Scientific discoveries of Benjamin Franklin - Студенческий научный форум

XII Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2020

Scientific discoveries of Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) is an American public figure, politician, diplomat, writer, inventor who made a great contribution to gaining independence from England. He was the only one among the founding fathers of the United States who put his signature on all three documents underlying the creation of the state. Franklin became the first American to become a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Franklin's portrait is depicted on a 100-dollar bill. For this reason, many think that he was the president of the United States, but this is not so.

Difficult childhood

Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in Boston in a large family. He was the 15th child of his father, Josiah, who came overseas from England, producing soap and candles. The difficult financial situation did not allow parents to provide their children with a good education, but for Benjamin’s inquiring mind, this did not become a serious obstacle. He independently mastered the school course, while simultaneously working as an apprentice in the printing house. The childhood impressions received at work will inculcate a love of printing for life.

In his youth, the future politician began to be published in a newspaper published by his brother. But he wrote his articles under the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dugud,” since he did not give the go-ahead for publication. In 1728, Franklin created a small discussion group, The Club of Leather Aprons, which turned 20 years later into the American Philosophical Society. Many well-known scientists, including Russian ones, took part in its work.

In the 1730s, Franklin became a very popular personality, which was facilitated by the writing of "Poor Richard's Almanac." This is one of the most important parts of Benjamin's literary heritage, where he represents a modal personality in which the American national traits are guessed. The author focuses the reader on the importance of individual success.

During these years, Franklin publishes his own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, and also created a volunteer fire brigade and opened the country's first public library. Everyone was served in it, and to facilitate the work of librarians, he came up with a wooden pole with a special grip at the end, which helped to remove books from the upper racks.

Franklin stove

Along with active social and political activities, journalism, writing and diplomacy, Benjamin forever remained in his memory as a talented inventor and scientist who made a considerable contribution to the development of science.

One of his most famous creations is the Franklin Stove ("Pennsylvania Fireplace"). This economical heating device is intended for use in a residential environment. The reason for its creation was the low efficiency of English stoves common in American colonies. They were originally intended for a milder climate - the chimney was discharged from the outside of the house, which led to critically high heat losses.

The inventor made his furnace from cast iron, which has good heat dissipation. It was located in the central part of the room, and its chimney was an additional source of heat, as it was located inside the house. The introduced design changes have reduced fuel consumption. As a result, the device, consuming 2/3 less firewood, gave twice as much heat as the English counterparts.

Combustion air was supplied to the furnace from the outside through a specially created channel (“cold chimney”), which made it possible to keep warm air in the room as much as possible. Subsequently, the first version of the furnace, created in 1742, was finalized by D. Rieterhouse, which equipped the product with corner panels and an L-shaped chimney.

To increase sales of his furnaces, Franklin in 1744 wrote a large article in which he detailed his advantages and principle of operation. He receives an offer to patent his invention, but Benjamin refused, so that anyone who wants to be able to use the stove.

The study of natural electricity. Invention of a lightning rod

Until the middle of the XVIII century, the electrical nature of lightning remained beyond the scope of scientific research, since this phenomenon was associated with some natural causes. It was Franklin who was one of the first to doubt this, who conducted a famous experiment with a kite.

In May 1752, he and his son launched a kite during a thunderstorm, the basis of which was a wooden frame covered in silk. At its end was a small metal pin (conductor). The device was tied with a scourge connected at the ground with a key to the lock. It was used as an object with pointed areas on which the visual corona discharge passed. During the experiment, Franklin planned to provoke a lightning strike into the rod, which should transfer part of the charge along a wet rope to a key near the ground. The lightning striking the snake created a halo around the key, which became direct evidence of the electrical nature of the phenomenon.

The experience was very risky, but Franklin managed to remain safe and sound - a strong knowledge in the field of electricity helped. During the experiment, he was outside the window of his house, fencing himself from the affected area. The results of the study formed the basis of the invention of the lightning rod - one of the most common devices today. Franklin sent his thoughts on this subject to British scientists, which caused only rejection on their part. The inventor was supported only in France, where the translator of his works, T.-F. Deliba successfully installed the design according to Benjamin's schemes.

Franklin himself placed a lightning rod on the roof of his Philadelphia house. It was a metal pointed rod 9 feet high, which was connected to the well with iron wire. She was led through the living room and connected to a bell that gave a signal in the event of an impact. Gradually, lightning rods began to be installed in many US homes.

Franklin put forward the idea of ​​an electric motor and showed the action of an electrostatic wheel. The Franklin Wheel is a device that rotates under the influence of electrostatic forces. It functions on the basis of the repulsive force arising around a charged conductor. In a strong field near its tip, there is a polarization of molecules that are attracted to this region, which causes the effect of electric wind.

Also, the scientist was the first to use an electric spark to explode the powder mass and was able to explain the principle of operation of the Leyden jar. The latter is the first capacitor developed by Dutch inventor Peter van Mushenbruck. Franklin found that the dielectric separating the conductive plates plays a key role in it.

Inventions in the field of optics

Franklin's name is well known in the professional environment of ophthalmologists due to bifocal glasses, which are still widely used in optometry. Benjamina came up with the idea of ​​creating new items breaking his own glasses, which allowed him to conduct a series of experiments. The inventor himself suffered from presbyopia and farsightedness. Such patients are shown bifocal glasses or it is necessary to use two pairs at once, which is not always convenient.

Structurally, bifocal glasses are made of two parts - the lower one provides focus at close range, and the upper one allows you to look into the distance. They are used both for reading and for the purpose of performing work at close range.

Glass harmonica

From ancient times, musical instruments were made of various materials, but almost never took glass into account. In 1757, Franklin arrived in the British capital on a diplomatic visit. A number of researchers claim that the idea of ​​the invention came to Benjamin after a concert by E. Delavel and the Austrian composer Gluck, who performed with great success throughout Europe with “musical cups”, which was designed by someone R. Pakrich.

Franklin decided to improve the device so that any people could play it, not just specially trained ones. Its harmonica consisted of a series of glass hemispheres that were strung on a special metal shaft. It rotated from the foot lever, while the lower part of the hemispheres was immersed in water. The artist put his fingers on various hemispheres, creating a melodic sound. The location of the makeshift keys was similar to a classic piano. Franklin, along with his invention, gave several concerts in Europe. The success was fantastic, the audience accepted the instrument with a bang, and harmonica in the next century will be an integral part of the symphony orchestra. A number of prominent composers (Berlioz, Beethoven, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky) wrote their opus specifically for "sounding glass."

Other inventions and proposals

Franklin owned a patent for the invention of wheelchairs. As it often happened to him, the invention happened quite by accident. One day, on his way home, he saw how the mother rocked the baby and wanted to return to childhood. Benjamin combined a regular chair with curved runners, which turned him into a very convenient fixture.

The American was a very busy man who sorely lacked time. In order not to be a slave to circumstances, he decided to manage time by inventing his own system. Its implementation allowed to become much more effective than any average person. The main idea of ​​the Franklin model is planning activities aimed at achieving the goal. To do this, it is divided into separate tasks - from short-term tactical to long-term strategic. The scientist suggested when planning for the day to differentiate things on three grounds - priority, secondary and minor. Thus, priorities are correctly set and time is used as efficiently as possible.

Franklin owns a series of studies related to storm winds - he put forward a theory to explain their appearance. Franklin participated in the study of the Gulf Stream and gave the name to this warm current, contributing to its drawing on the physical map. This happened while working at the post office. An observant American noted that mailing lists are delivered to New York much longer than to Newport. On his initiative, the sailors began to put the results on the map, indicating the trajectory of the warm current.

Benjamin has the idea of ​​switching to daylight saving time and harvest insurance. A prolific American was involved in creating an odometer that measures the number of wheel revolutions and thus calculates the distance traveled.

Benjamin Franklin died April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia. About 20 thousand people attended the farewell ceremony with an outstanding compatriot, while only 33 thousand lived in the city.

Interesting Facts

Franklin, who was actively engaged in risky experiments with lightning, nevertheless received a blow, but quite by accident and without any special consequences.

Benjamin's unlimited talent, his interest in many areas made it possible to say that there were several Franklin and all of them were twins.

Benjamin is the author of one of the most famous aphorisms: "Time is money."

In honor of the legendary American named the psychological "effect of Benjamin Franklin." It lies in the fact that a person who has done good to another, with a high degree of probability, will help him again, rather than rely on his help.

Franklin coined the designation of electrically charged states as - (minus) and + (plus).

Already at an advanced age, Franklin wrote a detailed autobiography in which he revealed some secrets of his success.

The American often talked about the possibility of “traveling in the barrel of Madeira” in the future, implicitly predicting the appearance of cryonics.

By the decision of the World Council, the name of Franklin was ranked as an outstanding representative of humanity.

Franklin is one of two US politicians (along with A. Hamilton) who were honored to be featured in banknotes, never holding the post of head of state.

Benjamin stood at the origins of the famous University of Pennsylvania, promoting an educational program that focused on the fundamental preparation of graduates for public service. Here, following the example of European universities, a system of multidisciplinary education was implemented.

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