The history of science is replete with people who contributed much to its advancement. Old concepts were challenged and new ideas were developed. Often, it was a mixture of sheer curiosity and plain luck that resulted in inventions. Even many of the best scientific minds had to fight conventional wisdom to gain acceptance of their ideas and inventions, but their doggedness often resulted in advances that benefited mankind.
Some of the most famous people that wielded influence in the field of electronics and electricity include the following:
- Alessandro Guiseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta – He lived from 1745 to 1827. Volt, the international standard (SI) unit of electric potential, was named after him. Volta formulated the concept of ‘state of saturation of bodies’ as a way of explanation for the attraction and repulsion of electrified bodies.
- André-Marie Ampère – A chemist, mathematician, philosopher and physicist who lived from 1775 to 1836 in France, Ampère worked on the probability theory and later presented evidence that magnetism was electricity in motion. He unified the field of magnetism and electricity on a numeric level. The international standard (SI) unit of electric current, ampere, was named after him.
- James Prescott Joule – Born in 1818, Joule was the first to name the heat generated in a resistor by current flow. He extensively studied the mechanical equivalence of heat, investigating the relationship between the internal energy of gas and temperature. He created the first galvanometer that was accurately calibrated by a voltmeter. The international standard (SI) unit of work or energy, joule, was named after him.
- Georg Simon Ohm – A mathematician and physicist who lived in Germany from 1789 to 1854, Ohm published a paper showing the relationship between the decrease in force exerted by current-carrying wires and the length of the wires. Later he published papers on galvanic electricity. He was the brain behind the Ohm’s law, which holds that the current between two points in a conductor is directly proportional to the voltage across those two points. Ohm, the international standard (SI) unit of electrical resistance, was named in his honor.
- Heinrich Rudolf Hertz – Hertz, a German physicist who was born in 1857 and who died in 1894, was the first to detect and measure electromagnetic waves in space. He wrote papers on electromagnetism, the measurement of hardness, and the theory of contact mechanism. The international standard (SI) unit of frequency – hertz – bears his name.
These famous men of science, and many more, made possible revolutionary technological advances that we enjoy today. The world would be entirely different if not for their perseverance in the pursuit of knowledge.