This essay will explore the development of currently accepted ideas on the nature of electricity, magnetism. The paper will start in the Ancient Greeks and will continue to the present. In the process of developing our modern understanding of electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism, our predecessors carried out investigations which have now become accepted and replicated in modern classrooms. As new phenomena were observed, new explanations and conclusions were sought to explain. This led to a various amount of documented scientific arguments and different points of view on topic in the nature of electricity in which will be discussed in this paper. The topic of electricity is extremely large so the topics that will be described in this paper will be split into different sections of each area in electricity.
Properties of Charged Objects:
The Ancient Greeks were the first to discover the basic properties of electrically charged objects. It is believed that the phenomenon was found to be a nuisance to the spinners of Ancient Greece who used an amber distaff on their spindles when spinning wool. The distaff would become electrically charged and this would cause dust and fluff to become attracted to the distaff. It has been found that the Greeks discovered that a number of different materials could be charged not only the amber distaff and that all of these charged bodies could attract other uncharged bodies. They showed that not any non-charged material was affected by the charged material in fact this attraction was specific to the material.
In De Magnete in 1600, William Gilbert (1544–1603), a London physician completed different investigations with an instrument called a versorium. A versorium is needle set on a sharp point so that it is free to move. Gilbert had a piece of amber and charged the amber but rubbing the amber with cloth, the versorium was brought close to the amber and the needle moved towards it. This experiment was repeated and found successful results using hard resin and gemstones such as sapphire and diamond (Gilbert, 1958). Each of the material became charged by friction; Gilbert called these types of materials electrics which are now commonly known today as insulators. Gilbert states “When rubbed electrics were suddenly applied to a versorium, instantly the point turns, and the nearer it is to the electric, the quicker is the direction” (Gilbert 1958, pg.88) and “in addition to the attracting of bodies, electrics hold them for a considerable time. Hence it is probable that amber exhales something peculiar that attracts the bodies themselves and not the air’ (Gilbert 1958, p. 89). Gilbert had many different ideas about the properties of materials that could be charged and began to propose his theory on electric forces.
A few years after Gilbert’s death, an Italian scientist named Niccolo Cabeo (1585-1650) observed that electrical charges could not only attract one another such as found by Gilbert but...