The magnetic attraction of St Albans

Posted: 05/09/2016

It is generally accepted that British scientist Michael Faraday developed the earliest methods of commercial electricity generation in the 1820s and 1830s. His principles gave birth to what is now known as electromagnetic induction and is the most commonly used way of generating electricity today. This process was, however, dependent upon the earlier discovery of magnetism and those ancient brainboxes who played with its potential.


Pointing the way to electricity

Some 650 years before Faraday was exploring the effects of metals and magnets, a scientist and theologian called Alexander Neckam, from St Albans, described the workings of a compass used for navigation by sailors. It was 1175, and while visiting Paris, he came across the phenomenon: going on to make earliest written record of this scientific discovery. Maybe it was his writings which inspired others (like Faraday) to investigate the strange natural energy which led to all of the wonders of modern technology we take for granted today.


Small steps make a big difference

Perhaps it is too far-fetched to suggest Necham and St Albans played a part in the discovery of electricity, but you simply never know. It is worth considering, however, that with the mere touch of a button you can now fill a stadium with light, start a mighty engine, or hold a conversation across the globe – thanks to electricity.


When attached to power and knowledge a small movement can make a massive difference. What could you say, do or set in motion today that could help someone else or energise a whole group of people you know? Perhaps, like our local 12th Century hero, you could be an influence for light today.

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