I suppose it’s no real surprise that my inbox has, over the past couple of years, become a magnet for what can sometimes seem like the most random of spud-related pictures, recipes, links, articles, poems, songs, videos and requests.
A recent email from Jeremy Fordham offering to write a post on the subject of the potato battery did, however, catch my eye. While it’s a distinctly non-food use of the spud, it seemed to me that it still had a place in the pages of this blog. Jeremy, an engineer and contributing writer for onlinephdprograms.com, is an advocate, among other things, of renewable energy. Judging by his post below, he’s all for spud power too.
The Science of the Spud — a History of the Potato Battery Experiment
There are hot potatoes, french fried potatoes, baked potatoes and scalloped potatoes. There are potato chips, potato pies and potato soufflés. Last, but not least, there’s the potato battery. Who on earth invented the electric spud? Why does it work? For that matter, why would anyone want to see if a potato could conduct electricity in the first place? Well, we may never be able to answer some of the questions this quirky experiment raises, but a brief overview of the possible origins, quirky chemical compositions and remarkable staying power of the grin-inducing oddity that is the potato battery is sure to be worthwhile.