The Ingenious Dr. Franklin

9780812210675: Paperback
Release Date: 1st October 1974

10 illus.

Dimensions: 127 x 210

Number of Pages: 256

Series Pennsylvania Paperbacks

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

The Ingenious Dr. Franklin

Selected Scientific Letters of Benjamin Franklin

Franklin's most entertaining speculative letters on a variety of subjects: the first balloon ascensions, electrocution, daylight saving, bifocal glasses, magic squares, his famous Kite and Stove, and so on.

Paperback / £17.99

An outstanding collection of Benjamin Franklin's scientific correspondence, The Ingenious Dr. Franklin has long been unavailable yet deserves a place beside his Autobiography as essential reading for everyone interested in history, wit, and invention. Portioned into three sections, "Practical Schemes and Suggestions," "Diverse Experiments and Observations," and "Scientific Deductions and Conjectures," these letters discuss an extraordinary range of topics, including the art of procuring pleasant dreams, choosing eye glasses, the first human flight, the character of clouds, the behavior of oil and water, smallpox and cancer, the cause of colds, charting the Gulf Stream, and prehistoric animals of the Ohio.

Culled from ponderous volumes of collected works or private collections, these engaging and unabridged letters were assembled to allow readers to discover for themselves Benjamin Franklin's vigorous personality, his humanity, and his penetrating intelligence.

Nathan G. Goodman is the author of Benjamin Rush, Physician and Citizen, 1746-1813, also published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

"Dr. Franklin's own excited, uproariously witty reports to his family, his friends, and his scientific colleagues in Europe and America create an incomparable portrait of science in the eighteenth century. Reading these letters fosters a new affection for our country's foremost and most beloved inventor."—Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter

"This marvelous collection helps rescue Ben Franklin from our impression of him as a genial tinkerer flying kites in the rain. In fact, he was a serious scientist whose letters reveal the scope of his ideas, ranging from daylight savings time to bifocals to magnetism. This book crackles with his wonderful mental energy."—Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time

"This book crackles with his wonderful mental energy."—Walter Isaacson