GARY BROWN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY BROWN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Benjamin Franklin. Caricature of the American statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706- 1790) holding a kite attached to a key, which he used to show that lightning is electricity. He did this in 1752, showing the metal key attracted electrical charge, and it led him to develop the first lightning rod, which protect buildings from lightning strikes. He also invented fins for swimming, bifocal glasses, a urinary catheter and showed that evaporation cooled objects. In between all this he found time to found the USA, helping shape the revolution and being a signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
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