Franklin presentation promises to be electrifying

Steven Daniels, a professor and the chair of the physics department, promises “arcs and sparks” during his presentation at 4 p.m. today in Booth Library’s conference room on the fourth floor.

The seminar will focus on the inventions of Benjamin Franklin, and the science around it. As part of the event, Daniels will have several scientific demonstrations involving electricity.

“I hope to educate people a little bit about inventions, a little bit about electricity, and a little bit about Benjamin Franklin,” Daniels said.

He said that he will also be presenting a musical instrument that was created by Franklin. The instrument is called an armonica, or glass harmonica, and uses the vibrations and resonance from the musician’s hands running over glass surfaces to create musical notes. Daniels explained that this is a similar principle to the music produced by someone moving his or her finger around the rim of a wine glass.

“As Franklin put it, (the armonica) is one of his best inventions.” said Daniels, “It actually caught on for a while. people like Mozart wrote music for it.”

Jocelyn Tipton, the head of reference services at the library and organizer for the event, said that Daniels’ demonstrations should make the presentation exciting and “more lively.”

“Franklin did so much with inventions,” said Tipton. “This is really what we associate with Franklin.”

Tipton said the library was excited to have someone from the physics department to do the presentation since the science involved really goes along with their field.

The presentation is part of the library’s larger exhibit on Franklin that is going on throughout February. Tipton explained that since this presentation will focus more on Franklin’s science it will “help round out all of the programs” since the others have focused more on his art and humanity work.

“The thrill of learning is interesting to me,” Daniels said.

Seth Schroeder can be reached at 581-2812

or [email protected]