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The Science of Life: Electromagnetism and Lightning

Lightning is an amazing study of science, visible to the naked eye and observable all over the world. In fact, with as many science experiments there are to study the nature of the universe, none can be replicated to the scale of natural lightning found in a large thunder cloud. The largest Tesla coil comes close, and is found in Oklahoma.

So in order to test something like a lightning conductors, it can only happen in real-life during an actual electrical storm. The science of lightning is one that is elusive yet exact. Since we can’t “see” electricity when studying it aside from the light given off because of the effects of electricity, then it must be dealt with cautiously.

Lightning Conductors

Lightning conductors and lightning protection systems have been in place for years, but there is no real way to test the efficacy of such an installation except for during an actual electrical storm when lightning strikes. Lightning has its beginnings in the atmospheric changes which include condensation and evaporation. To better understand the phenomena, here is an infographic that should shed some light on the topic:

lighting cycle

Lightning strikes the earth about 100 times per second and usually goes unseen by humans. But when it comes too close to home, the effects can be disastrous. The anatomy of a thunder cloud can be studied and we know what types of clouds are accompanied by lightning, so really the best way to gauge when and where lightning will strike will be looking at the sky in order to get a radius several miles wide. This is the only way for us to really “know” when and where lightning will strike so it’s not an exact science by any means.

Practical Uses for Lightning

This natural occurrence is probably the most powerful untapped resource known to man.  There is ongoing research as to how lightning can be harnessed for the common good of humanity. To this end, we are calling all would-be scientists to do some thinking around:

  • How to harness lightning
  • What would you do with it
  • Is it sustainable
  • Can it strike in the same place over and over again

If you want to take the challenge on using lightning conductors to harness the raw electrical power of a lightning bolt, then please do you research, put on your thinking hat and come up with some ideas. We are looking forward to your reply on the powerful effects of lighting and how they can be harnessed to help humanity. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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