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Portrait of the English chemist Humphry Davy

Portrait of the English chemist Humphry Davy

H404/0235

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Humphry Davy. Portrait of the English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829). In 1800 he discovered nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, which was the first chemical anaesthetic used. Davy is better known for his research on electrolysis. In 1807 he was able to isolate potassium and sodium by driving an electric current into solutions containing potash and soda respectively. Using a similar method, Davy obtained other metals such as barium, strontium, calcium and magnesium in the following year. In 1815 he invented the Davy lamp which, thanks to a special device, could be safely used in gassy coal mines. This artwork taken from a book published in 1833/37.

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