Who Discovered It? Discover Who Found What & When

Who Discovered Electricity?

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Contrary to popular belief, the discovery of electricity is not a modern invention. The concept of electricity started from ancient times. The first known idea about electricity came from the electric fish. Ancient civilizations such as Ancient Egyptians, Arabians, Romans and Greeks all have mentioned the existence of the electric fish and their unique nature, which is the ability to give an electric shock.

Electromagnetic properties of electricity

The ancient Mediterraneans took the concept of electricity even further as they discovered the electromagnetic properties of electricity. They discovered that materials like amber tend to attract feathers after being rubbed with furs. The first scientist to actually work on electricity was William Gilbert, a British physicist. He studied the Mediterranean method of rubbing amber against a fur to produce the electromagnetic properties.

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin proved that lightning was indeed electricity.

How we came up with the word “electricity”?

William Gilbert was also the pioneer to name the concept as electricity as he used the neo-Latin word “electricusto” to describe the attracting nature of electromagnetic properties. In Greek, the word “elektron” means amber and therefore an adjective to this noun, “electricusto” would mean “from amber” or “amber-like”. The English translation of this Latin word “electricusto” became “electricity”. Sir Thomas Browne started to use the word in his legendary work “Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Vulgar Errors”, a study published on the common misconceptions of that time.

Other scientists contributed too

Eventually, further studies to discover electricity, its nature and characteristics, such as electric charge, electric current, electric field, electric potential and electromagnetism were conducted by physicists and scientists from all around the world. Some notable ones include German scientists, Otto von Guericke, Irish physicist, Robert Boyle, British astronomer, Stephen Gray and French chemist, Charles François de Cisternay du Fay. Famous British-American scientist Benjamin Franklin also had major contribution in the process with his discovery and development of different theories on electricity.

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1 Comment on Who Discovered Electricity?
  1. Kevin Faulkner:

    Nice to read an accurate historical account with Gilbert and Browne respectively credited. Although Gilbert preceeds him, the availability of Browne’s chapter on electricity in Pseudodoxia, along with his repeating many of Gilbert’s and Kircher’s experiments and his coining of ‘electrical’, testifies to Browne’s scientific credentials.

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