Modern Views of Electricity


DR. LODGE'S doctrine of the slope of potential, explained in his note to my letter in NATURE of February 19 (p. 367), still presents great difficulties. A plate of zinc is covered by a film of air or oxygen in a different state from the surrounding atmosphere. We first consider a point outside of the film. Dr. Lodge says this point is influenced by the ordinary dielectric strain of a static charge imparted to the zinc in any adventitious manner. That is evident. Now, when the zinc was isolated, we had a negative charge upon it, or in the film, and therefore, at the point in question, a positive slope of potential upwards from the zinc. Call it R. When we make contact with copper we introduce a positive static charge on to the zinc. The effect of this at the point in question is a negative slope of potential—that is, downwards from the zinc. Call it – R′. Then, as the final result we have an upward slope of potential, R – R′, which is less than before contact was made.

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BURBURY, S. Modern Views of Electricity. Nature 43, 439 (1891) doi:10.1038/043439a0

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