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Humphry Davy


Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet was a Cornish chemist and inventor, who is best remembered today for isolating, using electricity, a series of elements for the first time: potassium and sodium in 1807 and calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium and boron the following year, as well as discovering the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine. He also studied the forces involved in these separations, inventing the new field of electrochemistry. In 1799 Davy experimented with nitrous oxide and became astonished that it made him laugh, so he nicknamed it "laughing gas", and wrote about its potential anaesthetic properties in relieving pain during surgery.


  • Inventions or discoveries 

  • Education, apprenticeship and poetry 

  • Early scientific interests 

  • Pneumatic Institution 

  • Royal Institution 

  • Electrochemical protection of ships' copper bottoms 

  • President of the Royal Society 

  • Last years and death 

  • Honours 

  • In popular culture 

  • Publications