Where does electricity come from? Has magnetism something to do with electricity? Our daily lives are so dependent on electricity that we take it for granted, but soon, we’ll be driving electric cars and watching robots cleaning our houses. How does electricity actually work? Let the author of book Discussions on Electricity, Juho Leskinen, explain how his book explores these topics.
You have authored a book that introduces the concepts of electricity and magnetism to anyone who wants to understand how electricity works. Electricity is over 100-year old invention – hasn’t anyone else written a book about it already?
Yes, great books about electricity and magnetism have been written, some of them dating back to the late 1800s. Electricity is a well-covered subject if you think about the amount of published documentation alone. However, I believe my book is different in terms of its perspective. It provides insights about the behavior of electric interactions to readers.
How do you define electricity in your book?
The absolute definition of electricity, in my opinion, is impossible to come up with. A number of different definitions cover some effects or interactions of electricity, and many of them are presented in the book. In the end, I let the reader be the judge on the definition of electricity, hopefully increasing one’s interest in the topic.
What is your favorite topic or subject in the book?
I like every topic in the book, but my favorite chapter covers circuit transients and phenomena within a close medium. I believe it brings out elements from the true nature of electricity and reminds us of its behavior as it had a will of its own.
One of the hottest trends in technology industry is the electric car. Do you believe it will become a mainstream product in the near future?
Vehicle electrification and hybridization are the words on everybody’s mind when we talk about the future of automobiles. I don’t think a fully electric car will become a mainstream product just yet, but maybe in 15-20 years it will. The biggest challenge is the energy storage, its weight and energy density, and the charging infrastructure that is required to support it. They will constantly improve, but in a slow, steady pace. I believe in the near future we will see an increasing variety of hybrid vehicles, slowly paving the way to fully electric applications.
What kind of new applications for electricity do you anticipate in the next 10 years?
The portion of electricity in a given application or a system is constantly increasing. During the next 10 years, I hope and strongly believe that we will see, for example, the ability to affect human performance with electromagnetic waves through brain wave manipulation. Other applications could be electromagnetic cloaking of objects and time, wireless power transfer, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. All of the mentioned applications are currently under research and development, but within the next 10 years, I believe, they will take major steps and become available at consumer markets. Electric phenomena will play a major role in every one of them.
What are your favorite non-fiction books?
In arbitrary order:
1. A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. I and II by James Clerk Maxwell
These books represent the fundamental theories and mathematical formulae of electromagnetism. It discusses, with great detail and elaboration, the foundations and interactions of electricity.
2. The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
This book discusses the beginning of the universe and what role God played in it. One of the main arguments is that physics alone can explain the Big Bang and science makes God unnecessary.
3. Elementary Lectures On Electric Discharges, Waves And Impulses, And Other Transients by Charles Proteus Steinmetz
Steinmetz’s writings are thorough in explaining impermanent effects in electric circuits and how to analyze them. Great reading to everyone interested in electric transients.
4. Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer
This book elucidates the life of Nikola Tesla in great detail. It goes through his life of inventions and grand plans of free wireless electricity to the whole world also introducing little known facts about his personal life.
Find out more about Juho Leskinen’s book Discussions on Electricity here.