Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. He was a renowned polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove.
He founded many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.
Ben Franklin’s birthday is the date of many hacks at MIT.
This Portrait of Benjamin Franklin was painted by Joseph Duplessis in 1778. It currently resides in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute.