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This subject will study the early history of electricity between 1730 and 1830 by replicating historical experiments. Today, electricity is ubiquitous, modern society relies on it. Electricity is also considered to be dangerous. During the 18th century electricity was regarded in a very different manner. Electrical experiments were performed as public spectacles to the entertainment of enlightened audiences that wished to experience electricity first hand. Many of these experiments also produced challenges to the understanding of what electricity was. Debates around electricity also were linked to enlightenment ideas of equality, American independence, the French Revolution and the romantic fantasies of Dr Frankenstein.
In the subject, we will act as an 18th century scientific society trying to reproduce phenomena discovered elsewhere. We will use role playing elements to gain a better understanding of the early development of electricity, its cultural context and its political significance.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- Possess a broad knowledge and understanding of the history of modern science;
- Possess a deep knowledge of the history of electricity;
- Be able to create sustained and critical arguments using experimental data and implement the consequences of their arguments in the design of new experiments;
- Have develope an awareness of the relationship between electrodynamics and its history;
- Understand the complex relationship between theory formation and its historical context;
- Possess effective communication and presentation skills (written and oral), and the ability to collaborate constructively within the classroom;
- Demonstrate ethical integrity in written work and classroom activities.
Last updated: 22 November 2023