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Humphrey Davy

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Sir Humphrey Davy
Sir Humphrey Davy was born on December 17, 1778 in Penzance, Cornwall, England. He received his education in penzance as well as Truro. When his father died in 1794, he needed to support his family so he became an apprentice to a surgeon apothecary. Then in 1794 he became interested in Chemistry.

After being released from the indenture of being an aprentice, he then became superintendent of the Medical Pneumatic Institution of Bristol. He did his study on the medical value of gases. There was when he made his first reputation. He studied Oxides of Nitrogen and dicovered the physiological effects of nitrous oxide, which then became known as laughing gas. It took 45 years before nitrous oxide became used by dentists.

Davy’s next discovery was one of his most important ones. His investigation was devoted to electrochemistry. Following Galvani’s experiments and the discovery of the voltaic pile, interest in galvanic electricity became popular. Nicholson and Carlisle, who obtained hydrogen and oxygen from water, carried out the first chemical decomposition by the means of the pile in 1800. Davy then began to example the effects of electricity in 1800. He soon found that when he passed electrical current through some substances, these substances then decomposed. Which is now called electrolysis. Certain electrical forces generated current only when electrolyte was capable of oxidizing one of the metals, and that the intensity of the voltage generated was directly related to the reactivity of the electrolyte with the metal. A quote said about this was, “In the present state of our knowledge, it would be useless to attempt to speculate on the remote cause of the electrical energy…its relation to chemical affinity is, however, sufficiently evident. May it not be identical with it, and an essential property of matter?”

He also discovered alkali metals. He knew of Lavoisier’s suggestion ...

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