Static Electricity Day is every year on January 9. It is a day dedicated to the funny (and sometimes annoying) electric charge phenomenon and learning why and how it happens. Humans are no strangers to static electricity since we can see, feel, and hear its effects in most cases. Static electricity is around us in more forms than just static shock and is quite useful and harmless.
History of Static Electricity Day
Static electricity refers to an increased electric charge present on the surface of an object. This charge either remains on said surface, travels to the ground, gets discharged, or transfers onto another object. When you rub two objects together, they acquire equal and opposite charges developing an attraction between them. Simply put, opposites attract and the electric force is basically an attraction between opposite charges.
Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus, was the first to mention static electricity in his accounts. While cleaning his amber he found that smaller dust particles would start sticking to it when he rubbed it. This was followed up 300 years later when Theophrastus rubbed different stones together to observe this “power of attraction.” None of them, however, went on to research this phenomenon in depth.
Around 2,000 years later, once the term ‘electricity’ had been coined, there was room for a deeper understanding and research of the concept. German scientist Otto von Guericke started researching static electricity, French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb researched a fixed quantity of static electricity, and American scientist Benjamin Franklin associated static electricity with storms. Another key player was scientist Michael Faraday, who proved that electricity from a magnet, voltaic electricity produced by a battery, and static electricity are the same. Once there was more understanding of the concept, static electricity started being used in magic tricks, innovations, etc. Today we are surrounded by static electricity in our daily lives. It is often mistaken to be merely a static shock, but it is so much more.
Static Electricity Day timeline
Thales of Miletus finds a mysterious, attractive force when rubbing his amber clean.
Otto von Guericke conducts in-depth research on static electricity when he makes the friction generator.
Scientists make further discoveries with a basic understanding of the topic, and people begin to use it.
Michael Faraday discovers that the study of static electricity can be considered the study of electricity in general.
Static Electricity Day FAQs
Can static electricity kill you?
Given the makeup of the human body, static electricity can’t seriously harm you. However, lightning can be dangerous, even though 70% of lightning strike victims survive.
Is it bad to sleep with static electricity?
While static electricity in itself isn’t bad, the friction created by it can result in stress and anxiety, which further disrupts sleep.
Can I reduce static electricity in my home?
Yes, you can have indoor plants, walk barefoot, humidify the air, wear natural fabrics, etc.
Static Electricity Day Activities
Learn about static electricity
Static electricity is more than a random spark we experience here and there. It is an important scientific phenomenon essential for the functioning of many of our daily life objects. Use the day to understand more about it.
Identify static electricity
You will find static electricity all around you, from copy machines to computing applications. You will be surprised to know how static electricity is present. Try to identify some of these objects.
Prepare for static electricity
Static electricity is more present and active in colder, drier months, leading to more static shocks. You can take measures to reduce its effects, such as moisturizing your skin before putting on clothes, installing a humidifier in the house during winters, etc.
5 Interesting Facts About Static Electricity
The sky has static electricity
Lightning is the result of electric charge exchange between clouds.
There is power within you
Rubbing a balloon on your head and then putting a bulb on the charged balloon causes it to make small sparks.
A photocopy of attraction
Photocopiers use static electricity to attract ink or toner to the paper.
When brushing your hair with a plastic comb, it becomes charged and attracts smaller particles such as tiny pieces of paper.
It’s hot, hot, hot
A lightning bolt, for example, can go up to 50,000°F!
Why We Love Static Electricity Day
It is essential
Without static electricity, our daily life tasks would look different. For instance, there would be no air filters or photocopy machines, and even pollution control in factories would not be possible without it.
It can be entertaining
Several magic tricks utilize static electricity and its effects for entertainment purposes. Whether it is Stephen Gray’s “flying boy experiment” or different party tricks using a head-charged balloon, the entertainment value of static electricity is quite high.
Are you telling us you’ve never said you had a SPARK with someone you got a static shock from? And let’s not forget the endless electricity puns that SHOCK the crowd. Okay, we’ll stop now, but we are so CHARGED up.
Static Electricity Day dates