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October 13, 2017
Q. Lightning is better understood than people think. When was the electrical nature of lightning first understood and by whom?
A. As early as the 1750s, Benjamin Franklin and French physicist Thomas-Francois Dalibard (1709-1778) were drawn to the subject, says lightning specialist Brian Burrows of Oxfordshire, England, writing in New Scientist magazine. Franklin is also credited with suggesting use of an elevated, earthed metal rod to protect buildings, an idea “quickly taken up by the Royal Navy, which had lost many wooden ships from fires caused by lightning strikes.”
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