Ben Franklin's Electrical Experiments
February 15, 2005 6:07 AM   Subscribe

I never was before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time Ben Frankin's extensive experiments with electricity went well beyond his famous kite flying; he also proved that lightning was electrical (and invented the lightning rod), and was the first one to use the words "positive" and "negative" to describe electrical charges. It would no doubt please the ingenious Mr. Franklin to know that all of his writings on electricity are now available online (Note: link goes to 912k PDF file.) Franklin's excitement over his discoveries is palpable--and high school students can duplicate them on their own, thanks to Ben Franklin As My Lab Partner. And for a demonstration that combines Ben's knowledge of electricity with his mischievous sense of humor and fondness for political subversion, watch Conspirators, or The Treason.
posted by yankeefog (2 comments total)
By the way, the man you see in the video is Dr. Robert Morse, who designed the high school science course as well as transcribed and posted all 200+ pages of Franklin's electrical writings. He was my physics teacher when I was in high school--and, based on the video, he hasn't changed a bit in 15 years.
posted by yankeefog at 6:10 AM on February 15, 2005

Edison really was a remarkable guy. He refused to take on anyone who refuted his scientific work... he figured his work either stood on its own or didn't. He also thought that his scientific work was completely unimportant in relation to the problem of the day: politics. Jefferson begged Edison to put off politics as child's play and devote his life to science. Edison took the opposite tact for most of his life.
posted by the_savage_mind at 7:43 AM on February 15, 2005

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