You’ve heard the term mesmerized before, and you’ve likely heard of a blind study in medical research. But do you know what these two terms have in common? Benjamin Franklin!
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France by Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. 2015, Candlewick.
When Benjamin Franklin arrived in France seeking support for the American cause, Paris was all abuzz about recent advances in science. One man in particular was drawing much attention – Dr. Franz Mesmer. Like the invisible gas that was recently proven to buoy giant passenger-carrying balloons when burned, Dr. Mesmer claimed that he, too, had discovered a powerful new invisible force.
Dr. Mesmer said this forced streamed from the stars and flowed into his wand. When he stared into his patients’ eyes and waved the wand, things happened.
Children fell down in fits.
Mesmer and his practitioners claimed to cure illnesses in this manner, but was is true? Or was it quackery? King Louis XVI wanted to know, and Benjamin Franklin was sent to find out.
Mesmerized is one of those wonderful books that combines science with history and humor. Using the scientific method, Benjamin Franklin was able to deduce that Dr. Mesmer had indeed discovered something, but not the something he had claimed!
Delightfully humorous and informative illustrations, a section on the scientific method (Oh La La … La Science!). and a list of source books and articles make Mesmerized a triple-play – science, humor, and history. Go ahead, read it. Be mesmerized.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Copyright © 2015 L Taylor Shelf-employed All Rights Reserved.