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History of Electrochemistry

Almost three thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle postulated that all matter is comprised of four basic elements: earth, water, air, and fire. The idea dominated science until the late 18th century, when revolutionaries from rival nations transformed chemistry from a jumble of medieval alchemy into a true science. The pace of discovery accelerated rapidly as chemists on the frontiers of knowledge established the theories and methodologies of modern science. Electrochemical systems have played a determinant role in the history of mankind. They are an intrinsic part of our evolution on this Planet.

The whole of electrical technologies is based on magnetic and electrical phenomena and no history of the subject can ignore the origins of these two groups, remote and sometimes uncertain as these origins may be. For many centuries man has observed magnetic effects in natural minerals found in the ground and electrical effects in lightning, the aurora borealis, St. Elmo's fire, the electric eel and the attraction of light objects by natural resins when rubbed.

Some of these observations have been put to practical use from the very earliest recorded times--the lodestone for navigation, the electric eel for medicinal purposes-so that, if electrical engineering is the practical application of electrical and magnetic science, there is a sense in which it has not only its roots in the remote past but Actually existed as a human activity even in those far-off days. The two sides, magnetism and electricity, however, remained quite apart until the beginning of the nineteenth century when the discovery of the close relationship between them brought the two streams of thought together and opened the way to the establishment of their interrelation. The great surge forward on the foundation of electromagnetism made modern electrical engineering.

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