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December 20th is Robert Van de Graaff's birthday. Van de Graaff was an American physicist who invented the Van de Graaff electrostatic generator. Small Van de Graaff generators are common sights at science demonstrations to illustrate the effects of electrical charges. The most common sight is someone with long, fine hair placing their hand on the top of the generator and having the hair stand on end. It is a relatively safe way to introduce electrical forces in a hands on way. Its original purpose was to generate high voltages of static electricity to accelerate particles in atom smashing experiments.

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December 21, 2011 at 6:44 am
(1) Zakasilva says:

The contribution of Robert Van de Graaff to amateur science was tremendous, his high voltage generator was a fantastic science device so simple that has been reproduced many and many times by physics enthusiasts around the word.

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