Benjamin Franklin, American theorist on static electricity, c 1760.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Portrait by Joseph Wright, Royal Society. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) trained as a printer, first in his family's firm in Boston, and later in England. He became a notable publisher but is now better known as one of the founders of the science of electricity. He became interested in the principles of electricity in 1747 and published 'Experiments and Observations on Electricity' in London in 1751.