Some Questions for Ben Franklin

  • May 12 · 5:45 PM
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American Philosophical Society Executive Officer Keith Thomson gives a talk on the legacy of Ben Franklin. 

Hopefully its sci-ency enough. Debated about it, but what the heck, its a tradition!

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Benjamin Franklin’s most famous experiment supposedly involved a kite and a key. But what was it for? Did he actually do it? In fact, could he have done it? Alternatively, why are some authors so keen to suggest it is all a fake?

Speaker: 
Keith Thomson is Executive Officer of the American Philosophical Society and Professor Emeritus of natural history at the University of Oxford. He previously taught for many years at Yale and was President of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He is the author of 12 books including The Young Charles Darwin (2009) and Jefferson’s Shadow: the Story of his Science (2012).


This place gets really packed. So, if you don't come by 5:30, you may have standing space only. Sorry cannot hold onto seats since people do get pushy about open seats. Talk starts at 6pm.

Looking for additional hosts to volunteer. All you need to do is get there by 5:20 so you can corner some seats.


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  • robert

    Thomson's talk was unenthusiastic, difficult to hear, and extremely narrow. It would've been great for him to connect the narrative of Franklin to larger questions. On the whole, it was like a lit review. That said, I enjoyed chatting up new and old members.

    2 · May 14

  • Scott Dinsmore

    Well organized and warm, inviting mood. Very appreciative?

    May 13

  • Girish

    Big turnout. Our group may be getting too big for that back corner there!

    May 13

  • Girish

    It's busier than normal. Come soon!

    May 12

  • Girish

    Hope to see you all this evening. To set expectations, this talk is more about the history of science than science itself. But its a chance to meet and talk. Our group usually takes the spot to the rear of the bar (immediate right once you step in through the doors). I am wearing a deep orange shirt and will have a meetup sign on wall. With all the RSVP's among three groups, I expect a good turnout.

    May 12

  • David Kraus

    Would love to attend this one, but I have a previous commitment.

    May 10

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