Benjamin Franklin: Founding Nerd

Benjamin Franklin was famous for many things, he was a genius who helped France through the American revolution, he served as postmaster general, he studied links for climate change existing and invented the bifocal lens. He was a brilliant man but the thing he was maybe most brilliant for was his work with electricity.

He Discovered the Cause of Electricity

In Benjamin Franklin’s time, scientists had pretty much figured electricity out, except they really hadn’t at all. They had no idea exactly how electricity works and believed it was the result of two forces acting on one another. Despite getting so far with electricity, the fact they were wrong about this was holding them back significantly. Franklin started messing around with glass and amber rods, causing them to have a static charge and noticed that the alike rods repelled each other while the opposing rods attracted each other.

Through his experiments Benjamin Franklin had discovered the most important thing about electricity, it is not different forces but just a singe one. At the time electrons weren’t known and so he described the force being more of one type of fluid than another, the attraction between a glass and amber rod was due to one having more fluid than another, so overcoming it.

He also Discovered Electric Conduction

If basically discovering the electrostatic force wasn’t enough, Franklin also harnessed electricity from lightning, showing it could be conducted. He wanted to conduct electricity through a metal rod and into a jar but complications meant this couldn’t happen, so instead he flew a kit in a thunderstorm and many different versions of the tale have been told since. The most likely scenario is that he touched the ends of the kite strings and got a shock, but none of this mattered anyway  when some French scientists completed his metal rod theory and proved him right once again.

From here Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, and all of this was before he helped found the united states.