I should probably start this off by saying that during a recent business trip, I spent a few hours with my nose in David Bodanis’ excellent book “Electric Universe”. I’d like to say that my reading efforts were due solely to the pursuit of knowledge… but that would only be half true. I just didn’t have the capacity (the capacitor lesson was several weeks ago) to talk to the “Bro” next to me. I’m sure he was nice, in his own bro-way, but being in close proximity to the antagonist in Sausage Party just wasn’t on the list of things I want to do on an airplane. Bodanis’ book provided a suitable escape and was all of the motivation I needed to continue my lessons on circuitry.
“Electric Universe” has a common theme about the invention of devices that are used everyday and are often taken for granted, though it goes above and beyond other historic works on the subject by highlighting where the motivation to invent and discover comes from. Alexander Graham Bells case for inventing the Telephone was to win over the parents of the woman he loved. Thomas Edison’s motivation for the electric light bulb, was money. Michael Faraday, although supported by his lovely wife, invented the first electric motor through sheer love of science. The book has one anecdote neatly stacked after another and it has me thinking: I wonder what my story will be, and where my motivation will come from.
I think I’ll build another lemon battery with the kid when I get home. That’s good enough motivation for me. I close the book, and lean over to the guy next to me. “Hey Bro, you have any kids?”