Support materials only that illustrate some possible contexts for exploring Science as a Human Endeavour concepts in relation to Science Understanding content.
The supply of electricity to homes has had an enormous impact on society and the environment. An understanding of Kirchhoff’s circuit laws informs the design of circuits for effective and safe operation of lighting, power points, stoves and other household electrical devices (ACSPH015). Increases in the use of household electricity due to extreme weather in Australian summers and European winters creates problems in supply, causing brownouts, power failures and damage to household appliances (ACSPH015). Developing new household electrical devices, improving the efficiency of existing devices and ensuring consistency of electrical standards require international cooperation between scientists, engineers and manufacturers (ACSPH009).
Computers, smartphones and the internet have changed the world, but none would be possible without a reliable supply of electricity. The first batteries, which enabled the investigation of current electricity, were developed by Alessandro Volta after a chance discovery by Luigi Galvani about the production of electricity (ACSPH010). Later, Michael Faraday developed the first electric generators and the ‘electrical age’ began. With the development of smartphones, tablets and similar devices that allow for constant communication and information flow, the design of long-lasting batteries to power these devices is an industry priority (ACSPH014). Long-lasting battery technology is also essential for safety devices like GPS locators, satellite phones and emergency beacons.
The introduction of electric lighting had a significant impact on society and the environment. The first efficient electric lamps were the filament lamps developed by Thomas Edison in the 1880s. Since that time, social, economic and cultural influences have led to development of a vast array of electric light sources including fluorescent lamps, halogen lamps, sodium lamps, light-emitting diodes and lasers (ACSPH012). Research and development of electric light sources has been underpinned by developments in our understanding of electricity, atomic physics and electromagnetism. Concerns about sustainable energy usage and global warming have led to international research and development to improve the energy efficiency of electric lighting (ACSPH015).