Cover image for Benjamin Franklin's science
Benjamin Franklin's science
Cohen, I. Bernard, 1914-2003.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
xii, 273 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


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QC16.F68 C64 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Cohen (history of science, Harvard) reveals the important theoretical side to Franklin's scientific work. He traces his study, especially of Newton, and examines the theoretical basis of his electricity experiments, noting that Franklin's success as a diplomat was due to his fame as a scientist amon

Author Notes

Born in Far Rockaway, New York, I. Bernard Cohen earned degrees from Harvard University. He holds the distinction of being the first person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in the history of science. Later, Cohen established the History of Science Department at Harvard.

Cohen has received many fellowships and has won the George Sarton Medal, awarded by the History of Science Society. Cohen is an author and editor, known for his books about Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Cohen, one of the most respected authorities in science history, presents 12 scholarly chapters about American science, especially physics and the importance of Benjamin Franklin. Beginning with a survey of Franklin's style, Cohen devotes considerable attention to Franklin's work related to electricity and the lightning rod (including one chapter, coauthored with Robert Schofield, "Father Divis and the First European Lightning Rod"). Equally interesting are chapters devoted to the Pennsylvania Hospital, the significance of American astronomical observations in 1753 of the Transit of Mercury (reflecting the international scope of Franklin's concern for scientific cooperation), and a closing chapter, "Faraday and the Newborn Baby'" (the "baby" referring to Franklin's famous apothegm about the use of a newborn baby and the potential utility of scientific discoveries, in this case Faraday's theoretical study of electromagnetism). A concise, readable, informative collection of essays for readers interested in Benjamin Franklin or 18th-century American history. -J. W. Dauben, Herbert H. Lehman College, CUNY

Table of Contents

ForewordBrooke Hindle
Franklin's Scientific Style How Practical Was Franklin's Science?
The Mysterious ""Dr. Spence"" Collinson's Gift and the New German Experiments
The Kite, the Sentry Box, and the Lightning Rod Father Divi and the First European Lightning Rod (with Robert Schofield)
Prejudice against the Introduction of Lightning Rods Heat and Color
The Pennsylvania Hospital The Transit of Mercury Faraday and the ""Newborn Baby"" Supplement: The Franklin Stove (Samuel J