford (Amsterdam, 1651).
II. Secondary Literature. On Gilbert or his work, see Suzanne Kelly, The De mundo of William Gilbert (Amsterdam, 1965) and Duane H. D. Roller, The De magnete of William Gilbert (Amsterdam, 1959).
An African-American teenager, Static was a key character of Milestone Comics, an independently-owned imprint of DC Comics founded by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle with a greater representation of minority heroes. Originally developed for Marvel Comics, Static would become a main staple of the Milestone line. When initially creating the first five characters for Milestone Comics, it was decided that Static should be a teenage hero, similar to Marvel's Spider-Man.  Static's civilian identity, Virgil Hawkins, was named after Virgil D. Hawkins, a black man who was denied entrance to the University of Florida's law school due to his race in 1949.  The character's superhero identity was suggested by writer Christopher Priest (who co-developed the original Milestone bible with McDuffie), inspired by the song "Static" by James Brown. 
The character was introduced in one of the first four titles of comic books published by Milestone in 1993. His early adventures were written by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, and penciled by John Paul Leon. Virgil Hawkins was fifteen years old when he became Static. In the comics, Virgil's family consists of his father, Robert, who works at Paris Island Hospital his mother, Jean and his sister, Sharon. Virgil attends Ernest Hemingway High School in the city of Dakota with his friends: Frieda Goren, Richard "Rick" Stone, Larry Wade, Chuck, Felix, and Daisy Watkins. In the guise of Static, Virgil eventually rescues "Rick Stone" from danger. Not unlike Spider-Man, the character has a propensity for witty banter and humor, especially when engaged with opponents. In addition, Virgil utilizes his knowledge of science and pop culture in various battles and scenarios as Static.
McDuffie described the character:
"Like any other awkward 15-year-old, Virgil Hawkins worries about pocket money, getting beaten up, and drugs. But recently, he's had even more on his mind: stuff like his powers, his secret identity, and drugs. Because, when innocents are in danger, and Virgil can slip away from class, the geeky youth becomes Static, the dashing, adventurous superhero!" [ citation needed ]
During the DC FanDome, according to Phil LaMarr, who voiced Static on the Static Shock on the animated series:
“Virgil is what I always wanted as a comic book kid growing up: Black Spider-Man. A good (comic-book) story can make you live it, feel it, and when it does, it resonates on a whole other level. It was so real world, and a textured story removed from the 1930s ‘We are exhibiting the world’. I felt like it was drawn by somebody who lived in a building I could go into. It touched on archetypes as a comic fan that I loved, but also touched on my life as a Black man in the real world.” 
A self-professed geek, Virgil is portrayed as avid comic book and video game fan, something that was retained for his animated incarnation. In the comics, Virgil regularly visits the local comic store, in addition to creating fan comics with his friends, and participates in HeroClix-style and other tabletop role-playing games. In addition, he has been shown to be an avid video gamer at several points in both his series and the Teen Titans.  In the 2001 miniseries Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool, it is shown that at that point in time, Virgil is into collecting Pokémon cards and he likes Pikachu (the flagship Pokémon of the franchise and a fellow user of electricity).
In an interview, former Teen Titans writer Geoff Johns expressed interest in having Static as part of the team, stating, "I really wanted Static on the team, but there’s so much red tape there that every time I requested it DC said 'not yet' and so I never got to have him" and later stating he had plans for the character since Teen Titans #1 (vol. 3).   Any obstructions were eventually resolved and Static appeared in the Terror Titans, with his Milestone continuity folded in the mainstream New Earth continuity. 
At the San Diego Comic-Con 2008, it was announced that Static would be joining the mainstream DC Universe where he would be added to the Teen Titans. Static made his first canonical DC Universe appearance in Terror Titans #4, battling Rose Wilson in the final round of the Dark Side Club Tournament. 
In June 2010, DC Comics announced that Static would be receiving his own series in 2011.  The series was to be written by Felicia Henderson and drawn by Scott McDaniel,  but was cancelled before the first issue could be released following the death of Static's creator, Dwayne McDuffie.  However, a very limited one-shot titled Static Shock Special was released in June 2011, written by Henderson and drawn by Denys Cowan. Batwoman artist JH Williams III provided the one-shot's cover.  A new series featuring Static titled Static Shock was launched in September 2011 as part of DC's relaunch after the Flashpoint event. The book is written by John Rozum and drawn by Scott McDaniel, who also co-writes.  As part of an effort to better integrate Static into the mainstream DCU, the title takes place in New York City rather than Dakota. 
At DC FanDome, a new Static Shock digital comics series was announced for February 2021 
Dakota Verse Edit
Doused with an experimental chemical in a gang war he was caught up in, high school student Virgil Ovid Hawkins gains a variety of electromagnetic powers and becomes a costumed crusader against crime. Like most teenaged heroes in the Spider-Man mold, he is often overwhelmed by the combined responsibilities of his career as a superhero and typical adolescent problems.
A resident of the city of Dakota, Virgil first gained his electromagnetic powers at a huge showdown between the gangs of the city, when he hoped to get revenge on a gang member who had been bullying him. The authorities arrive and release tear gas with what they believe to be a harmless radioactive marker so that any gang members would not escape arrest. The cops do not know the marker had been further spiked with an experimental mutagen called Quantum Juice (Q-Juice). This event ultimately came to be known as the so-called "Big Bang." Those who were exposed came to be referred to as "bang babies" because the Big Bang was their metahuman birth.
When the agency behind the experiment tried to capture him, he fights back, discovering that he has gained the ability to generate, manipulate, and control electromagnetism. Virgil names himself "Static" and, armed with his wits and powers, became a superhero. For the most part, Virgil keeps his secret from his family, but his friend, Frieda Goren, learns his identity when he attempts to protect her from becoming a prize in a small skirmish between gangs.
Virgil is aided by friends Rick Stone and Larry Wade. He shows romantic interest in his friend and confidante Frieda Goren, but she is involved with Larry Wade. He dates a girl named Daisy Watkins, but his 'responsibilities' as Static interfere with their dates too many times and Daisy calls their relationship off. In Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool, Virgil is involved with a girl named Madison, but Frieda ends up fighting with her over him.
Static confronts numerous bang babies and other super powered adversaries: Hotstreak, Tarmack, Holocaust, Commando X, Puff, Coil, Snakefingers, Rift, The Swarm, Dr. Kilgore, Rubberband Man, Brat-atat-tat, Prometheus, Run, Jump & Burn, Boom Box, Powerfist, LaserJet, etc. Other Bang-Babies that Static has encountered include Virus, D-Struct and Hyacinth.
Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool Edit
In the low circulated mini-series Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool it is revealed that Virgil has given up his superhero career as Static. He enjoys his time being a civilian again but sometimes misses being a superhero as his friend and confidant Frieda gets him to begrudgingly admit.
He eventually returns after being persuaded by many fellow heroes including Blitzen and Hardware for one final battle.
After the battle, with a man named John Tower who is revealed to have been the first and greatest superhero in the Milestone Universe, Virgil decides to return to his career as Static. But as he informs Frieda it likely won't be on a full-time basis as it was before.
Other heroes Edit
Later in the comic line, Static is aided by allies: the Shadow Cabinet, the Blood Syndicate, and DCPD officer Captain Summers, who has a big interest in police cases involving Bang-Babies. Static teams up with Page, the sidekick to Kobalt, in order to stop a maddened Bang-Baby who had become half-fly. Static takes a moment to scold Page, who, in his opinion, seems more concerned with making excuses over their initial meet up than what was more important, stopping the danger.
Static ends up joining the unofficial group called Heroes. Multiple superheroes come together to protect the town of Iberia from a dam break. Many innocent citizens perish, but the heroes are still recognized for their efforts in saving the survivors and doing what they could. Static appears among the group, quips "You started the X-Men without me", and talks his way onto the team. Minutes later, the Shadow Cabinet, now corrupt, sends a death squad after a few of his newfound friends.
DC Universe Edit
Following the death of Darkseid (as chronicled in Final Crisis), the space-time continuum was torn asunder, threatening the existence of both the Dakotaverse and the mainstream DC universe. The being known as Dharma was able to use energies that he harnessed from Rift (upon that being's defeat in Worlds Collide) to merge the two universes, creating an entirely new continuity. Only Dharma, Icon, and Superman are aware that Dakota and its inhabitants ever existed in a parallel universe. 
Dark Side Club Edit
In the buildup to the Final Crisis, the cosmic tyrant Darkseid hires the Terror Titans to capture Static, along with a number of the other Bang Babies in Dakota for use in the metahuman deathmatches in the Dark Side Club. During his tenure in captivity, Virgil is subjected to the Anti-Life Equation and entered into the tournaments, where he presumably kills a number of combatants. He quickly becomes the champion, and reigns undefeated for a time, though in the end, he proves hard to control. To Clock King's displeasure, he has to be restricted to the lower-levels where he is kept locked up and heavily sedated. In an attempt to entice Rose Wilson and make a profit, Clock King releases Static and sets him against Rose in the ring. In the ring, the two have an intense fight where Static's lightning-fast attacks are able to injure Rose, even despite her precognition. After a drawn-out fight, Static emerges the winner, but briefly breaks free of control before being sedated once more. Static is eventually freed by Rose (albeit off panel) and takes his revenge against his former captors, electrocuting Lashina and her cohorts as they try to escape. He also briefly duels with fellow electricity-wielder Dreadbolt, defeating and binding him in metal along with the other Terror Titans. In his final appearance he's seen joining up with Miss Martian and Aquagirl, planning their next move. 
Joining the Teen Titans Edit
After the Crisis has ended, Static and the other Dark Side Club survivors arrive at Titans Tower in order to rest. Wonder Girl, the current leader of the team, offers all of the young heroes spots on the team roster, but most of them, including Terra and Zachary Zatara, decline. While exploring the Tower, Virgil strikes up a chemistry with Aquagirl, a teenaged superheroine who was briefly a member of the team during 52. During a conversation with Virgil, she claims that she enjoyed her time with the team, and wishes to join up again, a statement that influences his decision to do the same. He also playfully insults Kid Devil and Jaime Reyes after they attempt to talk to him, mocking Kid Devil over his recent loss of his abilities. He claims that he was abducted by the Terror Titans months beforehand, and realizes that his family must believe him to be dead. Believing he has no place to go for the time being, Static decides to become a Titan and live at the Tower until he can get his life together. 
Later, when crazed former-Titan Jericho (in the guise of Cyborg) takes control of the Tower and its systems in an attempt to kill the team, Static thwarts him by releasing a high-energy charge overloading the entire Tower, as well as Cyborg's body, saving the rest of the team in the process. 
During a trip to the piers in order to relax, the Titans face off with the supervillain team known as the Fearsome Five, after they kidnap Wonder Girl and hold her hostage on Alcatraz Island. In the ensuing battle, Static defeats the villain known as Rumble by tricking him into moving into a pool of water, thus amplifying the effects of his electric attacks. In the aftermath of the battle, Virgil attends Kid Devil's funeral after he is killed saving the city from a nuclear explosion.
When former Titan Raven shows up at Titans Tower injured and unconscious, Static assists Justice Society of America member Dr. Mid-Nite in helping treat her, using his abilities to sedate Raven when a demon emerges from her body. 
Brave and the Bold Edit
In a 2009 storyline it was recently revealed that prior to his abduction, Static teamed with Justice League member Black Lightning in order to stop former Blood Syndicate member Holocaust, who had tried to kill the superhero while he was acting as the keynote speaker at Ernest Hemingway High's senior graduation. 
Return to Dakota Edit
Virgil finally decides to see his family again after learning that a deadly virus has been infecting citizens of Dakota, including Sharon. After returning home, Virgil reunites with his family as well as Frieda, and learns that his girlfriend Madison has left him during his absence. He discovers that whoever created the virus is also selling limited supplies of the vaccine, and attacks the lab where it is being made. Upon breaking into the facility, Static is surprised and knocked out by Holocaust. 
After refusing to help Holocaust in his pursuits, Static is imprisoned in a specialized containment unit alongside Aquagirl, Wonder Girl, and Bombshell. Holocaust informs the heroes that he plans to kill them and weaponize their abilities in order to sell them, but is ambushed by the rest of the Titans before this can happen. Holocaust easily defeats them, only to be confronted by Cyborg, who has recruited former Titans Kid Flash and Superboy. 
The three are able to hold off Holocaust long enough for Virgil and the others to escape, and ultimately the combined might of all ten Teen Titans is enough to defeat the villain once and for all. After this, Virgil reconciles with Frieda and tells her that he has tricked his family into believing that he has taken part in a lengthy quantum physics fellowship, thus giving him an excuse to live in San Francisco with the rest of the Titans. He also makes one last attempt to win back Madison, but she silently rejects him. After this, Virgil and the other Titans decide to head home, now with Superboy and Kid Flash as members again. 
After a mission to another dimension to rescue Raven, Virgil returns home to find that he no longer has his powers. Furious and scared over his situation, as well as his inability to help Miss Martian awaken from her coma, Virgil attempts to leave the Tower and return to Dakota. He is stopped by Cyborg, who tells Virgil that he will be of no help to anyone back home without his abilities, and tells him that he has arranged for Virgil to be taken to Cadmus Labs to find a way to get his powers back. Superboy offers to travel to Cadmus in order to support his friend, but Virgil tells him that the Titans need him now. Following a farewell breakfast, Static leaves for Cadmus, with Wonder Girl assuring him that he will always have a place on the team. 
During the events of Flashpoint, Barry Allen accidentally alters history after a battle with Professor Zoom. In the newly created reality, Static is shown back in-costume with his powers restored. 
The New 52 Edit
Following the reality-warping events of the 2011 Flashpoint storyline, Virgil and his family leave Dakota for New York after an unspecified tragic incident that, among other things, left his sister Sharon as two separate, identical entities. The vigilante Hardware gives Virgil a new costume and modified flying disk, which enables the two to remain in contact despite living in different cities. Hardware also gives him an internship at S.T.A.R. Labs as an after school job. During his first major battle, Static defeats the villain Sunspot and earns the attention of a criminal syndicate known as the Slate Gang.
Static Shock was cancelled as of issue 8 as part of DC's "Second Wave" of The New 52 titles and replaced by an alternative title. 
In Teen Titans, it is revealed that Virgil designed the cape and wing apparatus of Red Robin's costume while at S.T.A.R. 
Later, while recuperating at S.T.A.R. Labs from a previous battle, the Titans seek Virgil's help in curing Kid Flash, whose cells Virgil discovers are rapidly deteriorating as a result of an alteration of his powers. Virgil provides Kid Flash with a new costume (based on a personal sketch for a variant of the Flash's costume) containing materials that realign his molecules while stabilizing his powers, saving Kid Flash in the process. 
Static's powers allow him to control electromagnetic phenomena, in particular allowing him to manifest, manipulate both electrical and magnetic energy-Static's powers are best described as superconductor electromagnetism.
Static's powers center around electromagnetism, making him part of the Earth's electromagnetic field as well as capable of generating and storing his own electromagnetic energy. He can choose to keep the electromagnetic energy that he currently holds in his body by controlling the current and voltage for whenever he wants to use it. Static's body can generate raw electromagnetic energy, which he can control at will for various purposes.
Such uses commonly include magnetizing objects, electrocuting opponents, levitating objects (such as manhole-covers or his self-built metal saucer for use in flight) and people, restraining or adhering people/objects to various surfaces in the form of "static cling", generating "taser punches and kicks" with effects similar to a stun gun and at times enough power to send opponents flying during close combat (once even punching a huge bang-baby made of molten magma through a brick wall), various electromagnetic displays as well as electromagnetic nets or cages, blinding flashes, generating thrown ball lightning, producing electromagnetic pulses, and generating electromagnetic force fields to shield himself from attacks, even stopping bullets in mid-air. In the comic book series, Static has displayed the ability to manipulate subatomic particles, in particular electrons. In at least one instance, he has used this ability as an offensive attack to easily knockout a villain with the villain's own electrons, and in another instance, making an intangible enemy tangible. He can also electrocute nearby enemies.
As well as releasing surges of electromagnetic energy, which he can do from any part of his body, Static can also drain sources of electricity, such as power lines, batteries and fuse boxes to recharge/replenish his own energy supply. He has also displayed the ability to regenerate his powers after being completely drained by energy-draining villains. Whenever Static has used his powers to a high degree, or experience any other such large energy-drain, he will also experience a sudden, acute sense of fatigue, as his electromagnetic powers are tied into his own bioelectric energy levels. In the episode "Aftershock", in the 1st season of the animated series, an analysis of his blood shows that Static's electrolytes/blood-salt levels are higher-than-normal, highlighting that Static needs higher blood-salt levels to support the use of his powers, but the higher sodium levels seem to have no effect on his health.
Static can also sense and feel-out sources of electromagnetic energy, able to tell if a seemingly abandoned area is actually hot or not. Static can use his powers to hear radio waves and tap into phone lines, including listening in on the police broadband and music stations, as well as making calls, and is also able to use his powers to mimic the uses of electronic devices such as a CD player (in "Aftershock", he also called himself a "human CD player, (even got Surround sound"), and is even able to use his powers to use an ordinary trashcan cover simultaneously as a shotgun microphone and a loudspeaker. It is notable that Static has more of a distinctive advantage in cities than anywhere-else, as shown in the events of "Aftershock", as even in a park, surrounded by trees, Static could make use of the metal pipelines under the ground with his magnetic powers.
In both the animated series and comic book, he is shown using his powers to mimic that of a blowtorch allowing him to cut and weld metal together.
In the animated series, Static's powers grant him resistance or immunity to forms of mind control, since the human brain is an electromagnetic organ. In "Attack of the Living Brain Puppets", Static is immune to Madelyn Spaulding's ability to hear the thoughts of others and exert control over their actions, (as speculated by Richie,) Static's greater bioelectric field shields him and his brainwaves from any attempts at reading his mind and asserting control over him, as also seen in the second part of "A League of Their Own", when one of Brainiac's mind-controlling devices shorts out shortly after being placed on Static. This trait has also been adapted into the comic book mythos in Terror Titans, Static is shown to have resistance to Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation, coming back to his senses.
Static has repeatedly displayed the ability to absorb and/or alter energy from enemy attacks and redirect the energy at said enemy, and in Teen Titans, has even absorbed Kryptonite radiation from a poisoned Superboy and redirected it at an enemy. 
Following the events of "Flashpoint", Static is given a new flying disk that now contains a holographic interface and is capable of collapsing into separate pieces or re-configuring into various forms for various uses and applications. In addition to allowing Static to remain in contact with Hardware, the disk also displays charts and other information relevant to the mission at hand. Virgil has also begun using a three-piece detachable bō staff both activated by and used in conjunction with his powers for use in close-ranged fighting. 
Static's body has been shown to automatically heal itself, even from what would otherwise be lethal wounds, when drawing in large amounts of energy from a nearby energy source. 
Tim Drake has stated that Virgil's understanding of molecular structure rivals the Flash's. 
Virgil Hawkins is a highly gifted student with a particular interest in the sciences. He is a talented inventor and a natural strategist. Virgil also possesses an almost fanboyish knowledge of comic books, role playing games, pop culture, and science fiction.
Static's primary weaknesses are insulators, as his powers have little or no effect on them as shown in his battle with Rubberband Man. Wood seems to be the one he has the most difficulty with, as it cannot be electromagnetically manipulated, levitated or damaged.
In the animated series, he has a vulnerability to water, which (as water is a conductor of electricity), if he gets taken and drenched by surprise, shorts out his powers until he can dry off and replenish them. However, he can fly in the rain without short-circuiting. This weakness only applies in the animated series, as Static has never shown a weakness to water in the comics and has even used it to his advantage. In the animated series, Virgil did use his powers a few times for advantages like the water Bang Baby Aquamaria, as he blasted the wet floor full of electricity, knocking a few of his enemies out. He has also hit the ocean to stop boats.
Milestone Forever Edit
Static appears as a major character in the 2010 low print limited series Milestone Forever, a project designed to detail the final fates of the Milestone launch characters prior to being assimilated into DC's continuity. In Static's tale, the reader first learns that Virgil is attending his ten year high school reunion, and has given up his life of crime-fighting and is now pursuing a career in medicine. Rick (now going by his television moniker of "Richie") is also now working as a director in Los Angeles, and is open about his homosexuality. Without warning, Hotstreak (recently released from prison and now calling himself Firewheel), attacks the reunion, claiming that he now realizes that Static must have been one of his old classmates. Virgil briefly takes up the Static mantle again for one last fight with his old nemesis, and eventually defeats him. During this time, it is also revealed that Sharon is now married and pregnant, and that Robert has died. Rocket is implied to have taken over as the new Icon. 
The story then skips ahead another ten years to show that Virgil is now married to Frieda and has two children, Larry and Sadie (both of whom have inherited his electrical abilities), and now works as a doctor. The story ends with the couple reflecting on their life, and Virgil playfully asking Frieda if she wants him to return to his role as Static. She simply smiles and tells him "absolutely not", and the two passionately kiss. 
Static has a number of supporting characters in his from best friends Rick Stone, Larry Wade and Frieda Goren to sometime love interest Daisy Watkins.
10 Things You May Not Know About the Dust Bowl
1. One monster dust storm reached the Atlantic Ocean.
While 𠇋lack blizzards” constantly menaced Plains states in the 1930s, a massive dust storm 2 miles high traveled 2,000 miles before hitting the East Coast on May 11, 1934. For five hours, a fog of prairie dirt enshrouded landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol, inside which lawmakers were debating a soil conservation bill. For East Coasters, the storm was a mere inconvenience—“Housewives kept busy,” read a New York Times subhead𠅌ompared to the tribulations endured by Dust Bowl residents.
2. The Dust Bowl was both a manmade and natural disaster.
Beginning with World War I, American wheat harvests flowed like gold as demand boomed. Lured by record wheat prices and promises by land developers that “rain follows the plow,” farmers powered by new gasoline tractors over-plowed and over-grazed the southern Plains. When the drought and Great Depression hit in the early 1930s, the wheat market collapsed. Once the oceans of wheat, which replaced the sea of prairie grass that anchored the topsoil into place, dried up, the land was defenseless against the winds that buffeted the Plains.
3. The ecosystem disruption unleashed plagues of jackrabbits and grasshoppers.
If the dust storms that turned daylight to darkness weren’t apocalyptic enough, seemingly biblical plagues of jackrabbits and grasshoppers descended on the Plains and destroyed whatever meager crops could grow. To combat the hundreds of thousands of jackrabbits that overran the Dust Bowl states in 1935, some towns staged “rabbit drives” in which townsmen corralled the jackrabbits in pens and smashed them to death with clubs and baseball bats. Thick clouds of grasshoppers𠅊s large as 23,000 insects per acre, according to one estimate𠅊lso swept over farms and consumed everything in their wakes. “What the sun left, the grasshoppers took,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt said during a fireside chat. The National Guard was called out to crush grasshoppers with tractors and burn infested fields, while the Civilian Conservation Corps spread an insecticide of arsenic, molasses and bran.
4. Proposed solutions were truly out-of-the-box.
There were few things desperate Dust Bowl residents didn’t try to make it rain. Some followed the old folklore of killing snakes and hanging them belly-up on fences. Others tried shock and awe. Farmers in one Texas town paid a self-professed rainmaker $500 to fire off rockets carrying an explosive mixture of dynamite and nitroglycerine to induce showers. Corporations also touted their products to the federal government as possible solutions. Sisalkraft proposed covering the farms with waterproof paper, while a New Jersey asphalt company suggested paving the Plains.
5. A newspaper reporter gave the Dust Bowl its name.
Associated Press reporter Robert Geiger opened his April 15, 1935, dispatch with this line: “Three little words achingly familiar on a Western farmer’s tongue, rule life in the dust bowl of the continent—if it rains.” 𠇍ust bowl” was probably a throwaway line for Geiger, since two days later he referred to the disaster zone as the 𠇍ust belt.” Nevertheless, within weeks the term had entered the national lexicon.
6. Dust storms crackled with powerful static electricity.
So much static electricity built up between the ground and airborne dust that blue flames leapt from barbed wire fences and well-wishers shaking hands could generate a spark so powerful it could knock them to the ground. Since static electricity could short out engines and car radios, motorists driving through dust storms dragged chains from the back of their automobiles to ground their cars.
7. The swirling dust proved deadly.
Those who inhaled the airborne prairie dust suffered coughing spasms, shortness of breath, asthma, bronchitis and influenza. Much like miners, Dust Bowl residents exhibited signs of silicosis from breathing in the extremely fine silt particulates, which had high silica content. Dust pneumonia, called the 𠇋rown plague,” killed hundreds and was particularly lethal for infants, children and the elderly.
Many, but not all, of the Dust Bowl refugees hailed from Oklahoma. As they flooded the West Coast in large numbers in search of jobs, they were given the disparaging nickname “Okies.”
8. The federal government paid farmers to plow under fields and butcher livestock.
As part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government purchased starving livestock for at least $1 a head. Livestock healthy enough to be butchered could fetch as much as $16 a head, with the meat used to feed homeless people living in Hoovervilles. The Soil Conservation Service, established in 1935, paid farmers to leave fields idle, employ land management techniques such as crop rotation and replant native prairie grasses. The federal government also bought more than 10 million acres and converted them to grasslands, some managed today by the U.S. Forest Service.
9. Most farm families did not flee the Dust Bowl.
John Steinbeck’s story of migrating tenant farmers in his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” tends to obscure the fact that upwards of three-quarters of farmers in the Dust Bowl stayed put. Dust Bowl refugees did not flood California. Only 16,000 of the 1.2 million migrants to California during the 1930s came from the drought-stricken region. Most Dust Bowl refugees tended to move only to neighboring states.
10. Few “Okies” were actually from Oklahoma.
While farm families migrating to California during the 1930s, like the fictitious Joad family, were often derided as “Okies,” only one-fifth of them were actually from Oklahoma. (Plus, many of those Oklahoma migrants were from the eastern part of the state outside of the Dust Bowl.) “Okie” was a blanket term used to describe all agricultural migrants, no matter their home states. They were greeted with hostility and signs such as one in a California diner that read: “Okies and dogs not allowed inside.”
Historical Misconceptions You Probably Believe
History is a mishmash of real facts, exaggerations, and downright lies, and sometimes history is just something repeated over and over until people start believing it. It’s very easy to get tricked into believing something that’s just not true – here we’ll be taking a look at this type of thing. Historical myths that aren’t true but just won’t go away (also check out our science misconceptions).
Medieval scholars thought the Earth was flat
The shape and size of the Earth were calculated with astounding precision by Eratosthenes in Ancient Greece and were known pretty well (at least by the educated elite) through the Christian age. The idea that Medieval scholars thought the Earth was flat appears to date from the 17th century as part of the campaign by Protestants against Catholic teaching, gaining much traction in the 1800s due to inaccurate stories and historical recollections such as William Draper’s History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874). Furthermore, when Columbus sailed forth the Atlantic, he didn’t do so because he was the only one who realized the Earth was round – he just thought the Earth was much smaller than it really was.
Ninjas wore only blackAntique Japanese gappa (travel cape) and cloth zukin (hood) with kusari (chain armour) concealed underneath. Image via WIkipedia
Ninjas were spies, assassins and covert agents – it wouldn’t make much sense for them to wear something that would immediately give away their goals. They usually dressed as everyday folk or as other samurai. The popular idea of the black clothing wore by ninjas was probably borrowed from the puppet handlers of bunraku theater, who dressed in total black to simulate props moving independently.
However, ninjas were specialized in ambushes and quickly infiltrating and escaping areas at night, but even when they did use dark garments, they used dark blue and not black, because it blends better in the night. The Japanese Mikawa Go Fudoki describes a case of deception when ninja attackers used the same clothing as defenders, to instill confusion.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned
Some history books would still have us believe that the Roman Emperor Nero started the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD and then fiddled while the city burned. First of all, violins weren’t even invented back then, so at most, Nero would have played his lyre, but that’s also highly unlikely. Nero had more than his fair share of faults and some historians still blame him for the fire (either on a whim or to blame the Christians).
Unfortunately, original recollections of the fire from Fabius Rusticus, Cluvius Rufus and Pliny the Elder are lost. Tacitus, a Senator and historian of Rome, states that Nero was out of Rome when the fire started. He did use the fire to his advantage, though, blaming the devastation on the Christian community and starting persecutions against them.
“Let them eat cake”
Quite possibly the catchiest phrase in history, “Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” misattributed to Marie Antoinette during one of the famines that occurred in France during the reign of her husband, Louis XVI. The phrase carried great symbolic significance, highlighting the disregard of the French nobility towards the hardships of the people.
Not only is there no historical evidence to support this, but Marie Antoinette was by all accounts a generous person moved by the plight of the poor when it was brought to her attention. Furthermore, despite many shortcomings, there were no famines during the reign of Louis XVI, and Marie wasn’t even in the country when the story emerged.
The pyramids were built by slaves
Slaves didn’t build the pyramids of Egypt. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus once described the pyramid builders as slaves, propagating what became a global myth. Workers were likely poor people, but they were respected – pointed out by archaeologists who found their graves around or even inside the pyramids. There’s no way they would be respected enough to be buried as slaves there.
Another myth regarding the pyramids is that they haven’t changed since their construction. Initially, the great pyramids were covered with white limestone plated with gold – that outer coating has since washed away.
Vikings had horns on their helmets
When you think of a Viking, the image of a horned helmet almost immediately pop up, but that’s almost certainly not true. The image of Vikings wearing horned helmets was again borrowed from art – from the scenography of an 1876 production of the Der Ring des Nibelungen opera cycle by Richard Wagner.
Another myth about Vikings is the memorable event when King Canute in an alleged fit of delusional arrogance ordered the tides to retreat. Much more likely is that he was actually trying to make a smart point to his people – showing them that no one can command nature and no man is all powerful.
Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity
Benjamin Franklin made numerous scientific and political contributions in the world, but he didn’t discover electricity. Egyptian scholars wrote texts in 2750 BC referring to electric fish as “the thunderers of the Nile,” and several Mediterranean cultures were aware of static electricity. However, the first proper electrical study was conducted in 1600 by the English scientist William Gilbert who actually coined the term “electricity.”
Benjamin Franklin had numerous contributions in the field, notably demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning using his famous kite experiment, at one point selling much of his possessions to fund his work.
Chastity belts weren’t a Medieval thing
There’s a great deal of speculation about Medieval devices like chastity belts. Almost all devices existing today are either fakes or anti-masturbatory devices from the 19th or 20th century, when there was a widespread belief that masturbation could lead to insanity.
In 1878, Doctor John Harvey Kellogg — best known for the invention of the famous breakfast cereal Corn Flakes — was an advocate of complete abstinence, citing another doctor (Adam Clarke) and stating that “neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism.” Apparently, Medieval people knew better. Speaking of that…
People in the Middle Ages didn’t only live until 30
While it is true that that life expectancy was much lower back then, the statistic is highly skewed by high infant mortality, and the life expectancy of people who lived to adulthood was much higher. A 21-year-old man in medieval England, for example, could by one estimate expect to live to the age of 64.
Roman Vomitoriums weren’t used for vomiting
Despite its rather unfortunate name, a vomitorium was simply a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheater or a stadium. They were usually big so large crowds could exit quickly.
There was never a “Ye” in Old English
You often come across a “Ye” instead of “The” usage in Old English texts or references – but people didn’t really say “ye” — they still said “the”. The confusion comes from the use of the character thorn (þ) in abbreviations of the word “the“, which in Middle English text looked similar to a y with a superscript e.
" Invisible Electrostatic Wall" at 3M adhesive tape plant Aug 1996 W. Beaty
David Swenson of 3M Corporation describes an anomaly where workers encountered a strange "invisible wall" in the area under a fast-moving sheet of electrically charged polypropelene film in a factory. This "invisible wall" was strong enough to prevent humans from passing through. A person near this "wall" was unable to turn, and so had to walk backwards to retreat from it.
This occurred in late summer in South Carolina, August 1980, in extremely high humidity. Polypropelene (PP) film on 50K ft. rolls 20ft wide was being slit and transferred to multiple smaller spools. The film was taken off the main roll at high speed, flowed upwards 20ft to overhead rollers, passed horizontally 20ft and then downwards to the slitting device, where it was spooled onto shorter rolls. The whole operation formed a cubical shaped tent, with two walls and a ceiling approximately 20ft square. The spools ran at 1000ft/min, or about 10MPH. The PP film had been manufactured with dissimilar surface structure on opposing faces. Contact electrification can occur even in similar materials if the surface textures or micro-structures are significantly different. The generation of a large imbalance of electrical surface-charge during unspooling was therefore not unexpected, and is a common problem in this industry. "Static cling" in the megavolt range!
On entering the factory floor and far from the equipment, Mr. Swenson's 200KV/ft handheld electrometer was found to slam to full scale. When he attempted to walk through the corridor formed by the moving film, he was stopped about half way through by an "invisible wall." He could lean all his weight forward but was unable to pass. He observed a fly get pulled into the charged, moving plastic, and speculates that the e-fields might have been strong enough to suck in birds!
Have a relative (sort of) who works at a 3M plant. Shit still occasionally happens.
> You can't just say that and go away!! How are you not irresistibly
> interested in that?? I would've interrogated that relative so hard
It just came up in passing at Thanksgiving! I don't really know him that well he's an in-law. He mentioned being able to throw small washers and bolts at the field and watching them get repelled. People got interested, and so someone came with a voltmeter, and after throwing a couple more, they checked for voltage, and there was a residual charge after they finally caught on on a plastic sheet to prevent immediate grounding. It also had a very slight magnetic field. It's apparently fairly common, but engineering hasn't come up with a solid explanation why.
ALSO: dc469 5/2016
I met this guy at an ESD meeting in austin once. He said the strength of the field maxed out his equipment at a distance so he couldn't get a maximum measurement.
After he published the paper he was contacted by NASA and all the three letter agencies asking for more info. He wanted to experiment around with it but no company had millions to throw into such a project (presumably, the government did). It had to be a pretty narrow window of temperature, pressure, humidity, etc. They kept the garage door open so that's where the insects and sparrows got sucked in (which obviously ruined the product).
He said it was actually known to the technicians for awhile before he experienced it and they just were kinda like "meh". Eventually they fixed the grounding issue on the machine and the problem never popped up again.
edit: found the ESD website. David Swenson apparently is still with them on their board of directors. http://centxesdassoc.homestead.com/
Problems: coulomb forces would be expected to attract a person into the "chamber" formed by the PP film, and the attractive force should increase linearly across distance. There should be no "wall" in the center, a discrete wall is repulsive, also nonlinear.
If for some reason a person was repelled from the center of the chamber rather than being attracted, there still should be no "wall," since the repulsion force should exist over a large distance it should act like a deep pillow which exerts more and more force as one moves deeper into it. Large fuzzy fields, this is how magnets and iron behave, and this is how e-fields and conductive objects should also behave.
A thought: unspooling of film typically generates a much higher net charge on the long piece of film than on the small surface of the spool. However, since charge is created in pairs, and net charge is conserved, the imbalances of charge must be equal and opposite. The charge on the entire length of moving film must be equal in magnitude to the charge on the spool. Yet the charge on the film is very large and is continuously increasing. The limited surface-charge on the spool required that opposite charge is being lost through some unseen path.
Very probably the spool is spewing out enormous quantities of ionized air with polarity opposite that of the charge on the moving plastic film.
Charged air would be created by discharge in the cleft between film and spool as the film was peeled from the spool. I wonder if film was being peeled from the top of the spool, so that any ionized air created in the cleft would be launched into the "tent-chamber" region? (If it was peeled from the bottom of the spool, the charged air would end up outside the "tent.") Or, if a corona discharge arises in the cleft between film and spool, perhaps the UV and e-fields of this corona can ionize the air on both sides of the exiting plastic film, and spray the charged air everywhere.
So, if the charged "tent" of film is negative in the above situation, and if a large quantity of positively charged air is being generated by the spool, then perhaps the "invisible wall" is caused by a cloud of suspended air ions held in position by e-fields. Perhaps it's a pressure gradient created by ionized air trapped under the tent by electrostatic attraction. Yet again this effect would be expected to create a diffuse zone of increasing force, not a "wall", but an "invisible pillow." Added note: concrete floors behave as conductors (resistors) in this situation. Where megavolts at microamps are involved, the division between insulators and conductors is at 10^6/10^-6 = 1000 gigaohms. Concrete resistivity is in the realm of megohms, so it behaves like a grounded metal sheet.
However, a volume of charged air is somewhat analogous to iron filings near a magnet. If a solid sheet of iron filings is held in place by a magnet, then a literal "wall" is created, and this wall will resist penetration by nonferrous objects. If in the above manufacturing plant, a sheet of highly charged air is for some reason being held in place by the fields created by the charged film, then a transparent "wall" made of charged air would come into being. It might produce pressures on surfaces, and resist penetration by human bodies.
My question is this: if the entire situation could be turned on its side, so the "invisible wall" became an "invisible floor", could a person *stand* on it? Have we discovered the long-sought "Zero-G waterbed?" :) - B.B.
The 'force field' event was from 1980, while the report was given at an ESD conference in 1995. Where is that machine today? In other words.
Does that 3M sheet-slitter still slits sheets? Single sheet slitted into three slit sheets spooled onto spools called 'jumbos.' The supposed sheet-slitter shift staff says 3M sold that sheet-slitter. It may be surplused and still exist, sitting in SC, slitting and spooling someone else's slit sheets. Or, since OSHA's lawshuits when staff suddenly statically sucked into sheet slitters don't exhisht shouth of the border, it may haved moved to Mehicco.
From: Beaty, William J
Subject: Ion cushion
Date: Monday, August 12, 1996 4:02PM
Also: I wonder if the (I assume) huge quantity of air ions had anything to do with your weird phenomenon. Maybe the "wall" effect involves a plug of ionized air which is held in place by the opposite charge on the film. If so, your repulsion phenomenon would not occur if the "tent" of film was replaced with highly charged metal plates, since the source of oppositely-polarized electric wind would then be missing. I'm still convinced that the charged film should produce an attractive force upon a human body. Repulsion requires that the human be charged with the same polarity as the PP film, yet induction should produce an *opposite* body charge, so attraction is expected. But if a plug of oppositely-charged air was strongly attracted into the "tent" of PP film, it might produce a significant pressure-gradient in the surrounding air. A fraction of a PSI per foot would be more than enough to prevent someone from walking forward. If this is the origin of the effect, then the repulsion forces you experienced involved air pressure rather than electrostatic attraction/repulsion.
This might be an entirely new way to accomplish levitation. Attract a whirling blob of ionized air to an oppositely-charged plate, then use the resulting pressure gradient to lift and manipulate uncharged objects. Sort of like a fluidized bed, but using charged air instead of sand.
Why doesn't the population of opposite ions "plate" itself onto the plastic surface? Maybe it tries to do so, but the air within the moving tent is swirling like a horizontal tornado, so the charged air cannot simply move straight to the plastic film. If true, then the phenomena would not appear if motionless charged air and oppositely charged plastic were present. The tent shape and the motion of the plastic would also be required. Incredible coincidence that all the required components could ever come together in one place! (if this is indeed how it works!)
6 Answers 6
The humming you hear around all things electrical is 120hz, because an imperfect 60hz sine wave has strong harmonics at 120Hz which you will likely hear over 60Hz because of the frequencies our ears pick up best.
The humming you hear from power supplies, transformers, power meters, high-voltage distribution boxes (which have coils and such inside), etc etc is because the magnetic field in transformer coils is a physical force acting upon ferrous metals (this is how speakers work). Even though you might see a coil consisting of varnished wire that is glued down or epoxied really tight, the magnetic force is still tugging on these wires ever so slightly to great vibration. It doesn't have to be the coil wire itself either, it could be any metal object around the coil. The force is there and it's pushing and pulling on that metal back and forth at 120 times a second.
For high-voltage lines outside on poles, it's a different story. That is, if you aren't around any transformers like you see in those big distribution plots. What you are hearing is not corona discharge (as that is mostly silent unless when you get total breakdown you will hear and see arcing). After rain, or when moisture levels in the air raise you get condensation developing on the ceramic insulators that hold up the cables. You will notice these are shaped oddly like little half-domes so as to make it harder for a stream of water to make a connection between the live line and ground (or another phase). They aren't perfect though, and when rain or moisture develops on them, it can create shorter little paths for the current to travel. What you are hearing is tiny little bursts of water boiling off the insulators.
Brief History of Electronics – 1745-2019
Here is Brief History of Electronics from 1745-2019, Greatest Engineers, Scientists, Physicists and Inventors along with details of their Contribution to Electronics and Importance of their Discoveries, Inventions and Works in Field of Electronics.
1745 – Discovery of the Layden Jar
Ewald Georg von Kleist and Pieter van Musschenbroek discovered the Layden Jar in 1745. It was the first electrical capacitor– a storage mechanism for an electrical charge. The first ones were a glass jar filled with water-two wires suspended in the water. Muschenbrock got such a shock out of the first jar he experimented with that he nearly died.
Later, the water was replaced with metal foils wrapped so that there was insulation between the layers of foil-the two wires are attached to the ends of the sheets of foil.
Musschenbroek working with Leyden jar
Ben Franklin (1746-52)
Flew kites to demonstrate that lightning is a form of Static Electricity (ESD). He would run a wire to the kite and produce sparks at the ground, or charge a Leyden jar. This led Franklin to invent the lightning rod.
Franklin also made several electrostatic generators with rotating glass balls to experiment with.
These experiments led him to formulate the single fluid (imponderable fluid) theory of electricity. Previous theories had held there were two electrical fluids and two magnetic fluids. Franklin theorized just one imponderable electrical fluid (a fluid under conservation) in the universe.
The difference in electrical charges was explained by an excess ( + ) or defect ( – ) of the single electrical fluid. This is where the positive and negative symbols come from in Electric Circuit.
Benjamin Franklin (Ben Franklin)
Charles Augustus Coulomb (1736-1806)
Invented the torsion balance in 1785. The torsion balance is a simple device – a horizontal cross-bar is mounted on a stretched wire. A ball is then mounted on each end of the cross bar. Given a positive or negative charge, those balls will then attract or repel other objects that carry charges. The balls responding to these charges will try to twist the wire holding the cross bar.
The wire resists twisting, and how much twisting occurs tells you how much force the attraction or repulsion exerted. Coulomb showed electrical attraction and repulsion follow an inverse square law. The unit of charge (Coulomb) is named after him.
Alessandro Volta (1745-1827)
Announced the results of his experiments investigating Galvani’s claims about the source of electricity in the frog leg experiment. He undertook to prove that he could produce electricity without the frog. He took the same bimetallic arcs (many of them) and dipped them in glasses of brine.
This was Volta’s Couronne des Tasses- his first battery.
The voltaic pile was an improved configuration for a battery. With it he showed that the bimetallic arcs were the source of electricity. The unit of voltage is named after him.
André Marie Ampère (1775-1836)
Gave a formalized understanding of the relationships between electricity and magnetism using algebra. The unit for current (ampere) is named after him.
Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851)
In the year 1820 in Denmark demonstrated a relationship between electricity and magnetism by showing that an electrical wire carrying current will deflect a magnetic needle.
The CGS unit for magnetic field strength ( Oersted ) is named after him.
George Simon Ohm (1787-1854)
He wanted to measure the motive force of electrical currents. He found that some conductors worked better than others and quantified the differences.
He waited quite some time to announce “Ohm’s Law” because his theory was not accepted by his peers. The unit for resistance (Ohms) is named after him.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) – Great Contribution to History of Electronics
1820s Faraday postulated that an electrical current moving through a wire creates “fields of force” surrounding the wire. He believed that as these “fields of force” when established and collapsed could move a magnet. This led to a number of experiments with electricity as a motive (moving) force.
In 1821, Faraday built the first electric motor – a device for transforming an electrical current into rotary motion.
In 1331, Faraday made the first transformer – a device for inducing an electrical current in a wire not connected to an electrical source, also known as Faraday’s Ring. It was powered by a voltaic pile and used a manually operated key to interrupt the current.
The unit of capacitance (farad) is named after him.
Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) Wilhelm Eduard Weber (1804-1891)
Gauss is known as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. At very early age he overturned the theories and methods of 18th-century mathematics. Beginning in 1830, Gauss worked closely with Weber. They organized a worldwide system of stations for systematic observations of terrestrial magnetism.
The most important result of their work in electromagnetism was the development, by others, of telegraphy. Weber, a German physicist, also established a system of absolute electrical units.
His work on the ratio between the electrodynamics and electrostatic units was crucial to Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light.
The CGS unit of magnetic field density in named after Gauss.
The MKS unit of flux is named after Weber.
Karl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Eduard Weber
Joseph Henry (1799-1878)
He was a professor in a small school in Albany, New York. He worked to improve electromagnets and was the first to superimpose coils of wire wrapped on an iron core. It is said that he insulated the wire for one of his magnets using a silk dress belonging to his wife.
In 1830 he observed electromagnetic induction, a year before Faraday. He was roundly criticized for not publishing his discovery, losing the distinction for American science. Henry did obtain priority for the discovery of self induction, however.
He received an appointment at New Jersey College (later Princeton University) and in 1846 became the first director of the Smithsonian Institution.
The unit of induction [ henry (H) ] is named after him.
Heinrich F.E. Lenz (1804-1865)
Born in the old university city of Tartu, Estonia (then in Russia), He was a professor at the University of St. Petersburg. He carried out many experiments following the lead of Faraday.
He is memorialized by the law which bears his name – the electrodynamics action of an induced current equally opposes the mechanical inducing action- which was later recognized to be an expression of the conservation of energy.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872)
He brought a practical system of telegraphy to the fore front using electromagnets, and invented the code named after him in 1844.
Although in 1837 the development of an electric telegraph system making use of a deflecting magnetic needle had already been developed by Sir W. F. Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone, who installed the first railway telegraph system in England, Morse overcame both electrical design flaws and information flow restrictions to enable the telegraph to become a viable system of communication.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse
Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887)
He was a German physicist. He announced the laws which allow calculation of the current, voltage, and resistance of electrical networks in 1845 when he was only 21. In further studies he demonstrated that current flows through a conductor at the speed of light. Read : What is a Resistor
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
He wrote a mathematical treatise formalizing the theory of fields in 1856: On Faraday’s Lines of Force. Most researchers at the time did not believe in Faraday’s lines of force, but James Clerk Maxwell did
Between 1864 and 1873 Maxwell showed that 20 simple mathematical equations could express the behavior of electric and magnetic fields and their interrelated nature.
In the year 1873 Maxwell published Electricity and Magnetism, demonstrating four partial differential equations that completely described electrical phenomena. Maxwell also calculated that the speed of propagation of an electromagnetic field is approximately that of the speed of light.
He proposed that the phenomenon of light is therefore an electromagnetic phenomenon. Because charges can oscillate with any frequency, Maxwell concluded that visible light forms only a small part of the entire spectrum of possible electromagnetic radiation.
Hermann Lud-wig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894)
He was an all round universal scientist and researcher. He was one of the 19th centuries greatest scientists.
In 1870, after analyzing all the prevalent theories of electrodynamics, he lent his support to Maxwell’s theory which was little known on the European continent.
Hermann Lud-wig Ferdinand von Helmholtz
Sir William Crookes (1832-1919)
Investigated electrical discharges through highly evacuated “Crookes tubes” in the year 1878. These studies laid the foundation for J. J. Thomson’s research in the late 1890s concerning discharge-tube phenomena and the electron.
He also discovered the element Thallium and made the radiometer.
Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914)
Joseph Swan demonstrated his electric lamp in Britain in February 1879. The filament used carbon and had a partial vacuum and preceded Edison’s demonstration by six months.
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) – One of the Greatest Scientist and Inventor in History of Electronics
In 1878, Edison began work on an electric lamp and sought a material that could be electrically heated to incandescence in a vacuum. At first he used platinum wire in glass bulbs at 10 volts. He connected these bulbs in series to utilize a higher supply voltage however, he realized that independent lamp control would be necessary for home and office use.
He then developed a three-wire system with a supply of 220 volts DC. Each lamp operated at 110 volts, and the higher voltage required a resistance vastly greater than that of platinum.
Edison conducted an extensive search for a filament material to replace platinum until, on Oct. 21, 1879, he demonstrated a lamp containing a carbonized cotton thread that glowed for 40 hours.
1882 Edison installed the first large central power station on Pearl Street in New York City in 1882 its steam-driven generators of 900 horsepower provided enough power for 7,200 lamps.
He consistently fought the use of alternating current AC, and continued to market direct current DC systems. This eventually destroyed this arm of his marketing empire due to inadequate technology. During his experiments on the incandescent bulb, Edison noted a flow of electricity from a hot filament across a vacuum to a metal wire. Read : Types of Electric Current | AC (Alternate Current) | DC (Direct Current)
This effect, known as thermionic emission, or the Edison effect, was the foundation of the work later refined by Lee De Forest to create the Audion.
Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925)
He worked with Maxwell’s equations to reduce the fatigue incurred in solving them. In the process, he created a form of vector analysis called “Operational Calculus” that replaced the differential d/dt with the algebraic variable p, thus transforming differential equations to algebraic equations (Laplace Transforms). This increased the speed of solution considerably.
He also proposed the ionized air layer named after him (the Heavisids layer), that inductance can be added to transmission lines to increase transmission distance, and that charges will increase in mass when accelerated.
Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (1857-1894)
He was the first person to demonstrate the existence of radio waves. His inspiration came from Helmholtz and Maxwell.
Hertz demonstrated in 1887 that the velocity of radio waves (also called Hertzian waves) was equal to that of light. The unit of frequency (Hertz) is named after him.
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) – Great Contribution to History of Electronics
He devised the polyphase alternating-current systems that form the modern electrical power industry. In 1884, Tesla emigrated to the United States. He worked briefly for Thomas Edison, who as the advocate of direct current became Tesla’s unsuccessful rival in electric power development.
In 1888, Tesla showed how a magnetic field could be made to rotate if two coils at right angles were supplied with alternating currents 90 degrees out of phase with each other at 60 hertz.
George Westinghouse bought rights to the patents on this motor and made it the basis for the Westinghouse power system at Niagara Falls.
Tesla’s other inventions included the Tesla coil, a kind of transformer, and he did research on high-voltage electricity and wireless communication. In 1905, he demonstrated a wireless remote control boat, while at the same time Marconi was still transmitting Morse code.
Despite his many patents and genius, he died poor. Congress declared Tesla the “father of radio“, (not wireless as Marconi was), because Marconi’s four tuned circuit radio used Tesla’s 1897 radio patent describing the four tuned stages, two on input and two on output.
The unit of magnetic field density (Tesla) is named after him.
Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923)
Discovered the mathematics of hysteresis loss, thus enabling engineers of the time to reduce magnetic loss in transformers.
He also applied the mathematics of complex numbers to AC analysis and thus put engineering design of electrical systems on a scientific basis instead of a black art.
Along with Nikola Tesla, he is responsible for wresting the generation of power away from Edison’s inefficient DC system to the more elegant AC system.
Charles Proteus Steinmetz
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) – Father of Wireless in History of Electronics
Known as the “father of wireless“, He was an Italian national who expanded on the experiments that Hertz did, and believed that telegraphic messages could be transmitted without wires.
In 1897, Marconi formed his wireless telegraph company, and in December 1901 he did the first trans Atlantic radio transmission in Morse code. When Marconi died all the radio transmitters in the world were silent for two minutes.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923)
Discovered X rays, for which he received the first Nobel Prize for physics in 1901. He observed that barium platinocyanide crystals across the room fluoresced whenever he turned on a Crooke’s, or cathode-ray discharge tube, even when the tube was shielded by thin metal sheets.
Roentgen correctly hypothesized that a previously unknown form of radiation of very short wavelength was involved, and that these X rays (a term he coined) caused the crystals to glow. He later demonstrated the metallurgical and medical use of X rays which later brought a revolution in medical science.
The unit of radiation exposure (rad) is named after him.
Sir Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940)
He is universally recognized as the British scientist who discovered and identified the electron in the year 1897. Thomson demonstrated that cathode rays were actually units of electrical current made up of negatively charged particles of subatomic size.
He believed them to be an integral part of all matter and theorized the “plum pudding” model of atomic structure in which a quantity of negatively charged electrons was embedded in a sphere of positive electricity, the two charges neutralizing each other.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – Great Name in History of Electronics
In the year 1905, Einstein elaborated on the experimental results of Max Planck who noticed that electromagnetic energy seemed to be emitted from radiating objects in quantities that were discrete.
The energy of these emitted quantities – the so called “light-quanta” was directly proportional to the frequency of the radiation which was completely contrary to classical electromagnetic theory, based on Maxwell’s equations and the laws of thermodynamics.
Einstein used Planck’s quantum hypothesis to describe visible electromagnetic radiation, or light. According to Einstein’s viewpoint, light could be imagined to consist of discrete bundles of radiation. He used this interpretation to explain the photoelectric effect, by which certain metals emit electrons when illuminated by light with a given frequency.
Einstein’s theory, and his subsequent elaboration of it, formed the basis for much of Quantum Mechanics.
Sir John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945)
He made the first diode tube, the Fleming valve in the year 1905. The device had three leads, two for the heater/cathode and the other for the plate.
Lee De Forest (1873-1961)
He added a grid electrode to Fleming’s valve and created the triode tube, later improved and called the Audion. This increased the distance that radio could be received by two orders of magnitude.
He was a prolific inventor, and was granted more than 300 patents in the fields of wireless telegraphy, radio, wire telephone, sound-on-film, picture transmission, and television.
Jack St. Clair Kilby (1923-2005)
Developed the integrated circuit while at Texas instruments. While conducting research into miniaturization he built the first true integrated circuit, a phase-shift oscillator with individually wired parts. Kilby received a patent in 1959.
Robert Norton Noyce (1927-1990)
Developed the integrated circuit with a more practical approach to scaling the size of the circuit. He became a founder of Fairchild Semiconductor Company in 1957.
In 1959, he and a co-worker developed the design of a semiconducting chip the same idea occurred independently that same year to Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. Noyce and Kilby were both granted patents.
In 1968 he formed Intel with Gordon Moore, and in 1971 Intel designer Ted Hoff developed the first microprocessor, the 4004.
Seymour Cray (1925-1996)
Also known as “The Father of the Supercomputer“, along with George Amdahl, defined the supercomputer industry in the year 1976.
Ray Prasad (1946-Still Going 2019)
Ray Prasad is Author of the textbook Surface Mount Technology: Principles and Practice. He is an inductee to the IPC Hall of Fame, the highest honor in Electronics Industry for his contribution to the electronics industry. He is also the recipient of the IPC President’s Award, SMTA Member of Distinction Award, Intel Achievement Award, and Dieter W. Bergman IPC Fellowship Medal.
As the lead engineer, Mr. Prasad introduced SMT into airplanes and defense systems at Boeing, and as SMT program manager, he managed the global implementation of SMT at Intel Corporation. You can Read more about Mr. Ray Prasad.
10 Bizarre Human Mysteries
WARNING: this list contains some graphic images. Every so often, we&rsquoll come across strange and inexplicable conditions found in the human body. These are the mysteries science can&rsquot easily debunk, the kinds that defy natural laws and how we&rsquove come to understand ourselves. There&rsquos always debate concerning these supposed powers. Are they just hoaxes derived from our imagination, or are we looking at the first steps into the next evolutionary leap? So here&rsquos what we&rsquove seen you decide what to believe from these bizarre human mysteries.
Shamanistic practices were once much more prevalent in the world, and considered a profound foundation of the tribes that believed in them. These spiritually based rituals are still found today and are revered as legitimate procedures. In the Philippines, an entrancing healer, allegedly, has the ability to materialize and dematerialize matter. The shaman will enter a mild trance, where they gain the supernatural ability to perform surgeries with little to no contact with the patient. They would then be able to remove foreign objects within the body such as glass and metal and provide alleviation from similar pains.
Many of these shamans have been discovered as fraudulent, proving the use of slight of hand tricks and passing them off as legitimate procedures, but that isn&rsquot the case for all of them. Some entrancing healers can pull out molars with their bare hands, while others can remove and replace eyeballs. There is still not enough evidence to dismiss what these shamans have been apparently able to achieve for decades.
Much like entrancing healers, psychic surgeons can perform procedures that would normally require tools and what we consider conventional medical supplies (like anesthesia). But, unlike the healers, psychic surgeons go deep into the patient&rsquos body, and literally pull out tumors and organs from their patients.
These types of surgeons are mostly found in Brazil and the Philippines, where people strongly believe in spirits (which aid every procedure/treatment). Patients are told to recognize that negative feelings and thoughts toward disease and illnesses only serve to aggravate the condition, and that they can&rsquot be healed if they don&rsquot believe in the possibility of overcoming it. In other words, they must form a bond between the mind, body and spirit, to achieve the balance required for recovery the body can&rsquot be healed if the mind and spirit aren&rsquot aligned. This is also the reason why psychic surgeons argue that outsiders who come to them seeking help are more difficult to work on because they lack that faith.
SHC is burning from the inside out. It certainly sounds strange but by now, most of us are familiar with this supposed phenomenon. Famous cases include Jack Angel&rsquos account of SHC that led to his hand needing amputation, or Mary Reeser who was burned to a crisp and found with a shrunken skull. Even fiction has its examples of SHC, as seen in Charles Dicken&rsquos novel, Bleak House (Dickens was fascinated by the topic and researched it thoroughly).
Already you can probably come up with a few facts off the top of your head that would debunk this mystery, but consider this: crematoriums pre-heat their furnaces to about 1837.4 degrees Fahrenheit, because the human body is relatively difficult to burn. It takes between one and two hours for tissue and major bones to become ashes. SHC victims are usually found in a liquid form, meaning their bodies had to burn at a temperature exceeding 2998 degrees Fahrenheit. And in some cases, not the entire body is burned and we&rsquod expect to see burn marks all over the body in a traditional house fire scenario.
On the subject of fire, we come to the Leidenfrost effect. The effect actually creates an insulating, protective barrier of vapor that forms over a liquid exposed to extreme heat. This same effect protects you when you pinch out candles with wet fingers. It&rsquos a phenomenon we&rsquore all capable of doing given the right circumstances (like in firewalking), but it&rsquos only a fraction of what people with fire immunity experience.
Nathan Coker was a blacksmith in Maryland who could stand on white hot metal, swill molten lead shot in his mouth until it solidified, and hold red-hot coals. His skin was so dexterous, he never even showed signs of burn marks. Is it a practice of mind over matter or did his skin, over years of handling fire, get tough enough to keep him from feeling the burn?
On the opposite spectrum, pyrokinetics can attract or project fire. A.W. Underwood was able to cause a handkerchief to burst in to flames by blowing on it. Starting a fire with the mind, or a wave of the hand, is rejected much quicker than those that have fire immunity but it remains the favorite in fiction.
Dowsing has existed as early as the 15th century. Using a divining rod, a dowser may find water, metals and other substances in the ground without the use of scientific tools. The thought is that divining rods amplify invisible movements of the hand coming from the dowser who has some ability to sense magnetic fields or may possess a form of ESP.
One way to explain the phenomenon is by exploring the environment. If a dowser can detect hints about their surroundings, then they make subconscious movements with their hands, forcing the rods to shake and dip, indicating they&rsquove found something of value. Most dowsers can&rsquot offer a plain explanation how the process works but the practice has been used to locate substances successfully throughout the centuries.
You have probably seen Youtube videos of people showing signs of bioelectricity. As early as the 19th century, there have been cases of people being electrically charged or magnetized, resulting in an odd electromagnetic effect on the objects around them. Some people even show allergic reactions to technology, finding it difficult to live around devices that emit too much magnetic and electrical charge.
There have been cases of people being so charged that they are able to light a bulb simply by holding it. Others cause fuses to blow out, without any means of controlling the effect. It&rsquos even been recorded that people with this strong force can give a static electricity shock continuously, and be powerful enough to actually hurt someone.
Surprisingly, most cases on bioluminescence in humans comes from ill patients. Anna Monaro had asthma and for several weeks, a blue glow would emit from her chest while she slept. In his book &lsquoDeath: Its Causes and Phenomena&rsquo, Hereward Carrington reported the body of a boy radiating a blue glow after his death of acute indigestion.
This glow-worm effect still doesn&rsquot have many cases, but recently Japanese researchers discovered that the human body glimmers. The light we emit is about 1000 times lower than the naked eye can see. This light fluctuates during the day, in cycles, leaving us brightest in the afternoon (the skin around your mouth lightens most around this time of day too) and dimmest in the evening.
D.D. Home was a famous medium who had many witnesses claim he could indeed levitate. Homes most incredible feat happened in 1868, when he floated out one window and into another during a séance. His abilities were never proven to be fraudulent, even by Harry Houdini, who attempted to duplicate many of Homes &ldquotricks.&rdquo
Today, levitation is common during magical performances, but they all came from reports of people actually floating. It was considered a normal occurrence in séance, not just by the people in attendance, but of the objects around them. And if you ever want to experience levitation for yourself, try the Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board game. It&rsquos been scaring kids for years now.
ESP is an extrasensory perception, able to gain information through use of a sense unknown by science. Before getting into ESP, first you should realize you do in fact have more than five senses. You can sense temperature variations, proprioception (position of your muscles), and the force of gravity (you do this by knowing at what angle your head is in while your eyes are shut). ESP covers the senses that are left.
There&rsquos plenty of anecdotal evidence of ESP, but what about legitimate science? In the 30s, the Ganzfeld experiments took place. People claiming to have ESP were told to lie down, and then forced to listen to white noise to clear their minds. Someone observing from another room would then attempt to mentally send him/her an image. Afterward, that person would pick which image it is they saw in their mind from four. Critics predicted a 25% accuracy but were surprised to learn it was 35%. That isn&rsquot statistically a lot more but this experiment was used to show that perhaps there was something to ESP after all.
The Delphic oracle did it. Nostradamus did it. Hell, you can call fortunetellers over the phone nowadays to hear about the future. History is riddled with people claiming to know the future. Some have visions that come and go, others have foretelling dreams. There are those who seek the future by means of ritual, and then there are people who are struck with precognition randomly. You might have experienced it yourself. Ever thought of a friend and they called you (or in this modern age &ndash they Facebooked you) seconds later? Is that an example of precognition or just coincidence?
Nostradamus had a number of prophecies that, when interpreted in a certain manner, predicted the Great Fire of London and the rise of Adolf Hitler (among others). However, Nostradamus was purposefully vague and cryptic in each of his predictions, leaving them open for interpretation. To say that he unmistakably foresaw those events in history would be a bit of a stretch. Still, among all the items on this list, the ability to see the future is the most abundant bizarre trait people believe they possess.