Electric charge: Difference between revisions

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{{See also|History of electromagneticelectromagnetism g58hghhggk theory|Electricity#History}}
[[File:Bcoulomb.png|thumb|Coulomb's [[torsion balance#Torsion balance|torsion balance]]]]
From ancient times, persons were familiar with four types of phenomena that today would all be explained using the concept of electric charge: (a) [[lightning]], (b) the [[torpedo fish]] (or electric ray), (c) [[St Elmo's Fire]], and (d) that [[amber]] rubbed with [[fur]] would attract small, light objects.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Roller |first1=Duane |author-link1= |last2=Roller |first2=D.H.D.|date=1954 |title=The development of the concept of electric charge: Electricity from the Greeks to Coulomb |url=https://archive.org/details/developmentofcon0000roll|url-access=registration |location=Cambridge, MA |publisher=[[Harvard University Press]] |page=1 |isbn=}}</ref> The first account of the {{em|amber effect}} is often attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician [[Thales of Miletus]], who lived from c. 624 – c. 546 BC, but there are doubts about whether Thales left any writings;<ref>{{cite book |last=O'Grady |first=Patricia F. |date=2002 |title=Thales of Miletus: The Beginnings of Western Science and Philosophy |url=https://books.google.com?id=ZTUlDwAAQBAJ|location= |publisher=Ashgate |page=8 |isbn= 978-1351895378|author-link=}}</ref> his account about amber is known from an account from early 200s.<ref name=DL/> This account can be taken as evidence that the phenomenon was known since at least c. 600 BC, but Thales explained this phenomenon as evidence for inanimate objects having a soul.<ref name=DL>[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Lives_of_the_Eminent_Philosophers/Book_I#Thales_24 Lives of the Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius, Book 1, §24]</ref> In other words, there was no indication of any conception of electric charge. More generally, the ancient Greeks did not understand the connections among these four kinds of phenomena. The Greeks observed that the charged amber buttons could attract light objects such as [[hair]]. They also found that if they rubbed the amber for long enough, they could even get an [[electric spark]] to jump,{{citation needed|reason=cannot find any source for this claim|date=April 2018}} but there is also a claim that no mention of electric sparks appeared until late 17th century.<ref>{{cite journal |last1=Roller |first1=Duane |author-link1= |last2=Roller |first2=D.H.D.|date=1953 |journal=American Journal of Physics|volume=21|issue=5 |doi=10.1119/1.1933449|page=348|title=The Prenatal History of Electrical Science|bibcode=1953AmJPh..21..343R}}</ref> This property derives from the [[triboelectric effect]].
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