Great Balls of Lightning
Here’s engraving that Paul D. assigned us to find for a homework assignment.
It shows Richmanns and the engraver getting rocked by a ball of lightning.
He was electrocuted in St. Petersburg “while trying to quantify the response of an insulated rod to a nearby storm.” He was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when he heard thunder. The Professor ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the experiment was underway, a supposed ball lightning appeared and collided with Richmann’s head leaving him dead in a red spot. His shoes were blown open, parts of his clothes singed, the engraver knocked out; the doorframe of the room was split, and the door itself torn off its hinges. Reportedly, ball lightning traveled along the apparatus and was the cause of his death. He was apparently the first person in history to die while conducting electrical experiments
Ball lightning seems to be a pretty mysterious phenomenon. But regardless it’s probably a bad idea to fly a kite in an electrical storm.
Or as Ben Franklin (probably) said…
Dost thou love life? Then only write about dangerous electricity experiments and do not conduct them yourself.