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The subject will study the early history of electricity by reenacting the historical setting of original experiments. 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.
The study of electricity began in the eighteenth century in an unusual way, as public spectacle - electrical experiments were carried out in the salons, public houses and during town festivals with many members of the public participating. However, what started as entertainment soon raised serious questions as to what electricity was and how it related to other natural phenomena. Debates around electricity also were linked to enlightenment ideas of equality, American independence, the French Revolution and the romantic fantasies of Dr Frankenstein.
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: 21 February 2020