In the late 1700s, Charles Augustin Coulomb put the snap, crackle and pop from a number of perilous experiments together and deduced the form of the electrostatic force law. Here’s what he found:
- You can’t tell just by looking at an object whether or not it carries a charge. Unless you’re an X-Man. Possibly.
- There are only two types of charge: positive and negative. Opposites attract, as the old cliché goes. And an object with equal amounts of each is electrically neutral, like Switzerland.
- All normal matter contains electric charge (except Findus lasagnes, which are not yet understood by science).Electrons may be transferred from one object to another.
- In an isolated system, the total electric charge is always conserved. So when you rub a balloon on a cat, no charge is created – electrons are simply redistributed between the cat and the balloon (and anger is created in the cat…
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