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What physicist first discovered or produced an alternating current and recognized it as such?

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  • $\begingroup$ Have you read the History part of the Alternating Current article on Wikiedia? $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Aug 22 '16 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandreEremenko Yes, I saw that. It mentioned the inventor Hippolyte Pixii. I suppose my question is a subset of the broader question: "Who determined the directionality of electrical currents?" $\endgroup$ – Geremia Aug 22 '16 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure what you mean by "directionality", but there were fluid theories of electricity in 18th century (du Fay's, Franklin's) which implied that electric currents flow in a particular direction. Franklin's 1747 one-fluid theory had good empirical support and was widely accepted at the time. But that was long before the alternating currents en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_theory_of_electricity $\endgroup$ – Conifold Aug 22 '16 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold Yes, that is related to what I'm asking. Who first understood current is a flow and who understood how to change the direction of the flow. Fechner hypothesized that in every current there were + and - currents flowing in opposite directions. $\endgroup$ – Geremia Aug 22 '16 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ du Fay hypothesized that long before Fechner. I think the problem is with the vagueness of "first understood". Ancient atomists "first understood" the world to be made of atoms, for largely wrong reasons from the modern point of view, and certainly without adequate evidence, by modern standards. Dalton eventually arrived at roughly similar picture based on different considerations, closer to modern standards. This is why "who first did x" questions often have no answers: their meaning is tenuous when applied to before the modern paradigm formed, but of course it did not form out of thin air. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Aug 23 '16 at 0:42

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