Dr. Steven Shropshire (ISU Physics Professor) and his team of students, namely Ben Pearson, Bryce Graham and William Alston took us for an electrifying tour into their world of physics. Dr. Shropshire gave a presentation on the basic concepts of ELECTROMAGNETISM through a series of interactive demonstrations and interesting experiments.
As generally known, electricity and magnetism are two distinct topics, but as we explored the physics behind it, there is always a connection between the two which make them inseparable. This relationship between electricity and magnetism gave rise to the phenomenon of electromagnetism-discovered by a 19th century physicist named Hans Christian Orsted. He noticed that a compass needle, which is magnetic, would be deflected when placed near a wire with an electric current, this as we observed is true. Later developments proved that this electric current surrounding the wire creates a magnetic field. Which brought up the question: If electric currents can create a magnetic field, can a moving magnet create an electric current? Dr. Shropshire explained this concept through several demonstrations.And yes, it would create an electric current as it did light up a light bulb as it moved over a magnet. Voila! Let there be light! This magnificent discovery established the link between electricity and magnetism which still exists in our modern world today.
This simple phenomenon has shaped the world around us today. Mostly everything that we use in our everyday lives contains some electromagnetic component. For instance, electric/gas appliances, TVs, computers, video games, music, internet, cell phones, radio, medical equipment, cars, etc.-just to name a few. What would we do without all those everyday devices that have become necessities, or without all the high-tech medical equipments that are saving lives today? It’s hard to imagine life without all this technology that we’ve become so used to. Thanks to Dr. Shropshire for the wonderful demonstrations that we were able to see the construction and basic structure behind everyday devices such as hair dryers, small motors, radio, TV, earphones, speakers, generators, transformers, etc-all from the basic concept of Electromagnetism. It was truly an eye-opener and an immediate reminder of how fortunate we are today because of this discovery.
Thank you Dr. Shropshire, Ben, Bryce and William. We sincerely appreciate your time and effort in putting this field trip together.