Since Europe has had numerous people in various fields make several contributions over the centuries, was the same nature of study and academia reflected in the colonies of the western hemisphere? Specifically, the question is about British America, where most of the modern Ivy League (and The College of William and Mary) had already been established before the American Revolutionary War. Was there a colonial equivalent of the Royal Society? Did academics who studied in the thirteen American colonies travel overseas to work with their contemporaries and colleagues? I am aware that Benjamin Franklin established the University of Pennsylvania, but were there any scientists who had been working on groundbreaking research by the time the colonies started to rebel against the United Kingdom?
Benjamin Franklin was the originator of the terms "positive" and "negative" as they refer to electric charges (but of course those same words referring to other things existed before that), and he invented the battery and the lightning conductor and made other important contributions to understanding of electricity. (But he was not the first to do scientific work on electricity. Children are often taught that "Franklin discovered electricity." What children are taught about things like that in elementary school is often just fairy tales. (Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary jocularly calls Franklin the "inventor of electricity".))