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Ben Franklin Stilled the Waves: An Informal History of Pouring Oil on Water with Reflections on the Ups and Downs of Scientific Life in General
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Unlike Pliny, Benjamin Franklin had a penchant for scientific method, and he made careful observations, comparisons, and notes of his experiments, methods and results. This 18th century American scientist and statesman was a master printer and a self-taught scientist. Ben Franklin is also famous for his contributions to the field of electricity, and for devising the lighting rod and investigating the presence of electricity in atmosphere with his legendary kite-experiment. Tanford recreates for us the world of Ben Franklin, to put his contributions into perspective. It is not too easy for us to appreciate how the concepts like electricity or surface tension or composition of elements and compounds and even existence of oxygen were quite undeveloped during the time of Franklin. It is utterly mind-boggling to learn that all his contributions to science were of an amateur, and he spent most of his time as diplomat, facing all the ups and downs of that profession.Read more ›