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Download Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World Audiobook, by David Bodanis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (474 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Bodanis Narrator: Del Roy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2005 ISBN: 9781415922958
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From the author of the bestselling E=MC2 comes a mesmerizing journey of discovery illuminating the wondrous yet unseen force that permeates our world and the scientists who’ve probed its secrets. Before 1790, when Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that spurred an explosion of knowledge and invention, electricity was perceived as little more than a property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Now we know that this force is responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. Bodanis, a superb storyteller, tells a story filled with romance, divine inspiration, fraud, and scientific breakthroughs revealing how we learned to harness electricity’s powers. The great scientists such as Michael Faraday and Samuel Morse come to life, complete with all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Hugely impressive. No one makes complex science more fascinating and accessible—and indeed more pleasurable—than David Bodanis. Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and A Walk in the Woods
  • Bodanis wears his immense knowledge lightly. His crystal-clear explanations of everything from force fields under the Atlantic to GPS satellites combine with a flair for narrative and an eagle eye for obscure facts (where else can you learn that antidepressants turn into liquid electricity when swallowed?) to provide an intriguing account of how the wonders of electricity have transformed our world. Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
  • Electric Universe is a technological odyssey complete with heroes and villains, triumph and tragedy—a true scientific adventure. Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Enigma and Big Bang

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 2/14/2014

    " It seems most of the negative reviews around this book focus on the lack of scientific details or things that were missed out. I fnd this strange because the book never claims to be an indepth explanation of the principles of electricity, but rather its history and the human stories behind each important discovery, and it does this very well. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about Alan Turing, the development of radar, and found the story of Alexander Graham Bell and his wife incredibly moving. The writing style is easy to read and digest and rattles along nicely. It doesn't get bogged down in the science but has enough knowledge behind it to present what it does well and intrigued me enough to make we want to read more on various subjects in greater depth. As an introduction to the subject it's a great place to start, or if science isn't your thing then there's enough of a human element packed with romance, subterfuge and adventure to appeal to the majority of readers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Isaac | 2/2/2014

    " You could probably find a better history of the subject than this one, although it is a very quick read and provides some interesting information. The story of how Alexander Graham Bell came to invent the telephone really is wonderful. The experiments of Heinrich Hertz are certainly worth reading about. The story of James Watson Watt inventing the radar during WWII is fascinating, and Bodanis gets credit for including a passage about the bombing of Dresden (see Slaughterhouse Five) in order to show the dark side of the technological progress his book is often championing. All in all, the book kind of barrels through a history that has so many fascinating detours it deserves a more epic treatment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Incandragon | 1/27/2014

    " An appealing science book for someone interested but largely ignorant in science. It teaches the theory of electricity by giving equal time to personalities and social context. The narrator has a reassuring and soft voice, not unlike being lectured by Winnie the Pooh. I wish I'd read this when I was twelve or so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sanna Keskioja | 1/26/2014

    " Bodanis seems to have become a guarantee for entertaining popular science "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Upom | 1/23/2014

    " Was not a great history of electricity. For whatever reason, Bodanis started the book with Samuel Morse's alleged theft of the telegraph from Joseph Henry, skipping over Volta, Galvani, Franklin, and various other milestones in electrical History. In general the book was rather awkwardly arranged, written in a bland manner. Though I did enjoy the re-imagining of the invention of the phone as the way to win the heart of Alexander Graham Bell's deaf lover, the book as a whole was a rather awkward history which sometimes read as sanctimonious judgment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/20/2014

    " Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I read and loved a nonfiction book about electricity. I heard David Bodanis on NPR and ran out the next day to get this from the library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Cooper | 1/19/2014

    " [Audio] Kind of a "history of electricity" that explores electricity's current place in our lives by offering brief biographies of key researchers and entrepreneurs that harnessed electricity over the last 200 some years. Interesting look at researching spirit--and the very human-ness of these pioneers--in the advancement of electrical technology. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Askey | 1/17/2014

    " Bodanis is one of my favorite authors. He brings the human side to science. Interesting anecdotes - especially from the late 1800's to early 1900's. My only criticism is . . . why wasn't this book twice as long? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janan Foster | 1/12/2014

    " A fascinating, understandable book about the ways (often surprising) that electricity, in its many permutations, rules the world. Bodanis has the ability to be selective about what he includes, to vary the pacing, change the mood and generally entertain while enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Schuster | 12/8/2013

    " Cute, but most of its strength is in its anecdotes about the people I already know and love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy Petersen | 9/26/2013

    " I gobbled this up so fast that I could have gotten quite a large shock. Bodanis is truly gifted in describing, exploring, and explaining the wonder and the science and the history of electricity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kory Klimoski | 7/2/2013

    " Great book! I expected a history of electricity only. Ended up learning about radar, computers, WWII and the human brain. This book could have twice the size. I didn't appreciate the from diaries though. That really got boring and wasn't relevant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob carmichael | 5/15/2013

    " exciting take on electricity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myke | 4/3/2013

    " The personal accounts really undulated from interesting to stone cold boring. I probably would have liked a little more science at the expense of some of the personal stuff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karyn | 1/31/2013

    " Got a charge out of this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 6/24/2012

    " a good primer for the history of the development for electricity and gives a basic understanding of how electricity works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 4/26/2012

    " The story/history of electricity, or at least its discovery and utilization by our society. Very intriguing. Was not dry in the least, amazingly. Lots of detailed info without being overwhelming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Troy | 1/22/2012

    " I thought this was a really great overview on the history of electricity, the discoverers and innovators who helped shape today's technology. This is a very basic view on the subject, but very accessible and informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Douglas | 5/9/2011

    " A brilliant little book based on a wealth of scholarship. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ana Egge | 4/4/2011

    " great. informative and very entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 1/26/2011

    " I gobbled this up so fast that I could have gotten quite a large shock. Bodanis is truly gifted in describing, exploring, and explaining the wonder and the science and the history of electricity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 1/17/2011

    " a good primer for the history of the development for electricity and gives a basic understanding of how electricity works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 7/1/2010

    " A fantastic look at the modern history of electricity, highlighting stories of the people behind the telephone, light bulb, radio, radar and more. Bodanis finishes with a look at life and how we use electricity within our own bodies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janan | 3/13/2010

    " A fascinating, understandable book about the ways (often surprising) that electricity, in its many permutations, rules the world. Bodanis has the ability to be selective about what he includes, to vary the pacing, change the mood and generally entertain while enlightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 7/23/2009

    " An amazingly clear layout of how we've stumbled across all the great finds in the history of electricity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hakija | 7/5/2009

    " This book is outstanding if you are interested in electricity. Fantastic! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 3/19/2009

    " The story/history of electricity, or at least its discovery and utilization by our society. Very intriguing. Was not dry in the least, amazingly. Lots of detailed info without being overwhelming. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myke | 3/9/2009

    " The personal accounts really undulated from interesting to stone cold boring. I probably would have liked a little more science at the expense of some of the personal stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich | 3/2/2009

    " Really cool history of modernity told through breakthroughs in electricity. Also highlighted the somewhat sad ends that great innovators such as Alan Turing met. Left me with tons of fun facts for dinner parties. "

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About the Author
David Bodanis taught a survey of intellectual history at the University of Oxford for many years. He is the author of several books, including The Secret House and the bestselling E=mc2, which was translated into more than twenty languages. A native of Chicago, he lives in London. His website can be found at davidbodanis.com.