September 1, 2009 Issue

Physics To Go 80 - Lightning

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Physics in Your World

NSSL Lightning Information:  Q&A about Lightning image
image credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL); image source; larger image

NSSL Lightning Information: Q&A about Lightning

What is lightning? What causes thunder? This site from the NOAA answers these basic questions and more.

(This feature was updated on August 16, 2013.)

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Physics at Home


Build your own electroscope, a device that detects electric charge. All you need is modeling clay and a few items from around the house!


From Physics Research

Research Helps Protect Against Lightning Damage image
image credit: NEETRAC, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gary Meek; image source; larger image

Research Helps Protect Against Lightning Damage

Researchers at Georgia Tech hurl artificial lightning at electrical equipment as part of their work to better protect utilities against lightning strikes. Read more about their research here.

Worth a Look

Benjamin Franklin and Electrostatics

Benjamin Franklin's work with electricity was not limited to flying a kite in the middle of a storm. Find out what else he did to contribute to our knowledge of electricity at this page from Tufts University, which includes his writings and experiments.

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