Thomas-François Dalibard

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Thomas-François Dalibard was born in Crannes-en-Champagne, France in 1709 and died in 1778.[1]

Relationship with Ben Franklin[edit]

He first met U.S. scientist Benjamin Franklin in 1767[2] during one of Franklin's visits to France and it is said that they became friends.

In 1750, Benjamin Franklin published a proposal for an experiment to determine if lightning was electricity. He proposed extending a conductor into a cloud that appeared to have the potential to become a thunderstorm. If electricity existed in the cloud, the conductor could be used to extract it.

Experiments with electricity[edit]

Dalibard & Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, translated Franklin's proposal into French and in May 1752 they performed an experiment using a 40-foot-tall metal rod at Marly-la-Ville. It is said that Dalibard used wine bottles to ground the pole, and he successfully extracted electricity from a low cloud. It is not known whether Franklin ever performed his proposed experiment.[3][4]


Dalibard was the author of Florae Parisiensis Prodromus, ou catalogue des plantes qui naissent dans les environs de Paris (Florae Parisiensis Prodromus , or catalog of plants native to the area around Paris) (Paris, 1749).


Further reading[edit]

Hamamdjian, Pierre G. (1970–80). "Dalibard, Thomas François". Dictionary of Scientific Biography 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 535. ISBN 978-0-684-10114-9.