One weird holiday on January 9 is National Static Electricity Day. Check out the other weird January holidays!
History of National Static Electricity Day
All of us have been shocked by static electricity at one time or another – it’s been around since the dawn of time! It may be shocking to learn, however, that we have no idea where this weird holiday originated from.
The first person to talk about static electricity was the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus. He was cleaning his amber one day and discovered that small dust particiles would stick to it whenever it was rubbed.
300 years later, Theophrastus (another Greek philosopher) would observe this same phenomenon that he called the “power of attraction” by rubbing different stones together.
In the 17th century, once the word “electricity” had been introduced, the German scientist Otto von Guericke began to research static electricity. Benjamin Franklin also did research into static electricty as it appeared in storms, and the French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb also looked into static electricty as well.
Michael Faraday (for whom the Faraday cage is named) discovered that electricity from a magnet is the same as static electricity, as well as voltaic electricty from a battery.
The way static electricity works is by rubbing one object against another. The static electricity that gets produced is a result of the positive and negative charges of the atoms being out of balance. While some materials – aka insulators – hold tightly to their electrons (like plastic, cloth, or glass), other materials – aka conductors – have electrons that move about more freely.
When two insulators are rubbed together, electrons are transferred between the two, causing one to have a positive charge and the other to have a negative charge. Since opposites attract, when the two become near each other, they cause the static electricity to be discharged as it rebalances, and you get a static shock.
Ideas for National Static Electricity Day
Other than creating your own static electricity on accident, here are some ideas on how to celebrate today!
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