Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are two figures in American history that are most recognized for their views and contributions to the early American political scene. In addition to their political achievements, the two were very accomplished scientists and inventors. While they both had a desire to further their knowledge and understanding of the natural world, they differed in what they studied but were similar in how they studied and how they applied their knowledge through inventions to benefit mankind.
During Thomas Jefferson's lifetime he was recognized for his knowledge in science. He was a skilled mathematician and astronomer. He was considered by many to be an expert in anatomy, physics, mechanics, meteorology, and botany. He was also regarded as a pioneer in ethnology, geography, anthropology, and paleontology. Jefferson considered himself an amateur scientist, yet was well advanced compared to other scientists of the time. Jefferson did not take the time to become proficient in any particular field of science. He chose to aid and encourage others in the studies of the details.
On the other hand Benjamin Franklin was the type of individual to take the pursuit of science one-step further. Franklin was primarily known for his experiments around electricity. Much of his work with electricity was decades ahead of the more famous electrical researchers and scientists. Franklin was the type that used experiments to prove his theories on different subjects. He traveled between America and Europe eight times and during these voyages he conducted experiments to better understand the movements of the Gulf Stream. These experiments included charting its course, and recording its temperature, speed and depth. Franklin was more of the hands on type, even when it put him at personal risk. An example of this approach is his most famous experiment of flying a kite during a thunderstorm, in order to prove that lighting is electricity.