Sir Humphry Davy


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Davy, Sir Humphry,

1778–1829, English chemist and physicist. The son of a woodcarver, he received his early education at Truro and was apprenticed (1795) to a surgeon-apothecary at Penzance. While director (1798–1801) of the laboratory of the Pneumatic Institution, Clifton, he investigated the properties of nitrous oxide (laughing gas). He was lecturer (1801) and professor (1802–13) at the Royal Institution, London. His researches in electrochemistry led to his isolation of potassium and sodium in 1807 and of calcium, barium, boron, magnesium, and strontium in 1808. He established the elementary nature of chlorine, advanced the theory that hydrogen is characteristically present in acids, and classed chemical affinity as an electric phenomenon. He was also noted for the invention of a safety lamp for miners and for his lectures on agricultural chemistry (pub. 1813). Knighted (1812) and made a baronet (1818), he was elected (1820) president of the Royal Society. His collected works (9 vol., 1839–40; repr. 1972) include a biographical memoir by his brother, John Davy.

Bibliography

See biography by A. Treneer (1963).

References in periodicals archive ?
of his youth: it was in some measure the work of a dying Plato" (quoted in The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy, 9:vii).
The Society resolved to write to the most eminent scientist of the day, Sir Humphry Davy, pioneering chemist and secretary of the Royal Society.
And when he heard that Sir Humphry Davy in England had used a battery to break compounds down into their component elements, he provided funds to French scientists Joseph Gay-Lussac and Louis Thenard to come up with a bigger, better battery than the English had.
QUIZ CHALLENGE: 1 Stagecoach; 2 Little Richard; 3 Sir Humphry Davy; 4 C.
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Also on this day :1829: Death of scientist Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the safety lamp; 1874: Birth of G.
See a startling demonstration of how mine explosions happened and discover the story of Sir Humphry Davy, Dr William Reid Clanny and George Stephenson and the North East race to create a life-saving lamp.
In Britain, Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805; the son of Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of famous Wedgwood pottery) and Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) obtained silver nitrate images on leather and on paper but could not make them permanent.
1778: Sir Humphry Davy, chemist and inventor of the miners' safety lamp, was born in Penzance.
WHERE...was the scientist Sir Humphry Davy born in 1778?
Also on this day: 1799: Income tax introduced by the Younger Pitt at two shillings in the pound; 1816: Sir Humphry Davy's safety lamp was used in a coal mine for the first time; 1898: Birth of Dame Gracie Fields; 1920: The Bolsheviks defeated the last of the White Russian troops under Admiral Koltchak; 1923: Death of author Katherine Mansfield; 1957: Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister; 1969: Concorde's first trial flight at Bristol.
Telling the story of Sir Humphry Davy, William Reid Clanny and George Stephen son, the event features explosive demonstrations, historical investigations, handson family activities, mining songs and much more.