Ben Franklin: Sonic Explorer

11:52 minutes

Ben Franklin was the quintessential Renaissance man—he was a statesman, wordsmith, inventor…and sonic pioneer. This Fourth of July, Ira explores Franklin’s experiments with sound, from inventing the first American musical instrument (the glass armonica) to testing the reach of the human voice.

Listen to a glass armonica in action:

Segment Guests

Braxton Boren

Braxton Boren is a Ph.D. candidate at the Steinhardt School’s Music and Audio Research Lab at New York University in New York, New York.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is a producer for The Journal from Gimlet Media and the Wall Street Journal, and a former co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She also plays the banjo.

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.