By William J. Turkel
Spark from the Deep tells the tale of the way humans got here to appreciate and use electrical energy by means of learning the developed mechanisms of strongly electrical fish. those animals have the capacity to surprise power prey or would-be predators with high-powered electric discharges.
William J. Turkel asks thoroughly clean questions about the evolutionary, environmental, and old facets of people’s curiosity in electrical fish. prompted through painful encounters with electrical catfish, torpedos, and electrical eels, humans discovered to harness the facility of electrical surprise for scientific cures and finally built applied sciences to shop, transmit, and keep watch over electrical energy. Now we glance to those fish as an notion for engineering new sensors, laptop interfaces, independent undersea robots, and energy-efficient batteries.
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Additional info for Spark from the Deep: How Shocking Experiments with Strongly Electric Fish Powered Scientific Discovery (Animals, History, Culture)
Theophrastus additionally mentioned the torpedo in a piece on creatures that disguise and hibernate, and he could have believed that the fish’s surprise had whatever to do with coldness, even though this interpretation has been disputed. Diphilus of Laodicea is stated to have made a chain of experiments with the fish, selecting that just some components of the reside torpedo’s physique can discharge a surprise. Theophrastus and Diphilus served as resources of data for later writers like Pliny and Plutarch, that is how we all know approximately their paintings. Plutarch wrote that individuals who came across torpedoes that were stranded alive on land and attempted to pour seawater on them, suggested feeling “a numbness seizing upon their palms and stupefying their emotions, in the course of the water affected with the standard of the fish. ” He defined the torpedo as “shoot[ing] forth the effluviums of his nature like such a lot of darts” and its prey “being (as it have been) held in chains and frozen up. ”42 regimen and huge adventure with strongly electrical fish additionally supplied individuals with new methods of puzzling over different phenomena within the actual global. the main impressive instance comes from a controversy in regards to the corpuscular nature of subject within the Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria, even if a few students imagine that it originated with Strato. either common philosophers believed that every one topic is shot via with tiny void areas. Strato, highbrow inheritor to Aristotle and Theophrastus, used this posited attribute to give an explanation for fabric phenomena like compression and elasticity. regrettably, we in simple terms understand of his paintings from later quotation, because it didn't live to tell the tale to our time. In a passage within the Pneumatics, Hero purposes that void areas in water permit the rays of the solar to penetrate to the ground of a box of the liquid. whilst wine is poured into water, it spreads all through for a similar cause: it may penetrate those interstitial areas within the water. Air has to be just like water as the mild rays from a number of lamps go through each other, illuminating items from a number of instructions in a brightly lit room. Hero is going directly to finish that there needs to be void areas in all fabric, because the surprise of the torpedo penetrates bronze, iron, and different sturdy components. during this analogy, the surprise of the torpedo is like gentle, touring via a corpuscular medium to behave at a distance. forty three the truth that the torpedo’s electrical surprise may it appears act at a distance was once considered one of its so much remarkable features, and it begged for clarification. there have been a couple of different average phenomena that looked as if it would function at a distance, resembling the appeal of chaff to rubbed amber or of iron debris to a lodestone. Did those function within the related approach or no longer? Hero of Alexandria understood the motion of the torpedo’s electrical surprise through analogy with mild. In Pliny the Elder’s account, against this, such motion at a distance should be defined if it have been because of a odor or vapor, and this had healing implications. If there have been an influence which may have an effect on the human physique by means of “exhalations” or “emanations,” Pliny wrote, “what are we to not wish for from the remedial impacts which Nature has targeted in all lively beings?