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Though maligned as a cult and ridiculed for their secretive language of symbols, the Freemasons had an outsize influence on the development and modernization of science during the English Enlightenment. This presentation, based on historical evidence and scholarly research, reveals how Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and their contemporaries linked science, discovery and fellowship in the late 18th and early 19th century. Viewers will also see how rumors and paranoia almost destroyed the Freemasons. This presentation originated as a live talk for the monthly history lecture series produced by the Society for the Appreciation of Social Studies (SASS) in Brooklyn, N.Y.