The misconception is that electrons carry potential energy around a complete conducting loop, transferring their energy to the load. This video was sponsored by Caséta by Lutron. Learn more at
Further analysis of the large circuit is available here:
Special thanks to Dr Geraint Lewis for bringing up this question in the first place and discussing it with us. Check out his and Dr Chris Ferrie’s new book here:
Special thanks to Dr Robert Olsen for his expertise. He quite literally wrote the book on transmission lines, which you can find here:
Special thanks to Dr Richard Abbott for running a real-life experiment to test the model.
Huge thanks to all of the experts we talked to for this video — Dr Karl Berggren, Dr Bruce Hunt, Dr Paul Stanley, Dr Joe Steinmeyer, Ian Sefton, and Dr David G Vallancourt.
A great video about the Poynting vector by the Science Asylum:
Sefton, I. M. (2002). Understanding electricity and circuits: What the text books don’t tell you. In Science Teachers’ Workshop. —
Feynman, R. P., Leighton, R. B., & Sands, M. (1965). The feynman lectures on physics; vol. Ii, chapter 27. American Journal of Physics, 33(9), 750-752. —
Hunt, B. J. (2005). The Maxwellians. Cornell University Press.
Müller, R. (2012). A semiquantitative treatment of surface charges in DC circuits. American Journal of Physics, 80(9), 782-788. —
Galili, I., & Goihbarg, E. (2005). Energy transfer in electrical circuits: A qualitative account. American journal of physics, 73(2), 141-144. —
Deno, D. W. (1976). Transmission line fields. IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, 95(5), 1600-1611. —
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Written by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Mike Radjabov and Ivy Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller and Emily Zhang
Footage of the sun by Raquel Nuno
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang