World’s Super Scientists – Benjamin Franklin

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Key and kite Experiment– Benjamin Franklin

Scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was born in Boston on January 17, 1706, as the tenth child in a family of 17 children.

Ben’s father, unable to pay for his schooling, put him reluctantly for work in a candle making shop. But, Ben put in efforts to educate himself, buying books in preference to food even.

Thus the bud in Ben flowered eventually. Scientist Benjamin Franklin made outstanding contributions in science, literature, social service, philosophy, etc.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin developed the American Philosophical Society and founded the first mobile library in America.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin established the Academy of Pennsylvania which later grew up into a University.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin’s key and kite experiment led to the discovery of ‘lightning conductor’, also called ‘Franklin rod’.

On a stormy day, Scientist Franklin and his colleague William flew a big paper kite; a pointed wire at the upper tip of the kite was to act as an “electricity collector” (from the clouds), and the string attached to the kite would be a “conductor” of electricity.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin tied the hand-end of the string to a metallic key which would “store” the electricity thus conducted.

To Scientist Benjamin Franklin’s astonishment, he discovered that a spark of electricity jumped onto his hand! It was proved that lightning was due to a discharge of electricity between clouds.

This discovery paved the way for the “lightning conductor”. A sharply pointed iron rod is to be placed on the top of the building, i.e., at its highest point and let a wire run from the rod to the earth.

The building will be fully protected from the devastation of “lightning electricity” since the electrical charge will be earthed / grounded.
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Scientist Benjamin Franklin Other Discoveries

  • Franklin stove for heating rooms (the counterpart of present day ‘air-conditioning’).
  • Bi-focal eye glasses.
  • The Leyden jar, a basis for the parallel plate capacitor used in TV and radio today.
  • Postulated that diseases spread rapidly in poorly ventilated rooms.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin Other Achievements

  • Scientist Benjamin Franklin’s book “Experiments and Observations on Electricity” was ranked equivalent with the “Principia” of Sir Issac Newton.
  • Elected to the Royal Society in London and to the Royal Academy of Science in Paris.
  • Ben began publication of Poor Richard’s Almanac, an annual calendar of events, church holy days, weather forecast, etc. This was Ben’s ‘Big Ben’.
  • Drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1766. His Autobiography – a classic in American literature.

Apart from being famous for his discoveries, Scientist Benjamin Franklin was famous for his sayings.

Sayings like, “God helps those who help themselves” and “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” and “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today” are relevant even today.

Scientist Benjamin Franklin’s thirst for invention is reflected when he once said :  “I wish the good Lord had seen fit to make each day just twice as long as it is, perhaps then I could really accomplish something.”
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Glory be to this great man who cared for mankind.

  • Whatever begun in anger ends in shame.
  • Well done is better than well said.
  • One today is worth two tomorrows.

– Benjamin Franklin

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