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THIRD PERIOD

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 188 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THIRD PERIOD.—With this supremely important discovery of Faraday's we enter upon the third period of electrical research, in which that philosopher himself was the leading figure. He not only collected the facts concerning electromagnetic induction so industriously that nothing of importance remained for future discovery, and embraced them all in one law of exquisite simplicity, but he introduced his famous conception of lines of force which changed entirely the mode of regarding electrical phenomena. The French mathematicians, Coulomb, Biot, Poisson and Ampere, had been content to accept the fact that electric charges or currents in conductors could exert forces on other charges or conductors at a distance without inquiring into the means by which this action at a distance was produced. Faraday's mind, however, revolted against this notion; he felt intuitively that these distance actions must be the result of unseen operations in the interposed medium. Accordingly when he sprinkled iron filings on a card held over a magnet and revealed the curvilinear system of lines of force (see MAGNETISM), he regarded these fragments of iron as simple indicators of a physical state in the space already in existence round the magnet. To him a magnet was not simply a bar of steel; it was the core and origin of a system of lines of magnetic force attached to it and moving with it. Similarly he came to see an electrified body as a centre of a system of lines of electrostatic force. All the space round magnets, currents and electric charges was therefore to Faraday the seat of corresponding lines of magnetic or electric force. He proved by systematic experiments that the electromotive forces set up in conductors by their motions in magnetic fields or by the induction of other currents in the field were due to the secondary conductor cutting lines of magnetic force. He invented the term " electrotonic state " to signify the total magnetic flux due to a conductor conveying a current, which was linked with any secondary circuit in the field or even with itself. Faraday's Researches.—S pace compels us to limit our account of the scientific work done by Faraday in the succeeding twenty years, in elucidating electrical phenomena and adding to the knowledge thereon, to the very briefest mention. We must refer the reader for further information to his monumental work entitled Experimental Researches on Electricity, in three volumes, reprinted from the Phil. Trans. between 1831 and '85'. Faraday divided these researches into various series. The 1st and 2nd concern the discovery of magneto-electric induction already mentioned. The 3rd series (1833) he devoted to discussion of the identity of electricity derived from various sources, frictional, voltaic, animal and thermal, and he proved by rigorous experiments the identity and similarity in properties of the electricity generated by these various methods. The 5th series (1833) is occupied with his electrochemical researches. In the 7th series (1834) he defines a number of new terms, such as electrolyte, electrolysis, anode and cathode, &c., in connexion with electrolytic phenomena, which were immediately adopted into the vocabulary of science. His most important contribution at this date was the invention of the voltameter and his enunciation of the laws of electrolysis. The voltameter provided a means of measuring quantity of electricity, and in the hands of Faraday and his successors became an appliance of fundamental iniportance. The 8th series is occupied with a discussion of the theory of the voltaic pile, in which Faraday accumulates evidence to prove that the source of the energy of the pile must be chemical. He returns also to this subject in the 16th series. In the 9th series (1834) he announced the discovery of the important property of electric conductors, since called their self-induction or inductance, a discovery in which, however, he was anticipated by Joseph Henry in the United States. The 11th series (1837) deals with electrostatic induction and the statement of the important fact of the specific inductive capacity of insulators or dielectrics. This discovery was made in November 1837 when Faraday had no knowledge of Cavendish's previous researches into this matter. The 19th series (1845) contains an account of his brilliant discovery of the rotation of the plane of polarized light by transparent dielectrics placed in a magnetic field, a relation which established for the first time a practical connexion between the phenomena of electricity and light. The loth series (1845) contains an account of his researches on the universal action of magnetism and diamagnetic bodies. The 22nd series (1848) is occupied with the discussion of magnetocrystallic force and the abnormal behaviour of various crystals in a magnetic field. In the 25th series (1850) he made known his discovery of the magnetic character of oxygen gas, and the important principle that the terms paramagnetic and diamagnetic are relative. In the 26th series (1850) he returned to a discussion of magnetic lines of force, and illuminated the whole subject of the magnetic circuit by his transcendent insight into the intricate phenomena concerned. In 1855 he brought these researches to a conclusion by a general article on magnetic philosophy, having placed the whole subject of magnetism and electromagnetism on an entirely novel and solid basis. In addition to this he provided the means for studying thetphenomena not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively, by the profoundly ingenious instruments he invented for that purpose. Electrical Measurement.—Faraday's ideas thus pressed upon electricians the necessity for the quantitative measurement of electrical phenomena.' It has been already mentioned that Schweigger invented in 182o the multiplier," and Nobili in 1825 the astatic galvanometer. C. S. M. Pouillet in 1837 contributed the sine and tangent compass, and W. E. Weber effected great improvements in them and in the construction and use of galvanometers. In 1849 H. von Helmholtz devised a tangent galvanometer with two coils. The measurement of electric resistance then engaged the attention of electricians. By his Memoirs in the Phil. Trans. in 1843, Sir Charles Wheatstone gave a great impulse to this study. He invented the rheostat and improved the resistance balance, invented by S. H. Christie (1784–1865) in 1833, and subsequently called the Wheatstone Bridge. (See his Scientific Papers, published by the Physical Society of London, p. 129.) Weber about this date invented the electrodynamometer, and applied the mirror and scale method of reading deflections, and in co-operation with C. F. Gauss introduced a system of absolute measurement of electric and magnetic phenomena. In 1846 Weber proceeded with improved apparatus to test Ampere's laws of electrodynamics. In 1845 H. G. Grassmann (1809–1877) published (Pogg. Ann. vol. 64) his " Neue Theorie der Electrodynamik," in which he gave an elementary law differing from that of Ampere but leading to the same results for closed circuits. In the same year F. E. Neumann published another law. In 1846 Weber announced his famous hypothesis concerning the connexion of electrostatic and electrodynamic phenomena. The work of Neumann and Weber had been stimulated by that of H. F. E. Lenz (1804–1865), ' Amongst the most important of Faraday's quantitative re-searches must be included the ingenious and convincing proofs he provided that the production of any quantity of electricity of one sign is always accompanied by the production of an equal quantity of electricity of the opposite sign. See Experimental Researches on Electricity, vol. i. § 1197.whose researches (Pogg. Ann., 1834, 31; 1835, 34) among other results led him to the statement of the law by means of which the direction of the induced current can be predicted from the theory of Ampere, the rule being that the direction of the induced current is always such that its electrodynamic action tends to oppose the motion which produces it. Neumann in 1845 did for electromagnetic induction what Ampere did for electrodynamics, basing his researches upon the experimental laws of Lenz. He discovered a function, which has been called the potential of one circuit on another, from which he deduced a theory of induction completely in accordance with experiment. Weber at the same time deduced the mathematical laws of induction from his elementary law of electrical action, and with his improved instruments arrived at accurate verifications of the law of induction, which by this time had been developed mathematically by Neumann and himself. In 1849 G. R. Kirchhoff determined experimentally in a certain case the absolute value of the current induced by one circuit in another, and in the same year Erik Edland (1819-1888) made a series of careful experiments on the induction of electric currents which • further established received theories. These labours laid the foundation on which was subsequently erected a complete system for the absolute measurement of electric and magnetic quantities, referring them all to the fundamental units of mass, length and time. Helmholtz gave at the same time a mathematical theory of induced currents and a valuable series of experiments in support of them (Pogg. Ann., 1851). This great investigator and luminous expositor just before that time had published his celebrated essay, Die Erhaltung der Kraft (" The Conservation of Energy "), which brought to a focus ideas which had been accumulating in consequence of the work of J. P. Joule, J. R. von Mayer and others, on the trans-formation of various forms of physical energy, and in particular the mechanical equivalent of heat. Helmholtz brought to bear upon the subject not only the most profound mathematical attainments, but immense experimental skill, and his work in connexion with this subject is classical. Lord Kelvin's Work.—About 1842 Lord Kelvin (then William Thomson) began that long career of theoretical and practical discovery and invention in electrical science which revolutionized every department of pure and applied electricity. His early contributions to electrostatics and electrometry are to be found described in his Reprint of Papers on Electrostatics and Magnetism (1872), and his later work in his collected Mathematical and Physical Papers. By his studies in electrostatics, his elegant method of electrical images, his development of the theory of potential and application of the principle of conservation of energy, as well as by his inventions in connexion with electrometry, he laid the foundations of our modern knowledge of electrostatics. His work on the electrodynamic qualities of metals, thermo-electricity, and his contributions to galvanometry, were not less massive and profound. From 1842 onwards to the end of the 19th century, he was one of the great master workers in the field of electrical discovery and research.2 In 1853 he published a paper " On Transient Electric Currents " (Phil. Hag., 1853 [41, 5, p. 393), in which he applied the principle of the conservation of energy to the discharge of a Leyden jar. He added definiteness to the idea of the self-induction or inductance of an electric circuit, and gave a mathematical expression for the current flowing out of a Leyden jar during its discharge. He confirmed an opinion already previously expressed by Helmholtz and by Henry, that in some circumstances this discharge is oscillatory in nature, consisting of an alternating electric current of high frequency. These theoretical predictions were confirmed and others, subsequently, by the work of B. W. Feddersen (b. 1832), C. A. Paalzow (b. 1823), and it was then seen that the familiar phenomena of the discharge of a Leyden 2 In this connexion the work of George Green (1793–1841) must not be forgotten. Green's Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism, published in 1828, contains the first exposition of the theory of potential. An important theorem contained in it is known as Green's theorem, and is of great value. jar provided the means of generating electric oscillations of very high frequency. Telegraphy.—Turning to practical applications of electricity, we may note that electric telegraphy took its rise in 182o, beginning with a suggestion of Ampere immediately after Oersted's discovery. It was established by the work of Weber and Gauss at .Gottingen in 1836, and that of C. A. Steinheil (1801—1870) of Munich, Sir W. F. Cooke (1806–1879) and Sir C. Wheatstone in England, Joseph Henry and S. F. B. Morse (1791—1872) in the United States in 1837. In 1845 submarine telegraphy was inaugurated by the laying of an insulated conductor across the English Channel by the brothers Brett, and their temporary success was followed by the laying in 1851 of a permanent Dover-Calais cable by T. R. Crampton. In 1856 the project for an Atlantic submarine cable took shape and the Atlantic Telegraph Company was formed with a capital of £350,000, with Sir Charles Bright as engineer-in-chief and E. O. W. Whitehouse as electrician. The phenomena connected with the propagation of electric signals by underground insulated wires had already engaged the attention of Faraday in 1854, who pointed out the Leyden-jar-like action of an insulated subterranean wire. Scientific and practical questions connected with the possibility of laying an Atlantic submarine cable then began to be discussed, and Lord Kelvin was foremost in developing true scientific knowledge on this subject, and in the invention of appliances for utilizing it. One of his earliest and most useful contributions (in 1858) was the invention of the mirror galvanometer. Abandoning the long and somewhat heavy magnetic needles that had been used up to that date in galvanometers, he attached to the back of a very small mirror made of microscopic glass a fragment of magnetized watch-spring, and suspended the mirror and needle by means of a cocoon fibre in the centre of a coil of insulated wire. By this simple device he provided a means of measuring small electric currents far in advance of anything yet accomplished, and this instrument proved not only most useful in pure scientific researches, but at the same time was of the utmost value in connexion with sub-marine telegraphy. The history of the initial failures and final success in laying the Atlantic cable has been well told by Mr. Charles Bright(see The Story of the Atlantic Cable, London, 1903).1 The first cable laid in 1857 broke on the 11th of August during laying. The second attempt in 1858 was successful, but the cable completed on the 5th of August 1858 broke down on the 2oth of October 1858, after 732 messages had passed through it. The third cable laid in 1865 was lost on the 2nd of August 1865, but in 1866 a final success was attained and the 1865 cable also recovered and completed. Lord Kelvin's mirror galvanometer was first used in receiving signals through the. short-lived 1858 cable. In 1867 he invented his beautiful siphon-recorder for receiving and recording the signals through long cables. Later, in conjunction with Prof. Fleeming Jenkin, he devised his automatic curb sender, an appliance for sending signals by means of punched telegraphic paper tape. Lord Kelvin's contributions to the science of exact electric measurement'' were enormous. His ampere-balances, voltmeters and electrometers, and double bridge, are elsewhere described in detail (see AMPEREMETER; ELECTROMETER, and WHEATSTONE'S BRIDGE). Dynamo.—The work of Faraday from 1831 to 1851 stimulated and originated an immense mass of scientific research, but at the same time practical inventors had not been slow to perceive that it was capable of purely technical application. Faraday's copper disk rotated between the poles of a magnet, and producing thereby an electric current, became the parent of 1 See also his Submarine Telegraphs (London, 1898). x The quantitative study of electrical phenomena has been enormously assisted by the establishment of the absolute system of electrical measurement due originally to Gauss and Weber. The British Association for the advancement of science appointed in 1861 a committee on electrical units, which made its first report in 1862 and has existed ever since. In this work Lord Kelvin took a leading part. The popularization of the system was greatly assisted by the publication by Prof. J. D. Everett of The C.G.S. System of Units (London, 1891187 innumerable machines in which mechanical energy was directly converted into the energy of electric currents. Of these machines, originally called magneto-electric machines, one of the first was devised in 1832 by H. Pixii. It consisted of a fixed horseshoe armature wound over with insulated copper wire in front of which revolved about a vertical axis a horseshoe magnet. Pixii, who invented the split tube commutator for converting the alternating current so produced into a continuous current in the external circuit, was followed by. J. Saxton, E. M. Clarke, and many others in the development of the above-described magneto-electric machine. In 1857 E. W. Siemens effected a great improvement by inventing a shuttle armature and improving the shape of the field magnet. Subsequently similar machines with electromagnets were introduced by Henry Wilde (b. 1833), Siemens, Wheatstone, W. Ladd and others, and the principle of self-excitation was suggested by Wilde, C. F. Varley (1828–1883), Siemens and Wheatstone (see DYNAMO). These machines about 1866 and 1867 began to be constructed on a commercial scale and were employed in the production of the electric light. The discovery of electric-current induction also led to the production of the induction coil (q.v.), improved and brought to its present perfection by W. Sturgeon, E. R. Ritchie, N. J. Callan, H. D. Ruhmkorff (1803–1877), A. H. L. Fizeau, and more recently by A. Apps and modern inventors. About the same time Fizeau and J. B. L. Foucault devoted attention to the invention of automatic apparatus for the production of Davy's electric arc (see LIGHTING: Electric), and these appliances in conjunction with magneto-electric machines were soon employed in lighthouse work. With the advent of large magneto-electric machines the era of electrotechnics was fairly entered, and this period, which maybe said to terminate about 1867 to 1869, was consummated by the theoretical work of Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell's Researches.—James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) entered on his electrical studies with a desire to ascertain if the ideas of Faraday, so different from those of Poisson and the French mathematicians, could be made the foundation of a mathematical method and brought under the power of analysis .3 Maxwell started with the conception that all electric and magnetic phenomena are due to effects taking place in the, dielectric or in the ether if the space be vacuous. The phenomena of light had compelled physicists to postulate a space-filling medium, to which the name ether had been given, and Henry and Faraday had long previously suggested the idea of an electromagnetic medium. The vibrations of this medium constitute the agency called light. Maxwell saw that it was unphilosophical to assume a multiplicity of ethers or media until it had been proved that one would not fulfil all the requirements. He formulated the conception, therefore, of electric charge as consisting in a displacement taking place in the dielectric or electromagnetic medium (see ELECTROSTATICS). Maxwell never committed himself to a precise definition of the physical nature of electric displacement, but considered it as defining that which Faraday had called the polarization in the insulator, or, what is equivalent, the number of lines of electrostatic force passing. normally through a unit of area in the dielectric. A second fundamental conception of Maxwell was that the electric displacement whilst it is changing is in effect an electric current, and creates, therefore, magnetic force. The total current at any point in a dielectric must be considered as made up of two parts: first, the true conduction current, if it exists; and second, the rate of change of dielectric displacement. The fundamental fact connecting electric cur-rents and magnetic fields is that the line integral of magnetic force taken once round a conductor conveying an electric current is equal to 4 a-times the surface integral of the current density, or to 4 7r-times the total current flowing through the closed line round which the integral is taken (see ELECTROKINETICS). A second relation connecting magnetic and electric force is ' The first paper in which Maxwell began to translate Faraday's conceptions into mathematical language was " On Faraday's Lines of Force," read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society on the loth of December 1855 and the 11th of February 1856. See Maxwell's' Collected Scientific Papers, i. 155. based upon Faraday's fundamental law of induction, that the rate of change of the total magnetic flux linked with a conductor is a measure of the electromotive force created in it (see ELECTROKINETICS). Maxwell also introduced in this connexion the notion of the vector potential. Coupling together these ideas he was finally enabled to prove that the propagation of electric and magnetic force takes place through space with a certain velocity determined by the dielectric constant and the magnetic permeability of the medium. To take a simple instance, if we consider an electric current as flowing in a conductor it is, as Oersted discovered, surrounded by closed lines of magnetic force. If we imagine the current in the conductor to be instantaneously reversed in direction, the magnetic force surrounding it would not be instantly reversed everywhere in direction, but the reversal would be propagated outwards through space with a certain velocity which Maxwell showed was inversely as the square root of the product of the magnetic permeability and the dielectric constant or specific inductive capacity of the medium. These great results were announced by him for the first time in a paper presented in 1864 to the Royal Society of London and printed in the Phil. Trans. for 1865, entitled " A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field." Maxwell showed in this paper that the velocity of propagation of an electromagnetic impulse through space could also be determined by certain experimental methods which consisted in measuring the same electric quantity, capacity, resistance or potential in two ways. W. E. Weber had already laid the foundations of the absolute system of electric and magnetic measurement, and proved that a quantity of electricity could be measured either by the force it exercises upon another static or stationary quantity of electricity, or magnetically by the force this quantity of electricity exercises upon a magnetic pole when flowing through a neighbouring conductor. The two systems of measurement were called respectively the electrostatic and the electromagnetic systems (see UNITS, PHYSICAL). Maxwell suggested new methods for the determination of this ratio of the electrostatic to the electromagnetic units, and by experiments of great ingenuity was able to show that this ratio, which is also that of the velocity of the propagation of an electromagnetic impulse through space, is identical with that of light. This great fact once ascertained, it became clear that the notion that electric phenomena are affections of the luminiferous ether was no longer a mere speculation but a scientific theory capable of verification. An immediate deduction from Maxwell's theory was that in transparent dielectrics, the dielectric constant or specific inductive capacity should be numerically equal to the square of the refractive index for very long electric waves. At the time when Maxwell developed his theory the dielectric constants of only a few transparent insulators were known and these were for the most part measured with steady or unidirectional electromotive force. The only refractive indices which had been measured were the optical refractive indices of a number of transparent substances. Maxwell made a comparison between the optical refractive index and the dielectric constant of paraffin wax, and the approximation between the numerical values of the square of the first and that of the last was sufficient to show that there was a basis for further work. Maxwell's electric and magnetic ideas were gathered together in a great mathematical treatise on electricity and magnetism which was published in 1873.1 This book stimulated in a most remarkable degree theoretical and practical research into the phenomena of electricity and magnetism. Experimental methods were devised for the further exact measurements of the electromagnetic velocity and numerous determinations of the dielectric constants of various solids, liquids and gases, and comparisons of these with the corresponding optical refractive indices were conducted. This early work indicated that whilst there were a number of cases in which the square 1 A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (2 vols.), by James Clerk Maxwell, sometime professor of experimental physics in the university of Cambridge. A second edition was edited by Sir W. D. Niven in 1881 and a third by Prof. Sir J. J. Thomson in 1891.of optical refractive index for long waves and the dielectric constant of the same substance were sufficiently close to afford an apparent confirmation of Maxwell's theory, yet in other cases there were considerable divergencies. L. Boltzmann (1844-1907) made a large number of determinations for solids and for gases, and the dielectric constants of many solid and liquid substances were determined by N. N. Schiller (b. 1848), P. A. Silow (b. 185o), J. Hopkinson and others. The accumulating determinations of the numerical value of the electromagnetic velocity (v) from the earliest made by Lord Kelvin (Sir W. Thomson) with the aid of King and M°Kichan, or those of Clerk Maxwell, W. E. Ayrton and J. Perry, to more recent ones by J. J. Thomson, F. Himstedt, H. A. Rowland, E. B. Rosa, J. S. H. Pellat and H. A. Abraham, showed it to be very close to the best determinations of the velocity of light (see UNITS, PHYSICAL). On the other hand, the divergence in some cases between the square of the optical refractive index and the dielectric constant was very marked. Hence although Maxwell's theory of electrical action when first propounded found many adherents in Great Britain, it did not so much dominate opinion on the continent of Europe.
End of Article: THIRD PERIOD
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THIRLBY (or THIRLEBY), THOMAS (c. 1506-1570)

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