The Ingenious Dr. Franklin: Selected Scientific Letters of Benjamin Franklin

Front Cover
Nathan G. Goodman
University of Pennsylvania Press, Jun 3, 2011 - Literary Collections - 256 pages

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.

 

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Contents

The Ingenious Dr Franklin
1
Practical Schemes and Suggestions
15
Daylight Saving
17
Treatment for Gout
23
Cold Air Bath
25
Electrical Treatment for Paralysis
26
Lead Poisoning
29
Rules of Health and Long Life
33
Locating the Gulf Stream
129
Charting the Gulf Stream
133
Depth of Water and Speed of Boats
136
Distillation of Salt Water
140
Behavior of Oil on Water
142
Earliest Account of Marsh Gas
145
Smallpox and Cancer
148
Restoration of Life by Sun Rays
150

The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams
35
Learning to Swim
41
On Swimming
46
Choosing EyeGlasses
50
Bifocals
54
Lightning Rods
56
Advantage of Pointed Conductors
62
Pennsylvanian Fireplaces
64
Slaughtering by Electricity
71
Canal Transportation
74
Indian Corn
76
The Armonica
79
Divers Experiments and Observations
87
First Hydrogen Balloon
89
A HotAir Balloon
94
First Aerial Voyage by Man
96
Second Aerial Voyage by Man
99
A Prophecy on Aerial Navigation
103
Magic Squares
106
Electrical Experiments
110
Early Electrical Experiments
111
The Kite
115
The Course and Effect of Lightning
117
Character of Clouds
122
Musical Sounds
125
Scientific Deductions and Conjectures
153
Cause of Colds
155
Definition of a Cold
157
Heat and Cold
158
Cold by Evaporation
165
On Springs
170
Tides and Rivers
172
Direction of Rivers
178
Salt and Salt Water
183
Origin of Northeast Storms
185
Effect of Oil on Water
188
Spouts and Whirlwinds
198
Sun Spots
212
Conductors and NonConductors
215
Queries on Electricity
220
Magnetism and the Theory of the Earth
225
Nature of Lightning
228
Sound
232
Prehistoric Animals of the Ohio
235
Toads Found in Stone
237
Checklist of Letters and Papers
239
List of Correspondents
242
List of a Few Additional Letters
243
Back Cover
248
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About the author (2011)

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

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