What is electricity?

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Surely, eve, at least once in our lives, had questions about what current, voltage, charge, etc. are. These are all components of one big physical concept – electricity. Let’s, on the simplest examples, try to study the basic laws of electrical phenomena.

What is electricity?

Electricity is a set of physical phenomena associated with the occurrence, accumulation, interaction, and transfer of electric charge. According to most historians of science, the first electrical phenomena were discovered by the ancient Greek philosopher Thales in the seventh century BC. Thales observed the action of static electricity: attraction of light objects and particles to rubbed with wool amber. To repeat this experience on your own, you need to rub any plastic object (such as a pen or ruler) on a woolen or cotton cloth and bring it to the cut pieces of paper.


The first serious scientific work in which studies of electrical phenomena are described was the treatise of the English scientist William Gilbert “On a magnet, magnetic bodies and a large magnet – the Earth” published in 1600. In this work, the author described the results of his experiments with magnets and electrified bodies. Here the term electricity is first mentioned.

The studies of W. Gilbert gave a serious impetus to the development of the science of electricity and magnetism: from the beginning of the 17th to the end of the 19th century, a large number of experiments were carried out and the basic laws that describe electromagnetic phenomena were formulated. And in 1897, the English physicist Joseph Thomson discovered an electron, an elementary charged particle that determines the electrical and magnetic properties of a substance. An electron (in the ancient Greek language, an electron is an amber) has a negative charge of approximately equal to 1.602 * 10-19 C (Coulomb) and a mass equal to 9.109 * 10-31 kg. Due to electrons and other charged particles, electrical and magnetic processes occur in substances.

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