Stroud’s John Canton invents a lightning predictor

Posted on 22. Feb, 2012 by in History

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Adam Hart Davis wonders if he and the Science Shack can survive a lightning strike, and is at the National Grid High Voltage Laboratory in Manchester. Go to 9:01 to see a recreation of John Canton’s Thunderstorm predictor. John Canton was born in Stroud in 1718 and died 1772; there is a blue plaque on the wall of the Old Town Hall in the Shambles commemorating him. See more at:

Also in this BBC Two Learning Zone programme:
3:14 Benjamin Franklin lightning experiments, Wimshurst machine
6:11 Simulating generating static electricity in a cloud in a tube with styrofoam beads
7:49 Dr Clive Saunders from the Physics Dept, UMIST Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, explains some of the properties of thunderclouds
15:56 Why you should not be on the phone during a thunderstorm
19:05 Faraday Cage demonstration
21:00 Tesla Coil demonstration
26:26 Advice for avoiding lightning strikes
27:15 Adam is hoisted 50 ft into the air and is asked to grab a 400,000 Volt live terminal

Originally Broadcast 23/11/2001 (Open University Repeat)

About Philip

Director and Co-Founder of Stroud Community TV

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