Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Electric Universe

By David Bodanis

This essay, which reads like a novel, takes us through the development of electricity, its omnipresence in our natural environment and its impact on an industrial or technological society.

The book opens with a description of the effect of a long power outage on a major city. It goes on to describe how the invention and development of electricity has changed our lives by using the metaphor or warping a Roman Proconsul into our present era just before or after the electrical era has started. He would feel right at home in 19th century society before electricity, recognizing most things he saw. But 100 years later, we would need to do a lot of explaining.

The Electric Universe describes the major inventions based on electricity, each of which revolutionised society, such as for example the invention of light, telecommunications, computers, ... Each of these changed our lives, usually for the better. The people behind the inventions (Edison, Faraday, Morse, Volta) are presented as real personae.

With radar, electricity changes warfare, and shows for the first time an ugly side. But without electricity, there is also no rock & roll, and we could speculate about a less emancipated society.

Finally, electricity plays a crucial role in human and animal life. Without it, there can be no eyesight, or neuron activity.
 
The Electric Universe is well researched, providing a wealth of references and is highly entertaining if one likes the subject.


Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity

2 comments:

solar panels for your home said...

This looks like an interesting essay indeed. People tend to take for granted how much electricity means to our daily life.

danial franco said...

Nowadays I have enough interest in reading about universe so I wanna buy this book also because it sounds good and different then others..!
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