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Ball lightning kills Richmann, 1753

Ball lightning kills Richmann, 1753

C029/6257

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Ball lightning kills Richmann. German physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann (1722-1753) was killed by ball lightning in his laboratory in St Petersburg, Russia, on 6 August 1753. The previous year, several experiments had been carried out to investigate lightning. Richmann rushed home during a thunderstorm to carry out the experiment, but the force of the lightning singed his clothes, blew open his shoes, knocked out his engineer Sokoloff, ripped the door off its hinges, and killed Richmann, leaving a red mark on his forehead. Artwork from 'Electricite' (1911) by Max de Nansouty, part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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