The Experimental And Historical Foundations Of Electricity - André Koch Torres Assis
Apeiron (2010)
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The Experimental and Historical Foundations of Electricity deals with the most fundamental aspects of physics. The book describes the main experiments and discoveries in the history of electricity. It begins with the amber effect, which is analogous to the usual experiment of attracting small pieces of paper with a piece of plastic rubbed in hair. The book explains how to build several instruments: versorium, electric pendulum, electroscope and charge collectors. Electric attraction and repulsion, positive and negative charges, and the ACR mechanism (attraction, communication of electricity, and repulsion) are discussed. The concepts of conductors and insulators, together with the main differences in the behaviours of these two kinds of substances are analyzed. All experiments are clearly described and performed with simple, inexpensive materials. These experiments lead to clear concepts, definitions, and laws describing these phenomena. Historical aspects are presented, together with relevant quotations from the main scientists. The book presents an exhaustive analysis of the work of Stephen Gray (1666-1736), the great British scientist who discovered conductors and insulators, together with some of their main properties. An ample bibliography is included at the end of the work.

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Andre Koch Torres Assis was born in Brazil (1962) and educated at the University of Campinas - UNICAMP, BS (1983), PhD (1987). He spent the academic year of 1988 in England with a post-doctoral position at the Culham Laboratory (United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority). He spent one year in 1991-92 as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Electromagnetics Research of Northeastern University (Boston, USA). From August 2001 to November 2002, and from February to May 2009, he worked at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Hamburg University (Hamburg, Germany) with research fellowships awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. He is the author of Weber's Electrodynamics (1994), Relational Mechanics (1999), Inductance and Force Calculations in Electrical Circuits (with M. A. Bueno, 2001), The Electric Force of a Current (with J. A. Hernandes, 2007), and Archimedes, the Center of Gravity, and the First Law of Mechanics (2008). He has been professor of physics at UNICAMP since 1989, working on the foundations of electromagnetism, gravitation, and cosmology.