Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ben Franklin and Electricity

It is a very common misconception taught in elementary and middle schools that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by flying a kite in a lightning storm.  Part of this story is true, but Benjamin Franklin did not discover electricity.

In fact, if you type into google who discovered electricity, you get a picture of Benjamin Franklin!

The funny thing about this search is the article Google points to is a Universe Today article in which it clearly states Benjamin Franklin did NOT discover electricity.  Electricity was already well known by the time of Benjamin Franklin although the understanding of how it works was lacking.  Franklin designed an experiment to study electricity.  He did fly a kite with a metal key near the end of the string.  When touching the key a small shock was observed, convincing Franklin that lightning itself is electricity.  This, however, was not a discovery of electricity.  

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