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How electricity works_Episode_2

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In part one, we learnt some basics about electricity, generation and amber. But how did we get from there to here? Well, according to the popular story, we had a man with a kite. Okay, there was also a key. The man was Benjamin Franklin. The year - 1752. The kite, as far as we know, was never meant. And the key... That unlocked the mystery we're interested in. You see, Ben Franklin's highly dengerous experiments... ...proved his theory that lightning and the spark from amber were actually the same thing. Over the years, not only did we find out that electricity could be generated but also... ...that it could be conducted. But how to make practical use of it? Any thinkers? Actually, two great men did, although from different approaches. One was Thomas Alva Edison. And the other, perhaps, less known, - Nikola Tesla. By 1879, he had improved the original design... ...making light bulbs that would last 40 hours then 1200 hours. Now, that he had a product... ...he needed to power homes that would use his light bulbs. Every the inventor-businessman, he developed the direct current system... ...charging large batteries that will then power the big cities. He invested big and he was reckoning big profits... his company had essentially sole control of the system. Unfortunately, the system also had big flaws. For example, it worked in the cities... ...but it was impractical over the long distances. And Edison knew it. So, he hired another brilliant men, Nikola Tesla, to help solve the problem. Tesla, over his career, had developed the flourescent bulb, neon lights, radio, radar, the electron microscope and even the microwave oven... ...years before they were officially invented. He was actually able to save Edison a lot of money with refinements to the system. He was, however, a timid man,.. ...directly opposit to Edison's domineering personality. Contrasting too were the approches to genius. For a while Edison was the consummate experimentor... ...famous for his trial-and-error approach. Tesla was more of a theoretician. Unfortunately, due to the extreme differences in their outlook and approach to everything... ...they eventually had fallen out. Tesla quit. After parting ways with Edison... ...Tesla also invented a cheaper, more efficient system to generate and transmit electrical power. The alternating current system. Actually, solving direct current's problems. And a system far superior to Edison's. When Tesla got financial backing from the industrialist George Westinghouse... ...and started offering AC systems to developing cities,.. ...Edison set to work discrediting Tesla and his work. Edison used his vast resources and influence to squash Tesla's genius... what history called "the Current Wars": a bublic relation' s 'battle royale' that rivals are more than dirty politics and smear campaigns. Between two competing currents, two schools of thought a historic choice was made. Alternating current eventually won. And it's the standard that's most widely used today. Direct current still survives today in the form of battaries and solar cells. But never in the scale used to be like before. A curious footnote to this entire story... that while AC won over DC... was Edison who eventually profited from it. For it was Edison's company who was comissioned to build most of the AC generators at that time. Perhaps, that is a primary reason why Tesla is relatively unknown today. And so, here we are. With energy that will keep driving us forward as long as we can generate it. Today, just as there are alternative sources to generating electricity... ...there are alternatives to managing it... ...and keeping it sustainable with lesser impact on the environment. It's all up to us... ...because... ...we already have the KEY.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 65
Posted by: leyaku on Nov 26, 2012

How electricity works.

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