The one-hundred-dollar bill has done its job: the majority of its owners in Russia are dead sure that Franklin, like all other persons depicted on American banknotes, was one of the American presidents. Not at all: the ideologist of the American Revolution, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution had never been the president. All serious encyclopedias without exception call Franklin primarily a scientist, and then a writer and a politician. Robespierre called him the most famous scientist of the world, and the opinion of the Great French Revolution leader was shared almost two centuries later by the World Peace Council that included the name of Franklin in the list of the most prominent people on the planet. One of the greatest representatives of mankind was born in a family of an English emigrant in Boston at the very dawn of the 18th century. The fifteenth child of a poor soap-maker did not receive a good education – his family had enough money for two school years. He was studying on his own for the remaining part of his life. At the age of 20, he founded a printing office and started publishing a newspaper, and some years later he opened a library – the first public library in America. Then Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society, and several years later the philosopher and publisher, politician and postmaster of Philadelphia started taking interest in physics. One might think that nothing good should be expected from an amateur and self-taught person. One wouldn’t be right! It was Franklin specifically who introduced the currently familiar concepts of a negative and positive charge, such terms as “battery” and “conductor,” explained the principle of operation of the famous Leyden jar, i.e., the first electric capacitor, established that electricity obtained through friction and atmospheric electricity are the same thing, found out that lightning has electrical origins and proposed the lightning rod. As a postmaster of the North American colonies, Franklin received a complaint from the customs authorities of Boston. It turned out that mail from England was going to the New World two weeks longer than back. Franklin studied this issue in detail and mapped a warm current that he suggested calling the Gulf Stream. Franklin refused to patent the lightning rod, but he patented the rocking chair that he had invented. Thus, when looking through the bifocals proposed by Franklin and basking at the Franklin’s “fuel-efficient stove” that one can order by mail from his time to the present day, while scolding or praising the daylight saving proposed by this scientist-politician, let us recall that time is money – this is a Franklin’s statement too.
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