Trivia

Hard

The Speed Of Electricity Was First Measured By What Method?

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

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

Very Hard

The Largest Recorded Family Tree In The World Belongs To The Descendants Of?

Trivia

Hard

The First Computer Sold Exclusively As A Consumer Product Was The?

Trivia

Easy

The Only Alcohol Recognized By Congress Is?

Trivia

Hard

Who Produced The World’s First Commercial 1TB Hard Drive?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Is An Unusual Source Of Humidity During Midwestern Summers?

Trivia

Hard

One Of Tesla’s Early Experiments Caused New Yorkers To Panic Over What?

Trivia

Hard

In The Late 19th Century, There Was A Global Panic Over Increasing Amounts Of?

Trivia

Easy

The Standardized Unit of Smell Is Known As What?

Trivia

Hard

The Square Where Julius Caesar Was Assassinated Is Now A?

Trivia

Hard

The Beverage Category “Soft Drink” Derives Its Name From?