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Georg Richmann's Death During Experiment, 1753

Georg Richmann's Death During Experiment, 1753

C030/4125

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40.4 MB (6.8 MB compressed)

2945 x 4800 pixels

24.9 x 40.6 cm ⏐ 9.8 x 16.0 in (300dpi)

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Credit

SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Georg Wilhelm Richmann (July 22, 1711 - August 6, 1753) was a German physicist who lived in Russia. He proved that thunder clouds contain electric charge. He was electrocuted in St. Petersburg while trying to quantify the response of an insulated rod to a nearby storm. He was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when he heard thunder. The Professor ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the experiment was underway, a supposed ball lightning appeared and collided with Richmann's head leaving him dead with a red spot on his forehead, his shoes blown open, and parts of his clothes singed. An explosion followed like that of a small Cannon that knocked the engraver out, split the room's door frame, and tore the door off its hinges. He was the first person in history to die while conducting electrical experiments.

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