Cover image for The story of electrical and magnetic measurements : from 500 B.C. to the 1940s
The story of electrical and magnetic measurements : from 500 B.C. to the 1940s
Keithley, Joseph F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : IEEE Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 240 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


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QC535 .K45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Joseph F. Keithley, a modern pioneer of instrumentation, bringsyou a fascinating history of electrical measurement from theancient Greeks to the inventors of the early twentieth century.Written in a direct and fluent style, the book illuminates thelives of the most significant inventors in the field, includingGeorge Simon Ohm, Andre Marie Ampere, and Jean Baptiste Fourier.Chapter by chapter, meet the inventors in their youth and discoverthe origins of their lifelong pursuits of electrical measurement.Not only will you find highlights of important technologicalcontributions, you will also learn about the tribulations andexcitement that accompany the discoveries of these early masters.Included are nearly 100 rare photographs from museums around theworld.

THE STORY OF ELECTRICAL AND MAGNETIC MEASUREMENTS is a ""mustread"" for students and practitioners of physics, electricalengineering, and instrumentation and metrology who want tounderstand the history behind modern day instruments."

Sponsored by:
IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society

Author Notes

About the Author Joseph F. Keithley served as a scientist at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington, D.C., during World War II. He worked on underwater mine firing devices and achieved the Navy's Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his work. In 1946, he founded Keithley Instruments, Inc., in Cleveland,Ohio. Among the company's customers are Nobel Prize-winning researches who have used the company's products in support of their scientific work. Since 1962, 14 of his company's products have received industry awards from Research and Development Magazine as one of the 100 Most Significant Technical Products of the Year. Mr. Keithley is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1992, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his "pioneering contributions to electronic test and measurement." He is also a member of the Visiting Committee of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Mr. Keithley has been active in the American Management Association and has also served as a member of the Visiting Committee of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Readers not already familiar with electrical and magnetic measurements will have difficulty following the thread of this story. After a brief introduction highlighting classical and medieval discoveries, Keithley, in a series of discreet biographical accounts, offers interesting information on the human side of scientific investigation, the types of hypotheses and materials used in experiments, and key technical discoveries since 1600. Technical details of experiments are given without translation for nonengineers in the same straightforward, factual style that marks the whole book. There is little discussion of the overall historical framework in which the significance of the discoveries might be understood, nor of applications outside the world of experimental science. However, Keithley's style is quite readable; sentences and paragraphs are short, descriptions and narratives are clear, and each biography is nicely illustrated with portraits and engravings, diagrams, or photos of the experimental apparatus. Each chapter ends with a brief list of sources and recommended readings. An appendix contains additional illustrations. The author, a successful instrument manufacturer and leader in measurement research, has written this useful sourcebook for electrical engineering students and as intellectual entertainment for engineers and scientists. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. D. H. Porter Western Michigan University

Table of Contents

Measurements from the Beginning through the Middle Ages
The Beginnings of Experimental Science
The First Rotating Electrostatic Generator
Electric Conductors and Insulators
Vitreous and Resinous Electric Fluid
The Leyden Jar--The First Capacitor
A Bolt of Lightning Is an Electric Discharge
Early Electrostatic-Measuring Instruments
The First Quantitative Measurements of Electricity and Magnetism
A Carefully Prepared Leg of a Dead Frog Twitches When Stimulated Electrically
Current Electricity Can Be Produced by Chemical Action
An Electric Current Has an Associated Magnetic Field
The Foundations of Electrodynamics
Early Electromagnetic Indicating Instruments
Mathematics Using Harmonically Related Sinusoids
Ohm's Law: X = a/1, E = IR, or I = V/R
Advanced Applications of Mathematics to Measurements and the Development of Many Magnetic and Electrical Measuring Instruments
Acoustics and Electricity Research
Transformations of Electrical and Mechanical Energy
Electromagnetics and Self-Inductance
The Kelvin Scale, Transatlantic Cable, Sensitive Galvanometers, and Electrometers
Electromagnetic Radiation
The Beginnings of Radio
The Story of a Successful Electrical Instrument Manufacturer
The Discovery of the Electron, Part I
The Discovery of the Electron, Part II: Verifying JJ Thomson's Results and Developments Leading into the Twentieth Century
Appendix: Photo Section
About the Author