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The Ohm 500
By Trista L. Pollard
1 The movement of an electrical current is similar to the fast paced flow of race cars on the Indianapolis Speedway. Both move at a certain speed along an unbroken path trying to reach their desired destination. For the electricity, it is your video game in your XBOX, and for the race car driver, it is the checkered flag at the finish line. During the 18th and 19th centuries there were many scientists in Europe who worked to discover the mysteries of electrical energy. It is their discoveries that have helped modern men and women to harness and control the power of electricity.
2 Although Benjamin Franklin was the most famous "electricity explorer," there were certain European scientists who expanded on his scientific findings. Franklin's creation of the lightning rod in 1752 had sparked the interest of scientists in Italy, France, and Germany. During the late 1700s and 1800s these scientists tried to figure out how to produce and control large amounts of electrical energy. This whole "electricity era" began with the hanging of frog legs from a balcony, but it ended with an important scientific law for measuring the flow of electrical current in a circuit.
3 In 1786, Italian scientist Luigi Galvani tried to discover if lightning was truly the key or source for producing electricity. Prior to an approaching thunderstorm, Galvani took the legs of a dead frog, attached them to a metal hook, and suspended the hook from a metal railing of his balcony. He wanted to find out if lightning would produce electrical currents in the legs once the legs were struck by lightning bolts. However, before the storm could arrive, the legs jumped without assistance. After Galvani observed this phenomenon, he realized that the frog's nerves had caused the legs to move on their own. He theorized that a new type of electricity had been developed, and he called it animal electricity. People throughout Europe began to believe animal electricity was the secret to life. Scientists hurried to perform elaborate "electrical displays" to entertain the common masses. Now you know why Frankenstein had such a jolt when he woke up. Author Mary Shelley incorporated the scientific craze of the time into her famous novel. Today the word galvanic (after Galvani, of course) stands for the direct current of electricity that is produced chemically. Galvanize means to shock with an electric current and a galvanometer measures small electrical currents based on the mechanical effects that were produced by the current. I guess one could say that Galvani "galvanized" his frog's legs on the balcony.
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