Electric Universe (Review, pt 1)


soooooo, I just noticed that I have posted NOTHING about electricity in just about FOREVER. And here I am, with a blog named after an electrical component and all.
I’ve backburnered quite a lot this semester. Too much, really. Sadly, that includes learning about electricity.
BUT, I have not been entirely remiss, as I have been reading “Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity” by David Bodanis, and I am enjoying it thoroughly.

I’m not  quite halfway through, hence the pt 1 of the title of this post.

So far, the author does a masterful job interweaving science with historical biographies.  The first chapter relates the history of Joseph Henry and his work in developing the telegraph, and Samuel Morse, who acquired the patents.  Morse was apparently a d-bag and a bigot (as if those were mutually exclusive categories – HA!).

The chapter on Edison includes a quote from William Orton, the head of Western Union, who once told a friend that Edison “had a vacuum where his conscience ought to be.”

I’m just getting into the material on Faraday and Maxwell, the theoretical stuff about how electromagnetism works.  I’m going to need to re-read those passages a few times, I think, to obtain a better comprehension of how electromagnetism works.  The descriptions are wonderful, but the subject is one that tends to defy common perception, and is therefore tough to grasp, especially for an archaeologist like myself.

More later, this heat is making my brainz melt.


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