4 December 2012
Benjamin Franklin: Citizen and Scientist
“Come along, lads!” cries a young Benjamin Franklin to his group of schoolmates. Running and jumping, the boys make their way to the Charles River on a warm Boston day. Reaching the river, young Ben dives in straight away, while the other boys gingerly slip into the calm waters. Ben was always a very confident and strong swimmer, and strikes out with his arms at the blue water in a familiar stroke as his friends splash about. From a distance, he observes his fellow lads as he bobs in the water, catching his breath. He was quite some distance away from shore now, floating on his back and gazing at the clear blue sky in front of him. Then suddenly, in this moment of relaxed clarity, an idea pops into his mind. It was so obvious, a simple solution to aid his swimming abilities. He swims back quickly to his friends, eager to share his new idea for an invention. “Fins!” he exclaims as he reaches the boys. Upon meeting their confused looks, Ben begins to explain his idea of how to make swimming easier and more efficient after experiencing the wear that swimming a long distance takes. In order to swim more easily like the other aquatic creatures he observes in the river, he would construct swimming fins for his hands and feet. His friends laughs excitedly at the image of Ben with fins strapped to his hands and feet, and he joins in. He knows that to most lads, a boy with fins would appear foolish, but he is certain that such a thing would make swimming great distances easier. As the other boys turn their thoughts to boyish antics and schoolboy gossip, Ben’s sharp mind begins to map out his construction of his newest invention. It would be this same mind, refined through strict moral structure and expanded with knowledge as he grew up, that would one day construct some of the most elaborate and cutting edge scientific experiments of his age, as well help craft vital
Cited: "Franklin, Benjamin." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Credo Reference. Web. 07 October 2012. "Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790)." The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 07 October 2012. “Quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin.” ushistory.org. 1999. Web. 7 October 2012. Online.