By Charles Tanford
Benjamin Franklin was once the 1st to document the phenomenon of oil's strength to nonetheless bothered waters and to invest on why it occurred. A century later Lord Rayleigh played the same test. Irving Langmuir did it with minor diversifications in 1917, and gained a Nobel Prize for it. Then Langmuir's paintings was once through a Dutch pediatrician's in 1925. p every one experimenter observed a bit extra within the end result than his predecessor had obvious, and the sciences of physics, chemistry and biology have all been illuminated through the paintings. p Charles Tanford displays at the evolving nature of technological know-how and of person scientists. Recounting suggestions in every one trial, he follows the vintage test from Franklin's drawing room to our present-day institutionalized medical institutions and speculates at the resulting alterations in our method of clinical inquiry.
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Additional info for Ben Franklin Stilled the Waves: An Informal History of Pouring Oil on Water with Reflections on the Ups and Downs of Scientific Life in General
Wedderburn’s harangue lasted an hour. Joseph Priestley was among the spectators, probably the only true friend of Franklin’s in the room. Franklin himself stood in silence throughout the attack (only the Privy Councillors had seats), and declined to make a rebuttal statement. The Massachusetts petition was of course dismissed as groundless. The following day Franklin was removed from the position of deputy postmaster-general, which he had held for twenty years, and this action perhaps hurt him more than Wedderburn’s tirade because he had made the post office a profitable operation for the crown, and was proud of it.
The most famous of Collinson’s business associates was John Bartram, whom George III subsequently appointed as American botanist to his court. Part of the original Bartram farm still exists as part of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system. ” Collinson was an active member of the Royal Society, but produced little original scientific work. His best-remembered paper (published in 1760) concerned the migration of swallows. It consisted of a well-reasoned argument, based on correspondence and travelers’ accounts, that swallows migrate between summer and winter ranges, and that they do not, as was then commonly believed, hibernate in their summer quarters under water.
It met at the famous Mitre Tavern on Fleet Street, where Samuel Johnson regularly held court. Only Fellows of the Royal Society were admitted to membership in the club, and politics and religion were strictly forbidden subjects for discussion. Careful records of attendance were kept and are preserved, and from them we learn that Franklin was frequently invited–– as well as the revealing fact that his invitations became more numerous after the Cockpit hearing, where official England had declared him unfit for association with decent men.