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What came first?

  1. Jun 6, 2004 #1
    Well folks, this one is a seemingly simple question, but i am not sure if it is really so.

    All that I want to know is what was invented first?

    Electricity, or Electric Bulb (or for that matter, anything which requires electricity to function).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2004 #2


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    "Electricity" as such, can not be invented. It exists independent of our existence, so it could only have been discovered. However, if you mean "electricity" in the sense of "electric generation and transmission", then that's a different question. I know that Edison was involved with both. He was a strong proponent against the use of AC power in household outlets. And surely he was 'involved' in the invention of the incandescent bulb - whether or not he was the first is debatable - and he tried a whole cartload of filamant materials, some of them really bizarre.
  4. Jun 7, 2004 #3
    erm... i think this question is as cruel as "what appeared earlier a hen or an egg?"
    imho, there is no sense in such questions, because in physics everything is in a strict connection with each other. you perform an experiment - receive the results - try to find some laws - create the theory - check the theory using the experiment, while the manner of the experiment is determined by the theory and so on... so, say to create a bulb you needed electric current, that is some basic knowledge on electricity, but this knowldege is based on the experiments, which deal with "bulbs", paper etc...
  5. Jun 7, 2004 #4
    well Gokul43201 may be right about the invention and discovery, but the basic question posed here is, if bulb was invented first then it was on what basis and how was it tested.
    on the other hand, if electricity was invented (discovered) first, what was the aim behind it, i mean they must have been working on it with some aim in mind, which definitely was not of a bulb.

    try finding a more suitable answer. plz!!!
  6. Jun 7, 2004 #5
    Perhaps at the time of its discovery electricity was an example of a 'solution without a problem'? In other words, people weren't really sure what it was useful for.

    I'm not sure if this is true in this case, but my point is that not all discoveries need an 'aim'. The laser is another good example, it took people years to figure out what to use them for, but now we couldn't imagine life without them.

  7. Jun 9, 2004 #6
    that is a little bit convincing, baffledmatt, and u may be right but i'm still open for anyone else who can give a little better answer.
  8. Jun 14, 2004 #7


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    Electricity (except it wasn't invented). People used naturally occurring electricity long before light bulbs. One example I can think of is the old custom of touching electric eels to cure headaches.
  9. Jun 14, 2004 #8
    hmm tell me how you "invent" electricity... besides a way to generate it
  10. Jun 22, 2004 #9
    Electricity must have come first because without it it would have been impossible to know if a light bulb worked. Anyway electricity can be created by a magnet spinning in an iron frame with a coil of wire around the iron. This cannot have been hard to do. It would most likely have been tried to see the affect on the iron and the poor person holding the wires got an electric shock.

    Not much from me because I think it is a bit naff but never mind. :tongue2:

    The Bob (2004 ©)
  11. Jun 23, 2004 #10


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    Electricity was not invented, it was discovered. Moreover, what we describe as electromagnetism is something that has been studied for more than 4000 years, and our current views are heavily influenced by discoveries from the 19th century (maxwell's equations) and, in some situations by even more recent discoveries. Consequently, even if we allow for invented to be replaced by discovered, it's not at all apparent when exactly electricity was discovered.

    Similarly, "anything which requires electricity to function" is quite unclear. Electro-chemical processes take place in all terestrial life. The radio emissions from astronomical masers that is being measured now originated millions of years ago. Even on a human scale, magnetic compasses have been used for a long time.
  12. Jun 23, 2004 #11


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    See, now this is what happens when the physicists don't drop in and visit us in the biology topic. :wink: The chicken had to come first. The egg would have been the egg of a different species in which a sufficient mutation would have occurred for a chick to hatch that was a different species from its parent. Evolution! :biggrin:
  13. Jun 23, 2004 #12


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    Except that what you're describing is the egg coming first. I.e. if a chicken has to hatch out of a chicken egg, then the original chicken egg was not technically laid by a chicken - it was a mutant egg laid by a fowl-that-is-almost-a-chicken-but-not-quite (Pulletus approximus :wink: )
  14. Jun 24, 2004 #13
    You are also assuming that evolution happened.

    The Bob (2004 ©)
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