Edison Essay

600 words - 3 pages

The Light BulbIntroductionIn the 1950s and 1960s, the Army released bacteria in hundred of tests in areas of highpopulation density throughout the country (Cole, 2009, p. 3). Agents dropped light bulbscontaining the bacteria in the New York subway (Cole, 2009, p. 3). The bacteria used in the testsposed little risk to the welfare of the public, unlike a possible attack of a biochemical nature(Cole, 2009, p. 3). The demonstration proved that a terrorist attack potentially could exposemillions of people to harmful organisms by simply using a light bulb (Cole, 2009, p. 3). In 1996,the light bulb was used again in a similar government-operated experiment (―Airports andSubways,‖ 2006, para. 1). The Special Operations Division of the United States dropped lightbulbs filled with rare, non-pathogenic bacteria to test the vulnerability of New York to abiological attack (―Airports and Subways,‖ 2006, para. 1).Weeks after dropping the light bulbs in the subways, agents tested for the presence of thebacteria in various locations across the city (―Airports and Subways,‖ 2006, para. 1). The use oflight bulbs was an unusual but effective method for releasing bacteria. The light bulbs usedtoday are similar to the one Edison invented in the late 19th century, and are seldom regarded ascomplex or important technology (―Airports and Subways,‖ 2006, para. 1). However, theyproved to be useful in a modern and significant study regarding biological warfare and haveheavily impacted industry and technology since their invention (―Airports and Subways,‖ 2006,para. 1).Early Development of the Light BulbThe first light bulb prototype, called the arc lamp, was developed by English chemistHumphrey Davey (Douglas, n.d., para. 4). The lamp produced an electric arc that emitted lightas the current passed through an ionized gas (Douglas, n.d. para. 4). Davey used two strips ofcharcoal to produce his current, which gave off an intense light when ignited (Douglas, n.d.,para. 4). Davey's arc lamp began the search for an incandescent artificial light source in theearly nineteenth century. Another English scientist who sought an incandescent light source,Warren De la Rue, invented his own light bulb in 1940 (Douglas, n.d., para. 5). De la Rue'slight bulb, with its vacuum and filament design, more closely resembled the light bulb that wouldbe patented by Edison years later. He put a platinum filament in an airless tube and passedelectrical current through it (Douglas, n.d., para. 5). The design worked, but was impractical forcommercial use because of the high price of platinum (Douglas, n.d., para. 5). The search for afilament that was as durable and efficient as platinum would hinder the development of the lightbulb for years (Douglas, n.d., para. 6). Other inventors turned to light bulb designs that did notinvolve filaments, including neon. N

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