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  • Oh, all right.

  • What do you think?

  • Mhm.

  • Yeah, you're standing in a street in a british town in the late victorian era.

  • The old queen's still on the throne.

  • It's a time between the old world and the new.

  • It's a winter's night cold and moonless.

  • You should also imagine one more thing.

  • There's electric streetlight high off the ground.

  • The lamp is flickering and hissing underneath the streetlight stands A woman, she has an intelligent, determined face and curly hair pinned in a mound on top of her head.

  • She's staring up at the electric light.

  • It's an arc lamp, a wisp of lightning crackling between two electrodes.

  • She's listening to the hips, noticing that when the ark buzzes, the light dims, she knows those lights threw off sparks, they can start fires.

  • She's imagining a future where electric light could be bright even and safe.

  • She's thinking how can I make that happen for her?

  • To Mark Certain had always had to be ingenious.

  • Born into a Jewish family in Portsmouth in 1854, Her father was dead by the time she was seven, leaving the family with little more than a pile of debt.

  • But her, to Mark Certain was what you might call a bright spark and always inventive.

  • She was stubborn, tomboyish and outspoken.

  • Every evening for a year after a full day of work, Mark Certain studied for the Cambridge University entrance exam.

  • She passed in 1874 with Honours in Mathematics and English.

  • She was an astonishingly hard worker and made her first recorded invention a speak mama, nanometer.

  • That would draw a graph of a person's pulse.

  • After graduating, she carried on teaching and inventing.

  • In 1888, she delivered a series of six hugely popular public lectures on electricity, in which he held out to her audience, a compelling vision of an electrified future.

  • Electric arc lights were used in street lamps.

  • They provided incredibly bright lightning in a bottle, but they were volatile and poorly understood.

  • To make them safe and reliable.

  • Someone needed to invent a way to precisely control their dangerous temperamental power.

  • So her to Mark said, and asked herself, why did arc lights flicker, and how could she stop them doing it?

  • She put together an intricate and comprehensive set of experiments to test out every possibility.

  • She often had to hold the ark steady by hand for four or five hours to get consistent results.

  • And Mark that and deduced the electric arc hissed when oxygen was present in small craters in the carbon surface.

  • The hiss was the sound of the carbon oxidizing.

  • To stop this happening her to Mark Certain invented and patented a new kind of carbon rod coated with a copper film to stop oxygen reaching the sides of the electrodes as she predicted this gave a steadier arc a more dependable light.

  • Her to Mark Certain wanted to make streetlights safer and she did the arc light, helped create a new after dark world of working, playing shopping and exploring.

  • She ended up sparking life into detonators, three D printing and maybe one day rocket launchers for space travel her to mark certain tamed lightning.

  • The ark that burned so brightly between the electrodes of those early lights was uncontrollable.

  • A wisp of lightning if you like, Mark Seaton got that lightning under her control and gave it to the world.

  • Yeah, Yeah.

  • Thanks for watching.

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B2 arc lightning electric ark carbon lamp

The woman who tamed lightning | Hertha Marks Ayrton | BBC Ideas

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/11/18
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