World of Science: You Still Don't Know What Electricity Is, Anyway

  • Philip Morrison
Keywords: Ecology


There is a wry recollection which every physicist shares. Some conversation on the problems or the successes of physics is terminated by the banal phrase of the title above. That an elementary but contemporary account of the physicist's concept of electricity would be useful was suggested by an explicit question of one of the editors of Monthly Review. He put the question without the complacency of the usual conversationalist, but he made it clear that the school text and the popular accounts gave him no conceptual scheme in which to order the innumerable and constantly-multiplying examples of electrical or electronic technology.