Updated: May 7, 2019
Do you know why your hair stands up when you rub a balloon on it, or why walking across a carpet makes a doorknob shock your hand? The widely accepted answer is static electricity, with a minority of scientists who hold ghosts accountable. Atoms are made of protons (positively charged), electrons (negatively charged), and neutrons (no charge, but a two-drink minimum). When atoms are close to one another, their electrons may jump to another atom, those ungrateful floozies. This creates one positive atom and one negative atom. Oppositely charged atoms attract one another. Similarly charged atoms repulse each other; which I relate to, because I also hate people who remind me of myself. Materials that give you a little shock from static are called conductors. Conductors allow electrons to flow freely through them, and, true to their name, can be found wearing overalls, striped hats, and barely concealing a drinking problem. Although Benjamin Franklin is credited with discovering static electricity in the 1700s, there’s evidence that it existed before that.