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Discovering Electricity - Lightning in a Bottle

Thomas-Francois Dalibard and Georges-Louis Leclerc (the Count of Buffon) translated Benjamin Franklin’s theories about studying electricity into French.  

One of Franklin’s ideas, which he published around 1750, was to use a metal rod to capture lightning from the clouds, then channel it through the rod into a Leyden Jar.  Once in the Leyden Jar, the electrical charges (produced from the lightning) could be stored for future study.

This video clip recreates an event which occurred in May of 1752 when Dalibard and Leclerc carried-out the Franklin-inspired experiment.


Media Credits

Clip from "History of Electricity," a 2011 production by the BBC and Open University, online via BBC's Channel at YouTube.  Copyright BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the production.

 

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