BN.com Gift Guide

The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius [NOOK Book]

Overview

Famous, fascinating Benjamin Franklin-he would be neither without his accomplishments in science. In this authoritative intellectual biography of America’s most brilliant and cosmopolitan Founding Father, Joyce Chaplin considers Franklin’s scientific work as a career in its own right as well as the basis of his political thought. The famous kite and other experiments with electricity were only part of Franklin’s accomplishments. He charted the Gulf Stream, made important observations in meteorology, and used the ...
See more details below
The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.49
BN.com price
(Save 43%)$24.00 List Price

Overview

Famous, fascinating Benjamin Franklin-he would be neither without his accomplishments in science. In this authoritative intellectual biography of America’s most brilliant and cosmopolitan Founding Father, Joyce Chaplin considers Franklin’s scientific work as a career in its own right as well as the basis of his political thought. The famous kite and other experiments with electricity were only part of Franklin’s accomplishments. He charted the Gulf Stream, made important observations in meteorology, and used the burgeoning science of “political arithmetic” to make unprecedented statements about America’s power. Even as he stepped onto the world stage as an illustrious statesman and diplomat in the years leading up to the American Revolution, his fascination with nature was unrelenting.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Previous biographies have presented Benjamin Franklin as "the first American," so perhaps it should not surprise us that Joyce Chaplin's study paints him as the father of American science. Harvard professor Chaplin does far more retell timeworn tales of improvised lightning experiments; she asserts that Franklin's scientific genius is the central key to understanding him and his worldview.
Publishers Weekly
Is there room for yet another Franklin biography on already crowded shelves? Chaplin, a Harvard historian of science, keeps the subject fresh by narrowing her focus almost exclusively to Franklin's scientific career. It was the pursuit of "natural philosophy," including his early experiments on the properties of electricity, that made Franklin a celebrity in Europe, and Chaplin shows how he crafted his public image as a scientist to transform himself from a humble colonial tradesman into a sophisticated gentleman of letters. In her estimation, Franklin's forays into politics on behalf of the American colonies prevented him from pursuing further research that might have led to discoveries as revolutionary as those of Isaac Newton. She's careful, though, to point out that much of Franklin's science would be unrecognizable as such to us today; he was a proponent, for example, of the "argument from design" that underpins modern creationism. If you've read any of the other Franklin bios, Chaplin won't radically alter your perspective, but for those with only vague notions about his role as a founding father and particularly his importance as a scientist, her emphasis can be eye-opening. (Apr. 17) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin's scientific genius, so often ignored today, gave him access to the corridors of diplomacy for which he is now renowned. Chaplin (history, Harvard Univ.; An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730-1815) notes that Franklin was the first person to become an international celebrity because of his work in the physical sciences (Albert Einstein was similarly lionized some 250 years later). In describing Franklin's scientific path, Chaplin, who has previously published scholarly works on science and technology in Colonial North America, captures the impact of Franklin's gifts on the development of his country's intellectual infrastructure. Franklin's knowledge, social and observational skills, and energy enabled him to complete projects ranging from the charting of the Gulf Stream current to the invention of a currency that resisted counterfeiting to the unveiling of the nature of electricity. This is a well-written, extensively footnoted, and finely illustrated biography. Because of the focus on Franklin's scientific life, it will add a new perspective to the body of myths that surrounds the great man in this tercentennial year of his birth. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Sara Rutter, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Lib., Honolulu Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465008858
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 8/2/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,104,587
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Joyce E. Chaplin is Professor of History at Harvard University. She is the author of two academic books: An Anxious Pursuit and Subject Matter. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
1 Genius 1
2 Head and Hands 9
3 Man of Letters 39
4 Experiments and Observations 73
5 The Franklin Paradox 116
6 Distance 160
7 Wrecked 201
8 The Science of War 240
9 Final Accounts 293
10 Afterlife 336
Notes 363
Acknowledgments 405
Index 407
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)