Ben Franklin

SECRETS OF THE DEAD
Ben Franklin’s Bones

 

When skeletal remains of at least 10 people, including several infants, turned up in the basement of Benjamin Franklin’s British residence, people wondered if the Founding Father might have had a much darker side, as the bones had been meticulously cut and drilled. Franklin was aware of the bodies in his basement, but they weren’t the victims of violent acts. Rather, they were used for the purposes of an illegal anatomy school that helped shaped modern medicine.

 

 

NOVA
Ben Franklin’s Balloons

 

The first stage in the adventure of human flight began with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th-century Paris, where a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers developed all the essential features of today’s hot air and gas balloons. Their exploits fascinated Benjamin Franklin, who was serving in Paris as the American ambassador. To explore this burst of innovation, NOVA re-creates key flights, including the world’s first manned voyage on November 21, 1783. A descendant of the Montgolfier brothers, who invented the hot-air balloon, will join a team to build an accurate replica of the fragile paper and canvas craft using 18th-century tools and materials. NOVA evokes the thrilling and daunting prospect that the balloon pioneers faced as they left Earth for the first time.