What is Electricity

Amber - fossilized tree resinFor thousands of years, people have been aware of electricity and its effects, but they didn't really know how it was made.

They knew about lightning and its effects.

They also knew about electric eels and even tried using their electric shocks to cure diseases and headaches!

The Greeks knew that if you took a piece of amber and rubbed it, it would hold a charge that would attract light objects such as feathers.  It was a curiosity for a long time.

It wasn't until the 1600s when English scientist William Gilbert made a study of various electrical phenomena, and came up with the phrase electricus which is Latin for 'made of amber'.


Lightning is created when air particles rub against each other, creating a static charge.

This charge then reaches a stage where it can reach the ground and creates the giant electrical spark that is lightning.

A lightning strike in Australia!

William Gilbert who coined the word electricity.