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Picturing Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment in the 19th Century.

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Science is founded on hard evidence, but ironically, many of the stories we tell about scientists and their experiments are not based on much truth.

An apple falling on Newton's head didn't suddenly stimulate his idea of gravity; Darwin's theory of evolution wasn't founded on the beaks of finches.

And Benjamin Franklin certainly didn't discover electricity by holding a kite in a storm.

It's hard enough to imagine a great scientific mind standing in an open field, trying to attract a bolt of lightning to a metal key without any insulation or protection whatsoever – let alone one that would put a child in danger's way, too.

But that's what many illustrations of Franklin's kite experiment, including the one below, would have you believe.



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