Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Special - Shocking Eels

 Imagine touching an electric eel - that would probably hurt a lot. Now, imagine touching an electric eel for science! That's what one biologist at Vanderbilt University did to get an accurate measurement of an electric eel's shock.
 Vanderbilt University researcher Ken Catania stuck his arm into a tank with a small eel - 10 times. Measuring the shock from this experience allowed him to solve an equation he extrapolated to measure the power released by big eels - whose shock is said to be like getting tasered nine times at once.
 "Eels are essentially batteries immersed in water, and I wanted to solve the question of how powerful those batteries are," said Catania. "What’s the internal resistance of the battery? What’s the resistance of the water? My past research left out the last variable: my arm."
 To get an accurate measurement, Catania created a device that utilized a copper wire to conduct the electricity from the shock to his arm and then back to the water.
 You can check out his account of the experience on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrJ7-3yruyQ . Also be sure to check out the original story at: http://earthsky.org/earth/biologist-puts-arm-electric-eel-tank-video
Photo Credit: David Ellis

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