Editorial | Published:

Problems in the Physics of an Electric Lamp: I

Nature volume 42, pages 198201 | Download Citation



MORE than eighty years ago Sir Humphry Davy provided the terminal wires of his great battery of 2000 pairs of plates with rods of carbon, and, bringing their extremities in contact, obtained for the first time a brilliant display of the electric arc.2 The years that have fled away since that time have seen all the marvellous developments of electro-magnetic engineering,have placed in our possession the electric glow-lamp, and brought the art of electrical illumination to a condition in which it progresses each year with giant strides. In addition to the importance attaching to their ever-increasing industrial' use, there are many questions of purely scientific interest which present themselves to our minds when we proceed to examine the actions that take place when a carbon conductor is rendered incandescent in a high vacuum, or when an electric are is formed between two carbon poles. It is to a very few of these physical problems that I desire to direct your attention to-night, but more especially to one which is particularly interesting from the bearing which it has on the general nature of electric discharge.

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