~e; electromagnetic specimens (2 images)

From human being <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 21 Sep 2003 14:09:38 -0500

  have been working on this idea about how
  electromagnetism is all around us in various
  forms, yet little understood or appreciated in
  many ways, by myself included. so it is with
  a sense of discovery and, specifically, in the
  finding of 'unique' specimens of the electro-
  magnetic realm that basic components used
  in electronics, in daily live yet invisible to most,
  are mounted in a 'specimen display case' as
  if a butterfly collection or something similar.

  electronics specimens (temporary) 76k

  this image is about actual size, though the display
  case frame (black border) is about 3/4" inch so it
  is more balanced in the case. this displays what
  could be considered a few basic components of
  electronics, used ubiquitously yet also which are
  invisible for the most part. so, a bumble-bee like
  tour of the components is as follows:

  left- blue wire is basic multi-threaded electrical
  wire, gauge unknown. it is said that many threads
  are less likely to break and are more malleable to
  bending than a single solid wire, and it is also a
  guess that, should wires break, there is inherent
  backup in that many wires would likely be able
  to stay in contact with one another, versus a break.
  next to this at the top is a series of 'resistors' which
  resist the flow of electricity. the type of resister is
  determined by material, if memory is correct, and
  also by the color-coding which is a numeric system
  such that a gold band indicates one number, red
  another, orange, etc.  next to these are integrated
  circuits (look a bit like bugs to me). one is a 555
  timer, which can function like a clock. the larger
  one is shown sideways, and those metal pins are
  on both sides of the IC. there are diagrams for
  how these can be hooked up on a circuit board
  or with wires, so that only certain pins are used
  to make certain things occur. these are 'circuits'
  integrated many 'logical' gates, (AND, OR, etc.)
  which transistors and diodes can also perform,
  but they have been made into customized chips
  like these, which can perform various functions.
  the one displayed may be a 'decade counter' or
  another type of counter, to drive an LED display.

  ...next to these are PNP and NPN transistors, the
  things that are micro-sized on today's computer
  chips in the several millions. they can be used in
  many ways it seems, such as to amplify electrical
  signals, or perform certain functions the range of
  which is still being learned about here. these are
  both black capped three wired specimens if this
  description already has become overly confusing.

  below these are capacitors, there are several
  types, one of which was discovered yesterday
  but not shown here, a raw, large rectangular
  ceramic one which is amazing to hold as it has
  a sculptural quality. the orange, red, and green
  are various sizes of one kind of capacitor, which
  are ubiquitous in electronics. they temporarily
  store charge, and then release it after becoming
  full. the silver one that is vertically placed is an
  electrolytic capacitor which performs similarly.

  to the right of the capacitors (which began with
  the Leyden jar (1700s-1800s) as the first) are
  the 'diodes' which allow electrical current to
  flow in one direction, and act as a one-way
  current management system. this is how a
  novice, myself, describes how they work, from
  basic investigations and working on small and
  very simple circuits, so this may be limiting to
  their description or somewhat inaccurate. "i
  am not an electronics engineer" - disclaimer.
  the blue one on the far right shows how the
  directionality is determined, there is a darker
  band around the top of the cylinder and this
  helps know which way the current can and
  cannot flow. LEDs to the left are also diodes,
  and it seems they let electrical current jump
  from one side of their wire to another, and
  in the process this releases photons. there
  is a RED light-emitting-diode shown, and
  a different type of green LED in another form.

  below this is a basic battery (9v) snap, which
  then brings electricity through one wire into
  a circuit, which then needs to be completed
  after going through its electronic design to
  the other wire, completing the circuit. basic
  switches can open and close this completed
  circuit, and one definition of 'digital' used in
  electronics seems to be the ability to open
  and close a circuit, versus having continuous
  flow in a circuit, or that is how it is defined in
  an electronics textbook being read now.

  to the left of the battery snap (which appears
  somewhat like an odd insect) is something
  that will be replaced by a very small electrical
  motor (cannot fit a bigger see-through relay
  in there, though wish it was possible though
  the case is not deep enough). it is called a
  'coil' and from what is known, they are based
  on electromagnetic induction, related to an
  electromagnet and may be for 'wireless' or
  radio or field type applications, not sure but
  they are beautiful in my opinion, as objects.
  there is a a red and copper one shown, one
  below the other above. to the left of these is
  a 'micro-switch' which has a very small black
  button on its white housing, which when it is
  depressed, completes a circuit by wires that
  would be connected to the bottom piece of
  metal coming, and another attached to one
  of those metal tabs on its left side, the two
  may be how the switch functions, such that
  to hook up the wire to the top metal tab, the
  switch would complete the circuit (say to
  make an LED blink) until the switch is then
  touched and interrupted. if one were to then
  change the wiring so that the lower left metal
  tab is the wiring connection, one would need
  to touch the switch to make the LED blink, so
  that the circuit is not completed by default.

  the one thing skipped is to the lower right of
  this white cased electric switch, and that is
  the knob-like 'potentiometer', which is very
  much like a variable resistor (those things
  directly above it) in that, if one turns the metal
  dial to the left, it may decrease the flow of the
  current to a circuit, and if one twists the dial
  to the right, more current is sent through the
  circuit, which could have the effect of making
  an LED blink faster, for example. in all, such
  a display is intended for basic education of
  electronic components, to find acquaintance
  with the stuff that makes 'electronics and the
  digital' technologies work, to get a sense of
  them, if it is first through aesthetics or as an
  introduction to basic concepts, it is probably
  worth trying as literacy of electromagnetism
  needs to find spark imaginations somehow.


  so too, this idea can be seen in many ways
  and in many mediums, one of which is through
  stamps which others have been with regards
  to electricity long before this most basic effort.

  electromagnetic stamps (temporary) 101k (2x)

  this small collection of stamps, at 3 dollars with
  the stamp holder included, tell many stories (and
  the stamp shop was a wonderful place to learn
  about both stamps and history and importance
  of various events through stamps). for instance,
  the first underwater/under ice navigation of the
  arctic ocean region was performed by an early
  (if not the first) nuclear submarine which someone
  knew about and thus a stamp was found. an early
  schematic of the first telephone is on a stamp of
  Alexander Graham Bell. another stamp shows an
  electrical pylon next to the Grand Coulee dam,
aesthetically interesting iconography as with that
for the REA (rural electrification program in the .US)
with distribution poles. and a surprise being 'what
hath God wrought' as a statement on the centenary
  of the telegraph 1944 stamp for 2 cents. These too
  can be presented in display cases which are made
  for such content, and thus this modular approach
  to small and delicate artifacts (handled with a
  tweezers by the stamp collectors) becomes its
  own world of interpreting electromagnetism. it
  was suggested by a friend to also include a Ben
  Franklin though it may be a 100 .US bill, though
  there may be a coin that can add to this approach,
  a silver half-dollar may have Franklin on it, and
  there may be commemorative coins for electricity,
  will not know until investigating it further, though
  it is all very interesting to discover these places.
  and to meet those keepers of such collections.

  If others have collections, corrections, or ideas
  your experiences are valued and sought. brian

  the electromagnetic internetwork-list
  electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization