Technology: Gilbert’s Experiment

In technology class, we learned about a scientist named Sir William Gilbert. He was Queen Elizabeth the First’s docter and lived in the 1600’s. He invented the word electricity and made many cool experiments.

Today in class we learned about one experiment that he did. In involved a closed jar with some tinfoil inside of it and a wire connected that tinfoil to a rod sticking out of the jar. It also involved a stick and a some wool.

First, you rubbed the stick and the wool together really fast. After a while, if you had rubbed the stick and the wool together for long enough, you would put the stick near the rod sticking out of the jar. Then, the tinfoil inside of the jar would move!

Apparently, Gilbert tried to explain why this had happened for years. My teacher explained it in a matter of minutes. When rubbed with fur, amber gains a resinous electricity. However, when glass is rubbed with silk, this lets glass gain a vitreous electricity. Electricity repels the same kind and attracts the opposite kind of electricity. Scientists thought that the friction actually created the electricity. They did not realize that an equal amount of opposite electricity remained on the fur or silk. Dr. William Gilbert, realized that a force was created, when a piece of amber was rubbed with wool and attracted light objects.

This was a very cool experiment in class and I hope to do more like this soon!



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