Dalibard's lightning experiment, 1752

Dalibard's lightning experiment, 1752

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dailbard's lightning experiment, 1752. Artwork of French scientist Thomas-Francois Dalibard (1709- 1799) carrying out his lightning experiment on 10 May 1752, at Marly, France. The metal structure pointing upwards is attracting charge from the storm clouds overhead, showing that lightning is the same phenomenon as electricity. This experiment was one of the first to attempt to discover the nature of lightning. The idea for the experiment was from a book by the US scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who had intended to conduct this experiment with the spire of a church being built in Philadelphia, USA. Dalibard's experiment occurred a few weeks before Franklin, in June 1752, used a kite instead of the spire, but Franklin is usually credited with the discovery of the nature of lightning. Artwork from A Travers l'Electricite (G. Dary, Paris, 1900).

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