Friday, 1 August 2014

ON THIS DAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY - 1ST AUGUST 2014

In a series of experiments concluding in 1774, Joseph Priestley, British Presbyterian minister and chemist found that “air is not an elementary substance, but a composition,” or mixture, of gases. On this day in 1774, he found that among them was the colourless and highly reactive gas he called “dephlogisticated air,” to which the great French chemist, Antoine Lavoisier would soon give the name “Oxygen.” Priestley found that mercury heated in air became coated with ‘red rust’ of mercury, which, when heated separately, was converted back to mercury with ‘air’ given off. Studying this air, he observed that candles burned very brightly in it, and that a mouse in a sealed vessel could breathe this gas much longer than ordinary air. 

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