'Sensitive, moving and finely textured' Guardian 'Fantastic' Dan Snow For the great majority of his long life, Benjamin Franklin was a loyal British royalist. In 1757, having made his fortune in Philadelphia and established his fame as a renowned experimental scientist, he crossed the Atlantic to live as a gentleman in the heaving metropolis of London. With just a brief interlude, a house in Craven Street was to be his home until 1775. From there he mixed with both the brilliant and the powerful, whether in London coffee house clubs, at the Royal Society, or on his summer travels around the British Isles and continental Europe. He counted David Hume, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley, Edmund Burke and Erasmus Darwin among his friends, and as an American colonial representative he had access to successive Prime Ministers and even the King. The early 1760s saw Britain's elevation to global superpower status with victory in the Seven Years War and the succession of the young, active George III. These two events brought a sharp new edge to political competition in London and redefined the relationship between Britain and its colonies. Though Franklin long sought to prevent the break with Great Britain, his own actions would finally help cause that very event. On the eve of the American War of Independence, Franklin fled arrest and escaped by sea. He would never return to London. With his unique focus on the fullness of Benjamin Franklin's life in London, George Goodwin has created an enthralling portrait of the man, the city and the age.
Thirty carefully researched scenes introduce youngsters to the intelligent and generous man who played many important roles in American history. Includes illustrations of Benjamin Franklin during the American Revolution, as a statesman, inventor, commissioner to France, and more. Captions.
The tenth and youngest son of a poor Boston soapmaker, Benjamin Franklin would rise to become, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "the greatest man and ornament of his age." In this short, engaging biography, historian Edwin S. Gaustad offers a marvelous portrait of this towering colonial figure, illuminating Franklin's character and personality. Here is truly one of the most extraordinary lives imaginable, a man who, with only two years of formal education, became a printer, publisher, postmaster, philosopher, world-class scientist and inventor, statesman, musician, and abolitionist. Gaustad presents a chronological account of all these accomplishments, delightfully spiced with quotations from Franklin's own extensive writings. The book describes how the hardworking Franklin became at age 24 the most successful printer in Pennsylvania and how by 42, with the help of Poor Richard's Almanack, he had amassed enough wealth to retire from business. We then follow Franklin's next brilliant career, as an inventor and scientist, examining his pioneering work on electricity and his inventions of the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod, and bifocals, as well as his mapping of the Gulf Stream, a major contribution to navigation. Lastly, the book covers Franklin's role as America's leading statesman, ranging from his years in England before the Revolutionary War to his time in France thereafter, highlighting his many contributions to the cause of liberty. Along the way, Gaustad sheds light on Franklin's personal life, including his troubled relationship with his illegitimate son William, who remained a Loyalist during the Revolution, and Franklin's thoughts on such topics as religion and morality. Written by a leading authority on colonial America, this compact biography captures in a remarkably small space one of the most protean lives in our nation's history.
An Informal History of Pouring Oil on Water with Reflections on the Ups and Downs of Scientific Life in General
Author: Charles Tanford
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
When Benjamin Franklin, the 18th-century American statesman and scientist, watched the calming effect of a drop of oil on the waves and ripples of a London pond, he was observing what Pliny the Elder and generations of seafarers had done before him. Franklin, though, was the first to wonder exactly what was happening to the oil, and to investigate this strange phenomenon.Following Franklin's lead, a motley crowd of scientists over the next two centuries and more chose to investigate the nature of atoms and molecules through the interaction of fluid membranes. They included Lord Rayleigh, an altruistic English Lord, Agnes Pockels, who conducted experiments in her kitchen and became one of the earliest women to make lasting contributions to science, the renowned Dutch pediatrician Evert Gorter, and Irving Langmuir, one of America's greatest industrialscientists. Building on Franklin's original experiments, their work has culminated in the discovery of the structure of cell membranes, research that continues to bear fruit today.Ben Franklin Stilled the Waves is far more than the story of oil on water; it is a voyage into the very nature of science and its place in our history.
Benjamin Franklin is well known to most of us, yet his fundamental and wide-ranging contributions to science are still not adequately understood. Until now he has usually been incorrectly regarded as a practical inventor and tinkerer rather than a scientific thinker. He was elected to membership in the elite Royal Society because his experiments and original theory of electricity had made a science of that new subject. His popular fame came from his two lightning experimentsâe"the sentry-box experiment and the later and more famous experiment of the kiteâe"which confirmed his theoretical speculations about the identity of electricity and provided a basis for the practical invention of the lightning rod. Franklin advanced the eighteenth-century understanding of all phenomena of electricity and provided a model for experimental science in general. I. Bernard Cohen, an eminent historian of science and the principal elucidator of Franklinâe(tm)s scientific work, examines his activities in fields ranging from heat to astronomy. He provides masterful accounts of the theoretical background of Franklinâe(tm)s science (especially his study of Newton), the experiments he performed, and their influence throughout Europe as well as the United States. Cohen emphasizes that Franklinâe(tm)s political and diplomatic career cannot be understood apart from his scientific activities, which established his reputation and brought him into contact with leaders of British and European society. A supplement by Samuel J. Edgerton considers Franklinâe(tm)s attempts to improve the design of heating stoves, another practical application that arose from theoretical interests. This volume will be valuable to all readers wanting to learn more about Franklin and to gain a deeper appreciation of the development of science in America.
This is a collection of recipes from the time of Benjamin Franklin, complemented by anecdotes about his extraordinary life in Boston and Philadelphia, London and Paris. Each chapter is set at a location where Franklin lived or was a visitor, and the menus reflect the food eaten at that time. The recipes are from several sources, including some by the great statesman himself. Among the period recipes and anecdotes, the reader will encounter some more modern recipes, and excursions into the origins of food and drink, all served with a liberal scattering of Franklin's quotations.