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Re: Physical mythology

Well, tell me, which kind of
lightning rod do you think is superior? What informed your opinion on
this topic, and at what age did you first learn the correct answer?
The inquiring mind wants to know.

PERHAPS pointed lightning rods are no more effective than spherically
ended ones. If so, I would expect that the UK would still be using
the spherical ones. (are they? why or why not?)
Ancient myths do indeed die hard!

My experience with the van de Graaf dome shows me that
sphere-to-sphere discharges are less frequent and much more 'fat'.
Point-to-point sparks are much more continuous and feeble. Is this
relevant to the thunderstorm generator??

I HAVE read that alpha-augmented pointed tips are not significantly
better than non-radioactive points as lightning protection. But alpha
doped points ARE often used in atmospheric measuring set-ups.

...I believe there was a great deal of religious-inspired turmoil on this
topic in the 1700s; the problem was pointed rods 'pierced the heavens' and
constituted an assault on God's residence at the hands of science (sounds
like evolution, no?) Hence communities were influenced by ministers to
use no or ball-tipped lightning rods.

Dan MacIsaac, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Northern AZ Univ PHYS-L list owner