Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology
TOPIC:                                          LIGHTING AND ELECTRICITY

Lighting[1] or illumination is the deliberate application of light to achieve some aesthetic or practical effect. Lighting includes use of both artificial light sources such as lamps and natural illumination of interiors from daylight. Day lighting (through windows, skylights, etc.) is often used as the main source of light during daytime in buildings given its high quality and low cost. Artificial lighting represents a major component of energy consumption, accounting for a significant part of all energy consumed worldwide. Artificial lighting is most commonly provided today by electric lights, but gas lighting, candles, or oil lamps were used in the past, and still are used in certain situations. Proper lighting can enhance task performance or aesthetics, while there can be energy wastage and adverse health effects of poorly designed lighting. Indoor lighting is a form of fixture or furnishing, and a key part of interior design. Lighting can also be an intrinsic component of landscaping. Electricity[2] is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire. In addition, electricity encompasses less familiar concepts such as the electromagnetic field and electromagnetic induction. In general usage, the word "electricity" adequately refers to a number of physical effects. In scientific usage, however, the term is vague, and these related, but distinct, concepts are better identified by more precise terms: Electric charge is a property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interactions. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces, electromagnetic fields. Electric current is a movement or flow of electrically charged particles, typically measured in amperes. Electric field is an influence produced by an electric charge on other charges in its vicinity. Electric potential is the capacity of an electric field to do work on an electric charge, typically measured in volts. Electromagnetism is a fundamental interaction between the magnetic field and the presence and motion of an electric charge. The most common use of the word "electricity" is less precise. It refers to as: The Electric power provided commercially by the electrical power industry. In a loose but common use of the term, "electricity" may be used to mean "wired for electricity" which means a working connection to an electric power station. Such a connection grants the user of "electricity" access to the electric field present in electrical wiring, and thus to electric power. Electrical phenomena have been studied since antiquity, though advances in the science were not made until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Practical applications for electricity however remained few, and it would not be until the late nineteenth century that engineers were able to put it to industrial and residential use. The rapid expansion in electrical technology at this time transformed industry and society. Electricity's extraordinary versatility as a source of energy means it can be put to an almost limitless set of applications which include transport, heating, lighting, communications, and computation. Electrical power is the backbone of modern industrial society, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.[3]

Long before any knowledge of electricity existed people were aware of shocks from electric fish. Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BC referred to these fish as the "Thunderer of the Nile", and described them as the "protectors" of all other fish. Electric fish were again reported millennia later by ancient Greek, Roman and Arabic naturalists and physicians.[4] Several ancient writers, such as Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus, attested to the numbing effect of electric shocks delivered by catfish and torpedo rays, and knew that such shocks could travel along conducting objects.[5]

Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or headache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt might cure them.[6] Possibly the earliest and nearest approach to the discovery of the identity of lightning, and electricity from any other source, is to be attributed to the Arabs, who before the 15th century had the Arabic word for lightning (raad) applied to the electric ray.[7] Ancient cultures around the Mediterranean knew that certain objects, such as rods of amber, could be rubbed with cat's fur to attract light objects like feathers. Thales of Miletos made a series of observations on static electricity around 600 BC, from which he believed that friction rendered amber magnetic, in contrast to minerals such as magnetite, which needed no rubbing.[8]

Thales was incorrect in believing the attraction was due to a magnetic effect, but later science would prove a link between magnetism and electricity. According to a controversial theory, the Parthians may have had knowledge of electroplating, based on the 1936 discovery of the Baghdad Battery, which resembles a galvanic cell, though it is uncertain whether the artifact was electrical in nature.[9] Electricity would remain little more than an intellectual curiosity for millennia until 1600, when the English scientist William Gilbert made a careful study of electricity and magnetism, distinguishing the lodestone effect from static electricity produced by rubbing amber.[10] He coined the New Latin word electricus ("of amber" or "like amber", from ήλεκτρον [elektron], the Greek word for "amber") to refer to the property of attracting small objects after being rubbed.[11]

This association gave rise to the English words "electric" and "electricity", which made their first appearance in print in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1646.[12] Further work was conducted by Otto von Guericke, Robert Boyle, Stephen Gray and C. F. du Fay. In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin conducted extensive research in electricity, selling his possessions to fund his work. In June 1752 he is reputed to have attached a metal key to the bottom of a dampened kite string and flown the kite in a storm-threatened sky.[13] A succession of sparks jumping from the key to the back of the hand showed that lightning was indeed electrical in nature.[14]

In 1791, Luigi Galvani published his discovery of bioelectricity, demonstrating that electricity was the medium by which nerve cells passed signals to the muscles.[15] Alessandro Volta's battery, or voltaic pile, of 1800, made from alternating layers of zinc and copper, provided scientists with a more reliable source of electrical energy than the electrostatic machines previously used.[16] The recognition of electromagnetism, the unity of electric and magnetic phenomena, is due to Hans Christian Ørsted and André-Marie Ampère in 1819-1820; Michael Faraday invented the electric motor in 1821, and Georg Ohm mathematically analysed the electrical circuit in 1827.[13] Electricity and magnetism (and light) were definitively linked by James Clerk Maxwell, in particular in his "On Physical Lines of Force" in 1861 and 1862.[17] While it had been the early 19th century that had seen rapid progress in electrical science, the late 19th century would see the greatest progress in electrical engineering. Through such people as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Ottó Bláthy, Ányos Jedlik, Sir Charles Parsons, Joseph Swan, George Westinghouse, Ernst Werner von Siemens, Alexander Graham Bell and Lord Kelvin, electricity was turned from a scientific curiosity into an essential tool for modern life, becoming a driving force for the Second Industrial Revolution.[18] 


[1] LIGHTING; From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighting (Retrieved April 19, 2011)
[2] Electricity; From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity (Retrieved April 19, 2011)
[3] Jones, D.A., "Electrical engineering: the backbone of society", Proceedings of the IEE: Science, Measurement and Technology 138 (1): 1–10 
[4] Moller, Peter; Kramer, Bernd (December 1991), "Review: Electric Fish", BioScience (American Institute of Biological Sciences) 41 (11): 794–6 [794]
[5] Bullock, Theodore H. (2005), Electroreception, Springer, pp. 5–7, ISBN 0387231927 
[6] Morris, Simon C. (2003), Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 182–185, ISBN 0521827043 
[7] The Encyclopedia Americana; a library of universal knowledge (1918), New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corp
[8] Stewart, Joseph (2001), Intermediate Electromagnetic Theory, World Scientific, p. 50, ISBN 9-8102-4471-1  and Simpson, Brian (2003), Electrical Stimulation and the Relief of Pain, Elsevier Health Sciences, pp. 6–7, ISBN 0-4445-1258-6 
[9] Frood, Arran (27 February 2003), Riddle of 'Baghdad's batteries', BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2804257.stm (Retrieved April 19, 2011)
[10] Ibid No. 8
[11] Baigrie, Brian (2006), Electricity and Magnetism: A Historical Perspective, Greenwood Press, pp. 7–8, ISBN 0-3133-3358-0 
[12] Chalmers, Gordon (1937), "The Lodestone and the Understanding of Matter in Seventeenth Century England", Philosophy of Science 4 (1): 75–95
[13] Srodes, James (2002), Franklin: The Essential Founding Father, Regnery Publishing, pp. 92–94, ISBN 0895261634  It is uncertain if Franklin personally carried out this experiment, but it is popularly attributed to him.
[14] Uman, Martin (1987) (PDF), All About Lightning, Dover Publications, ISBN 048625237X,  From: http://ira.usf.edu/CAM/exhibitions/1998_12_McCollum/supplemental_didactics/23.Uman1.pdf (Retrieved April 19, 2011)
[15] Kirby, Richard S. (1990), Engineering in History, Courier Dover Publications, pp. 331–333, ISBN 0486264122 
[16] Ibid
[17] Berkson, William (1974) Fields of force: the development of a world view from Faraday to Einstein p.148. Routledge, 1974
[18] Marković, Dragana, The Second Industrial Revolution, http://www.b92.net/eng/special/tesla/life.php?nav_id=36502 (Retrieved April 19, 2011)

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