Humphry Davy


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Davy, Humphry

 

Born Dec. 17, 1778, in Penzance; died May 29, 1829, in Geneva. English chemist and physicist.

In 1798, Davy became a chemist at the Medical Pneumatic Institution. In 1801 he became an assistant lecturer and in 1802 a professor at the Royal Institution. Beginning in 1820 he was president of the Royal Society of London. M. Faraday studied and began to work under Davy. In 1799, Davy discovered the intoxicating effect of nitrous oxide, which was called laughing gas. In 1800 he proposed an electrochemical theory of chemical affinity, later worked out by J. Berzelius. In 1807 he obtained metallic potassium and sodium by electrolysis of their hydroxides, which were considered to be undecomposable substances. In 1808 he obtained by means of electrolysis amalgams of calcium, strontium, barium, and magnesium. Independently of J. Gay-Lussac and L.-J. Thénard, Davy isolated boron from boric acid and in 1810 confirmed the elemental nature of chlorine. He proposed the hydrogen theory of acids, refuting the view of A. Lavoisier that each acid must contain oxygen. In 1808-09, Davy described the phenomenon of the so-called electric arc. In 1815 he designed the miner’s safety lamp with wire gauze. In 1821 he established the dependence of the electrical resistance of a conductor on its length and cross section and noted the dependence of electrical conductivity on temperature. Between 1803 and 1813 he delivered a series of lectures on agricultural chemistry. Davy expressed the thought that mineral salts are necessary for the nourishment of plants and pointed to the necessity of field experiments for solving problems in agriculture. In 1826 he became an honorary foreign member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

WORKS

The Collected Works, vols. 1-9. Edited by J. Davy. London, 1839–40.

REFERENCES

Mogilevskii, B. L. Gemfri Devi. Moscow, 1937.
Crowther, J. G. British Scientists of the Nineteenth Century. London, 1935.
Davy, J. Life of Sir H. Davy. London, 1896.
References in periodicals archive ?
In Science and the Sons of Genius, Studies on Humphry Davy, edited by Sophie Forgan, 59-94.
Davy's views had a direct influence on Shelley's novel, as Holmes notes: "Mary Shelley's ideas for the novel can be dated back remarkably early, to the year 1812, when her father William Godwin took her to hear Humphry Davy give his public lectures on chemistry at the Royal Institution.
Faraday's sponsor, Sir Humphry Davy, actually campaigned against him in the days before the membership vote.
In addition to experimenting in a home lab (conveniently located near the back garden, so that if something caught fire "I could rush outside with it and fling it on the lawn"), he studied and greatly admired the early chemists such as Robert Boyle, Antoine Lavoisier, Humphry Davy, and Marie Curie.
It was here that Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday and William and Lawrence Bragg, to name but four, made such seminal scientific discoveries as sodium, the electric generator and the atomic structure of crystals, many of which have exerted a profound influence on society.
Appearing in the journal were the biographies of prominent scientists, eulogizing personalities like Isac Newton, (24) Galileo, (25) Louis Pasteur, (26) Charles Darwin, (27) Ernest Renan, (28) Humphry Davy, (29) Maria Mitchell, (30) and Herbert Spencer, (31) among others.
SIR Humphry Davy, an open-top double-decker bus from the '50s, joins the Weston scene at the end of this month.
The protagonists of Klancher's account of the rise and fall of these ambitious institutions are figures usually given supporting roles in histories of Romantic literature and culture: Joseph Banks, Count Rumford, Thomas Dibdin, Humphry Davy, and Charles Lyell.
Actors dressed as railway pioneer George Stephenson and inventor Humphry Davy sat with visitors during their journey.
the greatgrandfather " Actors dressed as railway pioneer George Stephenson and inventor Humphry Davy who made the Davy miners lamp sat with visitors during their journey.
Berzelius was part, and in many aspects a focus, of a network of scientists that included Humphry Davy (1778-1829), Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), Friedrich Wohler (1800 -1882), and others.