MakesMe…Amazed: Underground Electricity

Tapping into the unexplained, even if there turns out to be a perfectly rational scientific explanation for what is being experiencing, seems magical.   Imagine if our ancestors could have seen what we can do with the gadgets  available nowadays.  I reckon that they’d think that some kind of wizardry was going on given our access to limitless information, our multi-purpose wireless personal devices and those speakers that talk back.  Even my 1970’s teenage schoolgirl self wouldn’t have been able to fathom it.   I’m so excited too about what future marvels may be introduced during the rest of my lifespan.

I discovered this week that even older technology has the ability to surprise and delight.  I studied science to degree level when I was younger but realise that, somehow,  some of the basic principles passed me by.  Was is poor teaching?  Maybe.  More likely my gaps in knowledge came about because I wasn’t concentrating.  I distinctly remember  that gazing out of windows and finding pictures in the passing cloud formations often seemed far more gripping than what was going on inside the classroom.  How the earth wire works in electrical fixtures is a case in point.  ‘I don’t get it.’ I told my boyfriend the other day.  ‘Surely for electricity to flow there must be a circuit.  Surely a wire going off into the earth and ending can’t cut the mustard.

He patiently explained that there is indeed a circuit and even found me a picture.  The energy finds its way back to the power station!  There was a device on the outside of the building that catches it.   The whole concept has blown my mind.  How do those electrons find their way back over distances of many miles?  Are they the exact same electronic particles that have been in my house or is there some sort of shared universal agreement?  And how do they know where to go?    As I’ve been driving around I’ve been preoccupied with the idea that electrons are rushing around under the wheels of my car on their way home too.  Wow!  I’m sure that a scientist or engineer could come up with perfectly rational answers to my questions but I’m the kind of person that would like to believe that fairy folk, unicorns and yes, Santa exist.  So I’ll keep on believing that some divine sorcery is at play!




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