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so in the last couple of videos we've talked about Benjamin Franklin as a printer we've talked about him as a as a successful public leader as a successful businessman but we also know Benjamin Franklin and we talked about him as a successful writer with Poor Richard's Almanack but but with there's this other side of Benjamin Franklin dove makes him larger than life which he was also a a significant scientist yes you know he would have thought it was strange that you could aspire to be a great citizen and not care about science back then you should know about science so he did everything from try to track the Gulfstream he discovered ways to use dark fabrics to absorb heat he creates a great Franklin stove a fireplace that's a wonderful way to be more efficient in terms of you know heating a room without getting it all smoky and and also not wasting the heat I think you know normally in a fireplace all the heat goes straight up and out right right and it sort of had a nice little top to it that guide little plate that got very hot and so he was a very practical inventor even things like you know bifocals he's riding along the road one day and he keeps wanting to read but then look up into the distance and he says well why don't I have two pieces of glass melded together one that's good for reading and one that's good for looking out in the distance so it wasn't like he was a research scientist he was just a practical inventor what makes him into a great research scientist is when finally you know in the 1740s in early 1750s he starts doing the electricity experiments and this is important this is actually something I learned what when I read your book on Benjamin Franklin is that I mean this was real as you mentioned this was real research this was you know something that understand the nature of electricity the nature of lightning and what and how to manipulate it yeah we think of them as a doddering old dude flying a kite in the rain but in fact those electricity experiments were the most important experiment of that era not only not only for the practical use of them but for the theory up until then people created static electricity you know when you rub your sweater against a piece of glass and lots of sparks come out and they thought that electricity was two different fluids and they had two different names of the fluids Franklin realizes it's a single fluid and he creates the idea of positive and negative plus and minus those type of things so that's a flow of electricity and he does that with his electricity experiments that really begin and then 1740s partly is a parlor trick because he loves it but then he realizes no let's study this stuff electricity and it was a real issue I mean people were dying because of lightning you know I remember in the book there wasn't particularly funny I don't forgot the exact quote where he said you know the churches get to be tend to be hit disproportionately so it seems like God is not favorite right well you know what they used to do was they would sanctify the church bells so that it would ward off the lightning and they would even sometimes store gunpowder inside churches with sanctified bells but the Lightning kept hitting the steeples of the churches and people in Germany Italy and then the United States you know there were these huge explosions Lightning was a great scourge of the Tonica to ward off lightning they would sanctify a metal Bell and put at the top of a tower Binga it did not what and Franklin has a wonderful line in one of his letters which is you'd think we would try something different and see if that worked and so Franklin looks at sparks that he's been looking at from his electricity experiment and he's been you know creating these little sparks with the static electricity but then using a wire to make it into a flow of electricity and put it into a battery he gives us a name battery because he puts it together a lot of Leyden jars which is the way they used to store electricity and so he's looking at the similarity between Sparks and lightning and in his notebook he makes a little chart he said well sparks have these qualities they're fast they jump there's a sulfur smell they make a little crack and lightning has the same qualities and he does a wonderful notation at the bottom of that notebook page very scientists like he says let the experiments be made and that's how you get the Lightning experiments and he literally I mean you know it's a little bit of a I guess you know it sounds like a legend now but he literally did go out into a rainstorm and tie a kite with a silk thread to a kind of a key attached to a Leyden jar well what he did was as clouds were passing over he and his son William went out into a field and as the rain started they flew the kite and they tried to draw the electricity down from the clouds because it was his theory that a lightning strike was just a spark coming out of a cloud and at first it didn't work but as the cloud got near he could see the little fibers on the silk you know get raised and there was a key at the end of it and that's where the the electricity the the charge collected and then he was able to put it into a a Leyden jar or a battery right so really what he was doing is he was connecting because the clouds are getting a they're kind of a different electric potential up here he by kind of connecting it with this conducting silk thread that's wet he was able to kind of get the Leyden jar the same potential was it wasn't like the lightning struck like that no it wasn't like lightning liking him he was drawing some of the charge down from the cloud but that showed him that what lightning was was a discharge from the cloud of its electric potential right right right and and that's significant because when he figured that out that you could manipulate electric that that lightning was electricity ELISA that that he could kind of solve the church the big big problem if you look at that kite you've drawn what does that show you it says I get it if we put something up there like that like a lightning rod and he knew that pointed metal objects were very good at drawing the flow of electricity so he said why don't we put up a lightning rod and he described exactly how to do it they ended up testing it in first because he published the lightning-rod way of doing it but later on he replicates the experiments in the United States it makes him the most famous person probably other than maybe the King of France and the King of England the most famous person in the world because he has solved this astonishingly a big problem of how do we ward off lightning from striking our buildings especially tall buildings like very tall Bible Church in hasselt hours and this literally saves lives this is a Oh save you know hundreds of lives by far the most important invention of the time and of course we still use lightning rods we still ground have grounded points on top of buildings to make sure you know it's a very simple idea if you give the kind of this pointed conductor point that's really high up the Lightning will want to strike that and then you can construct a path for the lightning so it can go to the ground so that you give a path for like so it can go to the ground and not have to go through the building and you know what he does in his house in Philadelphia especially because he's about to go to England again at the time he puts up a lightning rod he grounds it but he puts a tiny little bell so that when the electricity is coming down from the storm is approaching and it's drawing the electrical charge from the cloud a tiny little bell will sort of bounce back and forth being jolted by the charges coming there and it drove devil read his wife absolutely to distraction so there's a wonderful letter he writes home from England telling her how to dismantle the Bell and it will still be safe