Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France
Written by Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. Candlewick, 2015
When Benjamin Franklin arrived in France seeking support for the American cause, Paris was all abuzz about recent advances in science, but 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.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.
Children fell down in fits.
Mesmerized is one of those wonderful books that combines history with science 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 (Ooh La La ... La Science!). and a list of source books and articles make Mesmerized a triple-play - science, humor, and history. Go ahead, be mesmerized!
*This post also appears on the STEM Friday blog today.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
See all of today's STEM-related posts at STEM Friday.