Franklin Institute teaching visitors about discoveries from people who made them

John McDevitt
April 09, 2019 - 4:17 pm
Laureate Lab is a chance for this week's visitors to the Franklin Institute to learn about groundbreaking discoveries in engineering and science from the pioneers themselves.

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Laureate Lab is a chance for the Franklin Institute's visitors, this week, to learn about groundbreaking discoveries in engineering and science from the pioneers themselves.

The opportunity corresponds with an annual recognition that dates back almost 200 years. 

Hands-on demonstrations in the science and engineering fields are being conducted this week at the institute by eight honorees of the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal.

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The annual awards have been handed out for 195 years.

One of the people being recognized is Gene Likens, who discovered acid rain in North America in 1963. 

"The very first sample of rain we collected in the White Mountains of New Hampshire was about 100 times more acidic than we thought it should be, and that led to the whole discovery of acid rain. And ultimately, the treatment through legislation such that the big success story is we reduced the acidity of rainfall in eastern North America by about 80 percent, so it's really a big success story," said Likens. 

New technologies in materials engineering was also demonstrated, and they are providing all sorts of diagnostic and therapeutic advancements like battery free heart monitors for hospitalized infants and sweat monitoring patches that can track the loss of electrolytes.

"I think its really awesome and I am very interested in the technology, and how it's built and the design and how its going to work and if its going to be mass produced or not its exciting," said Holly Norton, a 10th grader at Mastery Charter School.