Trivia

Hard

The Speed Of Electricity Was First Measured By What Method?

Electrocuting Horses
Photographing Lightning
Monitoring Telegraph Replies
Shocking Monks with a Battery

Answer: Shocking Monks with a Battery

The first scientific, albeit unconventional, measurement of the speed of electricity was conducted in 1764 by French physicist Jean-Antoine Nollet.

In order to test the speed of electrical transmission, he gathered together hundreds of lengths of iron wire, roughly two hundred monks, and a large array of Leyden Jars (an early and primitive type of battery). The monks distributed themselves in a large circle approximately one mile in circumference with each monk holding a length of wire in one hand linking them to the next monk. Without a word of warning, Nollet discharged the contents of the Leyden Jar battery into the last length of wire, sending a large shock through the entire chain of monks.

Nollet was unable to successfully measure the actual speed of electricity with the experiment since all of the monks reacted simultaneously to the electric shock, leaving him to simply note that the transmission speed of electricity was extremely high and appeared to transverse the one mile length of monks almost instantaneously. This experiment planted the seed for the concept of telegraphy—the transmission of data over long lengths of wires using only electrical impulses.

If you’re curious how Nollet was able to find so many monks and convince them to participate in an experiment involving electrical shocks, it’s worth noting that in addition to his role as an early physicist, he was also a former deacon in the Catholic church, calling on his former colleagues to help him with his work.

Trivia

Easy

A Keyboard Shortcut Designed To Hide Your Current Activity Is Known As What?

Trivia

Hard

What Did The First Vending Machine Dispense?

Trivia

Hard

Which Country Is Second Only To The United States In Value Of Exported Foods?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Weather Phenomenon Enhance The Growth Of Mushrooms?

Trivia

Hard

Before Mike Judge, The Creator Of King Of The Hill, Was A Cartoonist He?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Ant Colony In The World Is Comprised Of Which Ant Species?

Trivia

Hard

An Entire Genus Of Spiders Is Named After The Cast And Crew Of Which Movie?

Trivia

Easy

At One Time The U.S. Military Used What To Spot Heavily Camouflaged Enemies?

Trivia

Easy

Windows 95 Had A Special File Syncing Folder Known As?

Trivia

Easy

Robert Lucas, the 1995 Nobel Prize Winner In Economics, Lost Half His Award Money To?