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Mesmerising Science: The Franklin Commission and the Modern Clinical Trial

- November 20, 2018 in animal magnetism, baquet, benjamin franklin, Featured Articles, Franz Mesmer, history of clinical trials, hypnosis, magnetism, mesmerism, placebo, Science & Medicine, suggestion

Benjamin Franklin, magnetic trees, and erotically-charged séances — Urte Laukaityte on how a craze for sessions of "animal magnetism" in late 18th-century Paris led to the randomised placebo-controlled and double-blind clinical trials we know and love today.

Flash Mob: Revolution, Lightning, and the People’s Will

- November 9, 2017 in allegory, Art & Illustrations, benjamin franklin, Culture & History, Featured Articles, french revolution, Jean-Paul Marat, Joseph Priestley, lightning, Maximilien Robespierre, power, revolution, Science, symbolism, thunderbolt

Kevin Duong explores how leading French revolutionaries, in need of an image to represent the all important “will of the people”, turned to the thunderbolt — a natural symbol of power and illumination that also signalled the scientific ideals so key to their project.

The Founding Fathers v. The Climate Change Skeptics

- February 19, 2014 in Articles, benjamin franklin, british america, british colonies, climate change, founding fathers, Science & Medicine, thomas jefferson, weather

When claims from Europe accused British America of being inferior on account of its colder weather, Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founding Fathers responded with patriotic zeal that their settlement was actually causing the climate to warm. Raphael Calel explores how, in contrast to today's common association of the U.S. with climate change skepticism, it was a very different story in the 18th century.