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Chapter 20: Static Electricity
The Discovery of the Electron
Browse through this presentation of the history of the electron, including a biography of J. J. Thomson and a *.wav file of Thomson discussing his discovery. Why was Thomson's suggestion that cathode rays were made up of pieces of atoms so startling?

Franklin's Kite
Professional scientists recreate Franklin's proposed "kite experiment." Be sure to watch the video of the experiment. Why is St. Elmo's fire actually not a good omen, but a warning of danger?

Lightning Between Earth and Space
This article in Scientific American discusses different types of high-altitude lightning, including red sprites, blue jets, elves, and gamma-/X-ray emissions. How are charges formed in the upper atmosphere?

History of the Van de Graaff Generator
This page features a description of the original 5 million volt generator created by Van de Graaff and later donated to MIT. What was constructed inside the two domes?

Static Charge: Electricity & Magnetism
Here is a nice Shockwave tour that shows how static electricity works. Why do you produce a static charge when you wear wool?

How Does a Photocopier Work?
Visit this site for a simple description and more modern explanation of how a copier works. How does this relate to how laser printers work, as described in the How It Works for Chapter 20?


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Physics: Principles and Problems