Online Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Kite and key electrical engineering infographic

Beyond-Kite-Key-reduced

While most of society knows of electricity, few know the path electricity had to take to enter our daily modern world.

The electrical research event most people know of is Benjamin Franklin’s Kite & Key. The legend goes that Benjamin Franklin tied a key to a kite and flew that kite in a lightning storm to prove electricity was a natural occurrence. This act of reckless abandon to understand our world, although not historically accurate, is respected because of the bravery.

Several historical inaccuracies include:

  • Benjamin Franklin’s son was the only witness.
  • The kite was never struck by lightning. Had it been struck, Benjamin Franklin would have died.
  • Static electricity, not lighting, is what caused the key to give Benjamin Franklin a shock.
  • Part of the experiment was not the kite, but the kite string. The hypothesis was that electricity could only travel down a wet kite string. A dry kite string would not allow electricity to flow.

This primal curiosity was not contained to only one legendary man. Indeed, the world saw a number of brave scientists experimenting with this wild force of nature. These individuals acted as a conduit toward our modern world. Each step unlocking a bit more information, a new technology, a modern wonder. With these wonders around us on a daily basis, let us take a step back in time to understand the path that electricity took to enter into our daily lives in this infographic created by Ohio University’s Master of Science in Electrical Engineering program.

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