Restless Genius of Benjamin Franklin, presented by Richard Bell, Ph.D., professor of History at the University of Maryland
Born to a humble family of puritan candle-makers in Boston, Franklin’s rise to the front ranks of science, engineering, and invention was as unexpected as it was meteoric.
Like his hero Isaac Newton, Franklin’s great genius lay in optimizing, in tinkering, in improving, and in never being satisfied with the world as he knew it. In this talk we will examine many of Franklin’s ideas to make life simpler, cheaper, and easier for himself and everyone else. It turns out that those ideas encompassed not only natural science and engineering—the kite experiments and the bifocals—but also all sorts of public works, civic improvements, political trail-blazing, and fresh, new business ideas.
Hardly the tortured genius, Franklin took a schoolboy’s pleasure in everything he made. Experimenting was a constant source of beauty, pleasure, and amusement for him, even when things went wrong (which they did all the time).
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