by Redwood Kardon Picture animations by Paddy Morrissey
Around 2600 years ago, Greek experimenters observed that invisible fields of attraction could be generated by rubbing amber (petrified tree resin) on lamb’s wool. Once charged in this way, the wool would attract light materials such as feathers and straw. If rubbed hard enough, miniature lightning-like sparks could be generated. Humans had begun to produce electricity. The phenomenon was duly noted, without any understanding of its causes, and essentially left unexplored for nearly two thousand years.