ICAE International Commission on Atmospheric Electricity

ICAE 2003 Versailles

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Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin Exhibition


Exhibition at the Palais des Congrès in Versailles
from June 9th to June 13th 2003
9 h - 18 h 30
Admission free

The organization committee for the 12th ICAE conference wishes to open and follow the congress with an exhibition dedicated to Benjamin Franklin. By enlarging the scope of his work beyond his decisive discovery within the field of atmospheric electricity, the purpose of the project is to bring to light a few aspects of Franklin's life and personality: modernity of his scientific approach, research of immediate applications for his discoveries, and finally his first rank political role witnessed by his embassy to the Versailles court.

The course of the exhibition will be focused around three centres.

  • The first one will illustrate the diversity but also the consistency of Franklin's work which is well anchored into the Age of Enlightenment as a result of his humanistic concern.
  • The second pole will focus on the experiences demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning which were carried out in 1752 on both sides of the Atlantic. While presenting this major experience, the fruitful (but slow and risky) exchanges between the mid-XVIIIth century scientists will also be illustrated.
  • The last pole will be dedicated to the invention of the lightning rod by a scientist anxious to put his discoveries to everyone's service. Within this frame, the theological quarrels, superstitious fears and various disputes of any nature which followed the diffusion of this remarkable invention will also be mentioned.

Last Update : June 16, 2003
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