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The Age of Invention

Jim Al-Khalili shows how harnessing the link between magnetism and electricity transformed the world, allowing us to generate a vast amount of electric power.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature's most mysterious force - electricity. Until fairly recently, electricity was seen as a magical power, but it is now the lifeblood of the modern world and underpins every aspect of our technological advancements.

Without electricity, we would be lost. This series tells of dazzling leaps of imagination and extraordinary experiments - a story of maverick geniuses who used electricity to light our cities, to communicate across the seas and through the air, to create modern industry and to give us the digital revolution.

Just under 200 years ago scientists discovered something profound, that electricity is connected to another of nature's most fundamental forces - magnetism. In the second episode, Jim discovers how harnessing the link between magnetism and electricity would completely transform the world, allowing us to generate a seemingly limitless amount of electric power which we could utilise to drive machines, communicate across continents and light our homes. This is the story of how scientists and engineers unlocked the nature of electricity in an extraordinary century of innovation and invention.

1 hour

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Jim Al-Khalili
Producer Jon Eastman
Director Jon Eastman
Series Producer Steve Crabtree
Executive Producer Tina Fletcher-Hill

Broadcasts

Find out more about electricity with The Open University

Find out more about electricity with The Open University

Discover how much energy it takes to start up a range of objects in an interactive game.