THE INVISIBLE POWER – ELECTRICITY
The growth of civilization depended much on the energy procured by man through different sources. Man understood the value of fire million of years back. Fire gives energy which was used for different purposes. In 18th century thermal energy was used for producing steam and it was used for mechanization and transportation purposes like steam engine of railways and steam navigation.
Man’s curiosity of lightening in the dark clouds of the sky leads him to discover electricity. Benjamin Franklin was responsible to get electricity from the clouds a couple of centuries back.
The turning point in the production of electricity started in the beginning of 18th century when Voltas produced electricity through chemical means by a cell constructed by him. At the same time Faraday invented electricity by magnetic force and it eventually lead to the construction of a dynamo-a source of electric current.
Presently electrical power is generated by thermal power plants, Hydro power plants and Atomic power plants. All these power plants generate Alternate Electric Current or AC electricity of high voltage. This electricity is distributed by cables to distant places through transformers for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes.
By the end of 18th century ‘age of electricity’ had begun with the advent of alternating current through poly phase motors invented by Nikolai Tesla an associate of Thomas Edison. In the year 1891 the hydro power of Niagara waterfalls was harnessed to giant turbines to produce alternating electric current which was distributed to places miles away. Today every new hydro electric power station built should be attributed to the genius of Nikolai Tesla who was the pioneer of the present day electric power stations. Electricity became a part of modern living. In fact one shudders to think life without electricity today.
The conquest of communication in the form of telegraph, telephone and radio which were marvels of 19th century were all due to electricity. But the invention of radio poles the other two into significant as it paved way to the invention of other electronic gadgets. Thus the modern electronic wonders like television, computers and robots were all developed because of electricity. The progress of mankind, its scientific technological advancement was due to the unlimited flow of electricity from power plants. Had not there been electricity all this progress in such small pace of time would not have been there.
At present the electrical power serves the mankind from illumination to communication and transportation to entertainment equally well. The factories, farmers and homes all depend on electricity.
The domestic appliances which run on electric power to provide comfort and easy way of life to teaming million of population; were of in numerable number. Electricity was also very much necessary to run our communication network of telephone, telegram and telex. Man became helpless creatures without these facilities and his life gets paralyzed with the cut down of electric power.
In the fields of medicine electricity plays a major role. For surgical operations, X-Ray, E.C.G., and other diagnostic purposes electricity is very much essential. Radiation, Ultraviolet and Infrared therapy requires electric power. Many of the surgical and other instruments required in the field of medicine work with electrical power only.
The present day transportation by electric trains and battery driven cars were more fascinating and less polluting. In the same way escalators and elevators etc. require electric power to provide comfort and convenience to modem man.
Electricity is doing good service to humanity by providing easy, comfortable and luxurious life. But equally the hold of electric power on mankind is increasing day by day with rapid speed by addition of every new invention. Who knows when and how man may be fully enslaved by the power as electricity of relieved from it?