Electro- Magnetic


Dr.Colin Pounder.

Copyright 1990.


All science tries to reduce the diversity of things in the world to mere differences of appearance, and treats as many things as possible as variants of the same stuff. When Benjamin Franklin found out that lightning is one form of electricity, he made a scientific discovery, which proved to be but a step in a very great science, for an amazing number of things can be reduced to this same fundamental "something" , this protean substance called "electricity": the force that holds the firmament together, the crackle of a cat`s fur, the heat in a flat-iron, the flickering Northern Aurora. Electricity is one of the essential things in the world that can take on a vast variety of forms. Its wide mutability makes nature interesting, and its ultimate oneness makes science possible.`

Susanne K. Langer



It is my intention to take you on a journey to look at some of the forms this protean stuff called `electricity` takes.

True science is an application of childlike curiosity about the Universe. The investigations of electricity were made originally by enthusiastic amateurs - lovers of their subject. Today most amateurs are as enthusiastic as ever and willing to help anyone interested.


No one has yet given an acceptable answer to the question:-

What is electricity?



Of course we can try to answer . We observe, we suggest a hypothesis, we do a few experiments (restricted observations) modify our hypothesis or throw it out and in time maybe dare to present a theory.

In the 18th and most of the 19th centuries electricity was thought of as a fluid. These days the activities of electrons and protons are used to try and explain electrical phenomena. Unfortunately if you should try to get a close look at an electron using the latest model it does a Cheshire Cat on you and you are left with a grin, or a grimace, depending how seriously you take all the `hypothesising` which goes on.

At best we might say matter seems to be made of electricity and most of the structures and activities of matter involve electricity behaving in one way or another. But then again others,LeBon, for instance have suggested that electricity is a property of matter.

On this journey we will see electricity manifested in natural phenomena, early discoveries and speculations and investigations by amateurs of the 17th and 18th centuries. There follows some in depth and detailed information on Volcanic electricity - I will tell you how I discovered the electrically charged solute particles which give volcanic lightning ;Thunderstorms and a collection of electrical and magnetic items in Nature.

In some instances I will suggest some simple experiments. These will not involve great expense money wise but should put your talents to improvise to real benefit. The idea in each case will be for you to see for yourself and experience some phenomenon; after all you are your best teacher. You are you know! - Only you know what you find difficult - easy - and the way which works best for you.

A good teacher should endeavour to get as near to each individual student`s way of thinking and thereby be of some use. All other approaches are not teaching but attempts at mere imposition often of poorly understood material.

What you have learned by yourself leaves a track in your mind which can be used again.



Under no circumstances experiment with electricity without a thorough knowledge of safety in the use of materials and electricity. Nearly all basic circuits can be studied with 3volts. Do not go above 9volts in your early stages. Never take chances. Beware of circuits where capacitors and or large inductors are used. The electrostatic experiments here involve very high voltage but extremely low currents. You experience these in your daily life anyway from sparks from clothes to shocks from the carpet, the dog and the cat.

If you do not know what I am talking about be content for the time being to read, learn,enjoy and above all have fun. Science which is not fun is not science.




Some Natural Phenomena

Experiments With Frictional Electricity

Electrons in Action

Lichtenberg`s Figures

A Flash of Lightning


Volcanic Lightning

Steam Electricity

Leidenfrost`s Phenomenon

Charged Solute Particles Discovery

Leidenfrost Tractatus 1756 Translation

Waves Drops Bubbles

Asymmetrical and Dust Charging





June 2011.

Leidenfrost summarised at ALSO Photo Album of material taken since page was first initiated