Health + Wellness

First Man to Study Static Electricity Was Black

When was the last time you stopped to consider who created electricity? This familiar but extraordinary energy has existed on our planet since the beginning of time.

Electricity is the “fuel” that powers the majority of modern technology. Without power, many things just won’t work. Nowadays, many people will have difficulty surviving without power since the world has become so reliant on it.

Several accounts, while investigating who exactly invented electricity, ascribe the discovery of electricity to the Greek scholar Thales of Miletus.

Who is Thales of Miletus?

The first to study static electricity. Around 600 BC, the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus made history by becoming the first person to notice static electricity. He found that amber could attract feathers and other light things when brushed with fur—what we now call static electricity. Thales of Miletus knew, some two millennia ago, that rubbing an amber stone would cause it to collect microscopic particles of matter.

This one experimental finding laid the groundwork for the whole field of electrostatics, which studies the characteristics of static electricity. Truly, the entire definition of electricity comes from the Greek word for amber, η’λεκτροv. There has been a tremendous amount of experimental understanding of electricity, particularly in the past two hundred years, since the founding of physics with the Milesian school of thinkers in the 6th century B.C.

The Black People Of Ancient Kemet

Thales of Miletus is credited by several sources. Academics said that he found that rubbing amber with various substances imbued it with an unseen force capable of drawing lightweight items like dried leaves, feathers, slivers of fabric, and so on. The fact that Thales of Miletus attended school in ancient Kemet is generally left out when you delve into his achievements. He owes his acute perception to the old Kemetan Black people.

While in Babylon and Egypt, he learned mathematics, astronomy, and physics, which he brought back with him. According to historical records, the whole body of Babylonian knowledge was passed down from the ancient Kemetians. The Kemites did not directly invent electricity, but Thales of Miletus made significant advancements in the field thanks to their teachings and influence.


This is a part of our new series – “Hidden Gems in Black History,” where we highlight uncommon facts throughout Black history. Join us every day during Black History Month for interesting facts about Black people and places you likely haven’t heard before!

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