by Valery SHPAK, RAS Corresponding Member, Director of the Institute of Electrophysics, RAS Ural Branch
Electrophysics is a young science with an extensive history. It received the current name in late 20th century when it united different specialists--from theoretical physicists to electrical engineers. But its origin goes back as far as three centuries and is closely related to the discovery of electricity, an event, which changed drastically the course of world civilization.
American enlightener, statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin (foreign honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1789), whose portrait is on a USC-note, is rightfully considered one of the first electrophysicists. He was the first to put into practice the concept of positive and negative poles in electricity, explain the role of dielectric in an electric condenser, develop electrical fuse and bifocal glasses, and suggest lightning-conductor with earthing. Georg Richmann, member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences (from 1740) and a contemporary of Mikhail Lomonosov*, was the first Russian electrophysicist. Unfortunately, today he is remembered often as a victim of globular lightning though he is an author of
* See: E. Tropp, "Along the Way to Universal Knowledge", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2011. -- Ed.
original works on electricity and magnetism, and an inventor of the first real electrical measuring instrument--a dial electroscope.
By the way, on closer examination of the history of natural sciences one can see that every major success in any science was preceded by the birth of some new instrument having direct bearing on electrophysics. At different stages there were electron microscopes, spectrographs, tomographs, high-accuracy time and distance meters, in short, one cannot list all of them. More perfect instruments opened ways to the previously unexplored domains and helped study the events, which later on became a basi ... Читать далее