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Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BCE referred to these fish as the "Thunderer of the Nile", and described them as the "protectors" of all other fish.
Electric fish were again reported millennia later by ancient Greek, Roman and Arabic naturalists and physicians.
Electricity would remain little more than an intellectual curiosity for millennia until 1600, when the English scientist William Gilbert wrote De Magnete, in which he made a careful study of electricity and magnetism, distinguishing the lodestone effect from static electricity produced by rubbing amber.
Later in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin conducted extensive research in electricity, selling his possessions to fund his work.
In 1887, Heinrich Hertz discovered that electrodes illuminated with ultraviolet light create electric sparks more easily.
In 1905, Albert Einstein published a paper that explained experimental data from the photoelectric effect as being the result of light energy being carried in discrete quantized packets, energising electrons. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for "his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".
The recognition of electromagnetism, the unity of electric and magnetic phenomena, is due to Hans Christian Ørsted and André-Marie Ampère in 1819–1820.
Michael Faraday invented the electric motor in 1821, and Georg Ohm mathematically analysed the electrical circuit in 1827.
The movement of electric charges is an electric current and produces a magnetic field.
Later on, many experimental results and the development of Maxwell's equations indicated that both electricity and magnetism are from a single phenomenon: electromagnetism.
Various common phenomena are related to electricity, including lightning, static electricity, electric heating, electric discharges and many others.
Electricity is at the heart of many modern technologies, being used for: Electrical phenomena have been studied since antiquity, though progress in theoretical understanding remained slow until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Even then, practical applications for electricity were few, and it would not be until the late nineteenth century that electrical engineers were able to put it to industrial and residential use.