Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Lightning is an influential natural electrostatic release produced during a thunderstorm. Lightning's abrupt electric release is accompanied by the emission of visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. The electric current passing through the release channels quickly heats and expands the air into plasma, producing acoustic shock waves in the atmosphere.

Early lightning investigate
During early investigations into electricity via Leyden jars and other instruments, a number of people planned that small scale sparks shared some similarity with lightning.

Benjamin Franklin, who also imaginary the lightning rod, endeavored to test this theory by using a spire which was being erected in Philadelphia. Whilst he was waiting for the spire completion some others conducted at Marly in France, what became to be known as the Philadelphia experiments that Franklin had optional in his book?

Franklin typically gets the credit for being the first to perform this research. The Franklin myth goes like this:

Whilst coming up for completion of the spire, he got the idea of using a flying object, such as a kite in its place. During the next shower, in June 1752, he raised a kite, accompanied by his son as an assistant. On his end of the string he emotionally involved a key and tied it to a post with a silk thread. As time passed Franklin noticed the loose fibers on the string stretching out; he then brought his hand close enough to the key and a flash jumped the gap. The rain which had fallen during the storm had covered with water the line and made it conductive.

However, in his memoirs, Franklin obviously states that he only performed this research after those made in France.

As news of the research and its specifics spread, it was met with attempts at duplication. Experiments involving lightning are always risky and commonly fatal. The most well known death during the rash of Franklin-imitators was Professor George Richman, of Saint Petersburg, Russia. He had shaped a setup similar to Franklin's, and was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when he heard thunder. He ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the research was underway, a large ball lightning showed up, collided with Richman's head, and killed him, leaving a red spot. His shoes were blown open, parts of his clothes singed, the engraver knocked out, the doorframe of the room was split, and the door itself ragged off its hinges.