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.


See biography by A. Treneer (1963).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Society resolved to write to the most eminent scientist of the day, Sir Humphry Davy, pioneering chemist and secretary of the Royal Society.
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.
He produced his safety lamp at around the same time as the upper-class, well-educated Sir Humphry Davy.
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.
The Science Made Simple workshop is a fun, family event which involves visitors finding out about Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the flame safety lamp.
WRITER The Felling Pit disaster on May 25, 1812, inspired two men - George Stephenson and Sir Humphry Davy - to invent very similar lamps to combat the problem.
Anniversaries: 1829: Death of scientist Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the saftey lamp; 1874: Birth of G K Chesterton; 1917: Birth of assassinated American president John F.
It is one of the world's most prestigious scientific organisations, where Sir Humphry Davy worked on his miner's lamp and where Michael Faraday did his pioneering work on electricity.
Many people in Wales were grateful to Sir Humphry Davy for his miner's lamp, to Henry Bessemer for his furnace and to Rudolf Diesel for inventing the engine that moved around much of the stuff they produced.
Other famous names from that neck of the Avon estuary include Wallace and Gromit who were created there, funny man Matt Lucas studied there, Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva once lived there and Sir Humphry Davy, the scientist who discovered laughing gas was from there.