|Location||222 North 20th Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Public transit access|| SEPTA bus: 7, 32, 33, 38, 48, 49 |
Philly PHLASH, Suburban Station
The Franklin Institute Science Museum
|Location||222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA|
|Area||4.4 acres (1.8 ha)|
|Architect||Windrim, John Torrey; Day & Zimmermann|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival|
|NRHP reference No.||85000039|
|Added to NRHP||January 3, 1985|
The Franklin Institute is a science museum and the center of science education and research in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is named after the American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin. It houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. Founded in 1824, the Franklin Institute is one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States. Its chief astronomer is Derrick Pitts.
On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating founded the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts.
With a view further to develop the resources of the union, increase the national independence, call forth the ingenuity and industry of the people, and thereby increase the comforts of the community at large.
Begun in 1825, the institute was an important force in the professionalization of American science and technology through the nineteenth century, beginning with early investigations into steam engines and water power. In addition to conducting scientific inquiry, it fostered research and education by running schools, publishing the influential Journal of The Franklin Institute, sponsoring exhibitions, and recognizing scientific advancement and invention with medals and awards.
In the late twentieth century, the institute's research roles gave way to educating the general public through its museum. The Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute, founded in 1924 to conduct research in the physical sciences, now is part of the University of Delaware and named Bartol Research Institute.The Franklin Institute Laboratories for Research and Development operated from the Second World War into the 1980s.
Many scientists have demonstrated groundbreaking new technology at the Franklin Institute. From September 2 to October 11, 1884, it hosted the International Electrical Exhibition of 1884, the first great electrical exposition in the United States.The world's first public demonstration of an all-electronic television system was later given by Philo Taylor Farnsworth on August 25, 1934.
The first female member, Elizabeth Skinner, was elected to membership in 1833. The Franklin Institute was integrated in 1870, when Philadelphia teacher and activist Octavius Catto was admitted as a member.
The institute's original building at 15 South 7th Street, later the home of the (now-defunct) Atwater Kent Museum, eventually proved too small for the institute's research, educational programs, and library. The Institute moved into its current home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the intersection with 20th Street, in 1934. The new facility was intended from the start to educate visitors through hand-on interactions with exhibits: "Visitors to this museum would be encouraged to touch, handle, and operate the exhibits in order to learn how things work."Funds to build the new Institute and Franklin Memorial came from the Poor Richard Club, the City Board of Trust, the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Inc., and the Franklin Institute. John T. Windrim's original design was a completely square building surrounding the Benjamin Franklin Statue, which had yet to be built. Despite the effects of the Great Depression, the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Inc. raised $5 million between December 1929 and June 1930. Only two of the four wings envisioned by Windrim were built; these face the Parkway and share design elements with other cultural and civic structures around Logan Circle.
On March 31, 1940, press agent William Castellini issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The story was picked up by KYW, which reported, "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." This caused a panic in the city which only subsided when the Franklin Institute assured people it had made no such prediction. Castellini was dismissed shortly thereafter.
On December 21, 2017, during a party hosted by the museum, a partygoer with his companions slipped into a closed-off exhibit of ten terracotta warriors on loan from China. After his companions left, the partygoer broke off and stole a thumb from one of the warriors. Law enforcement agents later recovered the stolen thumb. The vandalized cavalryman is valued at US$4.5 million, and is considered a "priceless part of China's cultural heritage". The vandalism stoked outrage in Chinese media such as Xinhua. The Franklin Institute blamed its external security contractor, and stated it has reviewed its security measures and procedures to prevent such situations from recurring.The defendant was charged both with theft, and with concealment of an item of cultural heritage. The defense argued that the defendant was being "overcharged" under statutes applicable to professional art thieves. An April 2019 trial ended in a hung jury, with seven of the twelve jurors in favor of acquittal. A February 2020 retrial was postponed due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, the institute housed the work of Dyymond Whipper-Young as she broke the Guinness world record for the "world's largest drawing by an individual".
In 2006, the Franklin Institute began fundraising activities for the Inspire Science! capital campaign, a $64.7 million campaign intended to fund the construction of a 53,000 sq ft (4,900 m2) building addition, new exhibits, and upgrades and renovations to the existing Institute building and exhibits.
In 2011, the Franklin Institute received a $10 million gift from Athena and Nicholas Karabots towards the Inspire Science! capital campaign. This gift is the largest gift in the institute's history, and put the Franklin Institute within $6 million of the $64.7 million capital campaign goal. The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will house not only a $10 million multiroom exhibit on neuroscience, but also a conference center, classroom space, and additional room for traveling exhibitions.
The most recognizable part of the Franklin Institute's Science Center is the Franklin Institute Science Museum. In the spirit of inquiry and discovery embodied by Benjamin Franklin, the mission of the Franklin Institute Science Museum serves to inspire an understanding of and passion for science and technology learning. Among other exhibits, the Science Museum holds the largest collection of artifacts from the Wright brothers' workshop.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(February 2014)
The Science Center includes many pertinent attractions that are not museum exhibits. The Budd BB-1 Pioneer flying boat, in front of the museum, was the world's first stainless steel airplane, built by the Edward F. Budd Manufacturing Corporation, and has been on display since 1935.
A mock-up which would eventually become the Lunar Module in the Apollo space program, first shown on display in the 1966–67 World's Fair, held in the New York Hall of Science, is also located on the grounds. (See photo.)
In 1933, Samuel Simeon Fels contributed funds to build The Fels Planetarium, only the second built in the United States after Chicago's Adler Planetarium. Fully reconstructed in 2002, the Planetarium's new design includes replacement of the original 40,000-pound stainless steel dome, originally built in 1933. The new premium dome is lighter and is 60 feet (18 m) in diameter. It is the first of its kind in the United States. The planetarium is also outfitted for visitors who are hearing impaired.
The Tuttleman IMAX Theater is an IMAX dome theater that is 180° encompassing and tilted at 30 degrees. The seating places the audience up in the dome which is over 70 ft (21 m) across and 4.5 stories tall. In addition, the theater has 20,000 watts of amplifier power and over 50 speakers.
Early in 2008, extensive renovation of the museum's auditorium was completed. Previously a lecture hall, the space was renamed Franklin Theater, and features 3-D and hi-def Blu-ray digital projection capabilities. The Franklin Theater shows educational films during daytime hours while also including mass release feature-length films.
In the past, the Science Center has hosted many traveling exhibits including Storms, Titanic , Grossology , Body Worlds , Darwin , and Robots. In the summer of 2007, the Franklin Institute hosted Tutankhamun and The Golden Age of The Pharaohs, in the Mandell Center of the Franklin Institute Science Museum. The exhibit began its United States Tour in Los Angeles, and went to Fort Lauderdale, and Chicago, before coming to Philadelphia for its final American appearance. When the exhibit left Philadelphia on September 30, 2007, it traveled to London.
This exhibit was nearly twice the size of the original Tutankhamun exhibit of the 1970s, and contained 50 objects directly from Tut's tomb, as well as nearly 70 object from the tombs of his ancestors in The Valley of the Kings. The show also featured a CAT Scan that revealed what the Boy King may have looked like.
The Franklin Institute is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
The Franklin Institute is also a member of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative with the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History; the Museum of Science, Boston; COSI Columbus, formerly known as the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio; OMSI in Portland, Oregon; the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul, Minnesota; and the California Science Center, formerly the California Museum of Science & Industry, in Los Angeles.
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial features a 20-foot (6.1 m) high marble statue, sculpted by James Earle Fraser. Originally opened in 1938, the Memorial was designed by architect John T. Windrim and modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. The Hall is 82 ft (25 m) in length, width, and height. The domed ceiling is self-supporting and weighs 1600 tons. The floors, walls, columns, pilasters, and cornices are made of marbles imported from Portugal, Italy, and France. The United States Congress designated the Hall and statue as the official Benjamin Franklin National Memorial on October 25, 1972. The Memorial was dedicated by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in 1976.
On December 30, 2005, Congress authorized the institute to receive up to $10 million in matching grants for the rehabilitation of the memorial and for the development of related exhibits.
In the fall of 2008, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial was re-opened after a summer-long restoration that included multimedia enhancements. Philadelphia's most famous citizen is featured in Benjamin Franklin Forever, an hourly 3.5-minute multimedia presentation utilizing the entire rotunda.
Also noteworthy is the Franklin Institute's Frankliniana Collection, some of which is on rotating display in the Pendulum Staircase. Highlights include Franklin's 1777 Nini Medallion, the scale model of the bust from the statue in the Memorial, the figurehead of Franklin's bust from the USS Franklin, his ceremonial sword used in the court of King Louis XVI, and the odometer that Franklin used to measure the postal routes in Philadelphia. Additionally, the institute's Electricity exhibition highlights one of Franklin's lightning rods, his electricity tube, a Franklin Electrostatic Generator, the 1751 publication of Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity , and Thornton Oakley's two 1940 historical murals of Franklin and the "Kite and Key" experiment.
In 1826, The Journal of The Franklin Institute was established to publish US Patent information and to document scientific and technological achievements throughout the nation. It is the second oldest continuously published scientific journal in the country, and is now primarily devoted to applied mathematics.
Since 1824, the Franklin Institute has maintained the longest continuously awarded science and technology awards program in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The first issue of the Journal of The Franklin Institute, dated January 1826, makes the first written reference to these awards. Before 1998 several medals were awarded by the Franklin Institute, such as (year indicates when the award was first presented):the Elliott Cresson Medal (1875), the Edward Longstreth Medal (1890), the Howard N. Potts Medal (1911), the Franklin Medal (1915), the George R. Henderson Medal (1924), the Louis E. Levy Medal (1924), the John Price Wetherill Medal (1926), The Frank P. Brown Medal (first awarded in 1941), Stuart Ballantine Medal (1947), and the Albert A. Michelson Medal (1968). Past winners include Henry Ford, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marie Curie, and Thomas Edison.
In 1998 all of the endowed medals were reorganized as the Benjamin Franklin Medals. Multiple medals are given every year, for different fields of science and engineering. The fields awarded today are "Chemistry", "Computer and Cognitive Science", "Earth and Environmental Science", "Electrical Engineering", "Life Science", "Mechanical Engineering" and "Physics". In the past also the fields "Earth Science", "Engineering" and "Materials Science" were rewarded.
Additionally since 1990, the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science (Bower Science Award) and the Bower Award for Business Leadership have been awarded annually. They are funded by a $7.5 million bequest in 1988 from Henry Bower, a chemical manufacturer in Philadelphia. The Bower Science Award contains $250,000 of cash, one of the largest amounts for a science award in the US.
The institute's Committee on Science and the Arts determines the winners of these awards. Recipients and related information can be found in the laureates database.
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry||see Bower Science Award||Jerrold Meinwald||Nadrian C. Seeman|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science||Vladimir Vapnik||William Labov||Yale Patt|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science|| Lonnie Thompson and|
Ellen Stone Mosley-Thompson
|Robert A. Berner||Brian F. Atwater|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering||Jerry Nelson||see Bower Science Award||Solomon W. Golomb|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science||Sean B. Carroll||Rudolf Jaenisch||Robert S. Langer|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering||Zvi Hashin||Subra Suresh||Shu Chien|
|Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics||Rashid Sunyaev||Alexander Dalgarno||N/A|
|Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science||Louis E. Brus (Chemistry)||Kenichi Iga||William J. Borucki|
|Bower Award for Business Leadership||John Chambers||Michael S. Dell||Patrick Soon-Shiong|
The Franklin Institute also undertakes research in informal science education. Areas of special strength are educational technology, school partnerships, and youth leadership. In addition, the center has built a substantial portfolio of unique online resources of the history of science, including online exhibits on Ben Franklin and the Heart, as well as resources on the Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection. The Franklin Institute is a member of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).
Opening in September 2006, The Science Leadership Academy is a partnership between the Franklin Institute and the School District of Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute offers summer institutes and school year mini-courses for K-8 teachers, in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia and Curriculum & Instruction Office.
Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science, or PACTS, is a year-round program of science enrichment, career development, and leadership opportunities for diverse[ clarification needed ] middle- and high-school students in the Philadelphia Region. PACTS students use hands-on science workshops, field based research, field trips, and laboratory experiments to learn how science affects their everyday lives.
Girls at the Center is a partnership between the Franklin Institute and the Girl Scouts of the USA provided girls and their families a chance to learn about science together. Over 100 sites participated in the program, with over 70 of the sites still active today. Girls at the Center provided activities for the girls to do with their families at home, as well as projects to be completed on site, all culminating in a year-end party.
Harold Eugene "Doc" Edgerton, also known as Papa Flash, was an American scientist and researcher, a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is largely credited with transforming the stroboscope from an obscure laboratory instrument into a common device. He also was deeply involved with the development of sonar and deep-sea photography, and his equipment was used by Jacques Cousteau in searches for shipwrecks and even the Loch Ness Monster.
Robert Cox Merton is an American economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, known for his pioneering contributions to continuous-time finance, especially the first continuous-time option pricing model, the Black–Scholes–Merton model. In 1993 Merton co-founded hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management.
Andrew James Viterbi is an American electrical engineer and businessman who co-founded Qualcomm Inc. and invented the Viterbi algorithm. He is the Presidential Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, which was named in his honor in 2004 in recognition of his $52 million gift.
Robert Dennard is an American electrical engineer and inventor.
Aravind Krishna Joshi was the Henry Salvatori Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science in the computer science department of the University of Pennsylvania. Joshi defined the tree-adjoining grammar formalism which is often used in computational linguistics and natural language processing.
Paul B. MacCready Jr. was an American aeronautical engineer. He was the founder of AeroVironment and the designer of the human-powered aircraft that won the first Kremer prize. He devoted his life to developing more efficient transportation vehicles that could "do more with less".
Solomon Wolf Golomb was an American mathematician, engineer, and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, best known for his works on mathematical games. Most notably, he invented Cheskers in 1948 and coined the name. He also fully described polyominoes and pentominoes in 1953. He specialized in problems of combinatorial analysis, number theory, coding theory, and communications. Pentomino boardgames, based on his work, would go on to inspire Tetris.
Bern Dibner was an electrical engineer, industrialist, and historian of science and technology. He originated two major US library collections in the history of science and technology.
John Cromwell Mather is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) with George Smoot.
The Science History Institute is an institution that preserves and promotes understanding of the history of science. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it includes a library, museum, archive, research center and conference center.
JoAnne Stubbe is an American chemist best known for her work on ribonucleotide reductases, for which she was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2017, she retired as a Professor of Chemistry and Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Subra Suresh is an Indian-American bioengineer, materials scientist, and academic administrator. On 1 January 2018, he was inaugurated as the fourth President of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where he is also the inaugural Distinguished University Professor. Subra Suresh plans on stepping down from his role as the President of NTU at the end of 2022. He was the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT from 2007 to 2010 before being appointed as Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) by Barack Obama, where he served from 2010 to 2013. He was the president of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from 2013 to 2017.
The Franklin Institute Awards is an American science and engineering award presented by the science museum called Franklin Institute, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The Franklin Institute awards comprises the Benjamin Franklin Medals in seven areas of science and engineering, the Bower Awards and Prize for Achievement in Science, and the Bower Award for Business Leadership. Since 1824, the institute has recognized "world-changing scientists, engineers, inventors, and industrialists—all of whom reflect Benjamin Franklin’s spirit of curiosity, ingenuity, and innovation". Some of the noted past laureates include Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking. Some of the 21st century laureates of the institute awards are Bill Gates, James P. Allison, Indra Nooyi, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Blackburn, George Church, Robert S. Langer, and Alex Gorsky.
Benjamin John Eggleton FAA, FTSE, FOSA, FIEEE is the Director of The University of Sydney Nano Institute. He also currently serves as Co-Director of the NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN).
William J. (Bill) Borucki is a space scientist who worked at the NASA Ames Research Center. Upon joining NASA in 1962, Borucki designed the heat shields for Apollo program spacecraft. He later turned his attention to the optical efficiency of lightning strikes in the atmospheres of planets, investigating the propensity that these lightning strikes could create molecules that would later become the precursors for life. Subsequently, Borucki's attention turned to extrasolar planets and their detection, particularly through the transit method. In light of this work, Borucki was named the principal investigator for NASA's Kepler mission, launched on March 6, 2009 and dedicated to a transit-based search for habitable planets. In 2013, Borucki was awarded the United States National Academy of Sciences's Henry Draper Medal for his work with Kepler. In 2015 he received the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.
Chandrasekhar Nataraj (1959), an American-Indian scientist, and Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Villanova University, where he holds the Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Moritz, Sr. Endowed Chair position in Engineered Systems. His research includes nonlinear dynamic systems with applications to machinery diagnostics, rotor dynamics, vibration, control, electromagnetic bearings, mobile robotics, unmanned vehicles and biomedical diagnostics. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vibration Engineering & Technologies, and associate editor of Nonlinear Dynamics.
Frederic Bertley is a Canadian immunologist and science educator. He is currently the President & CEO of COSI, a science museum in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to COSI, Bertley worked as Senior Vice President for Science and Education at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Manijeh Razeghi is an Iranian-American scientist in the fields of semiconductors and optoelectronic devices. She is a pioneer in modern epitaxial techniques for semiconductors such as low pressure metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), vapor phase epitaxy (VPE), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), GasMBE, and MOMBE. These techniques have enabled the development of semiconductor devices and quantum structures with higher composition consistency and reliability, leading to major advancement in InP and GaAs based quantum photonics and electronic devices, which were at the core of the late 20th century optical fiber telecommunications and early information technology.
Robert E. Newnham, also known as Bob Newnham, was an American academic and writer who was a Alcoa Professor Emeritus of Solid State Science at the Pennsylvania State University. He is known for his contributions in the field of ferroelectrics.