Humphry Davy Facts and Biography

Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy Biography Summary: Sir Humphry Davy (1778 - 1829) was a famous English chemist and inventor who discovered many of the alkali and alkaline earth metals and invented the the miner's safety lamp in 1815. Humphry Davy was a young chemist who was fascinated with his field and was always experimenting to make new discoveries. Today Humphry Davy is most remembered for his discoveries of several alkaline and alkali earth metals as well as his assistances in discovering the base elemental nature of iodine and chlorine.

For his efforts and assistance to chemistry he was awarded a baronetcy, he was a Member of the Royal Irish Academy as well as the President of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Geological Society.

Humphry Davy Fact Sheet: Who was Humphry Davy? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Humphry Davy.



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Humphry Davy Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1778 - 1829 *** Full Name: Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet *** Occupation: Cornish Chemist and Inventor *** Date of Birth: Humphry Davy was born on December 17th 1778 *** Place of Birth: Humphry Davy was born in Penzance, Cornwall, England *** Family background: Little is known of his family or background *** Early life and childhood: Humphry Davy later grew up in Varfell near Ludgvan also in Cornwall *** Education: Humphry Davy began his education at the Penzance School and later attended the Truro Grammar School and would finally complete his studies with Rev Dr Cardew ***

Humphry Davy Fact 1: Humphry Davy was born on December 17th 1778 during the 18th century on December 17th 1778 when he would become one of the centuries pioneering scientists in the area of chemistry.

Humphry Davy Fact 2: At nine years of age he was sent to live with his motherís godfather, John Tonkin.

Humphry Davy Fact 3: His father passed away in 1794 and John Tonkin arranged for him to attend John Bingham Borlase, a surgeon who had a practice in Penzance as his apprentice.

Humphry Davy Fact 4: Humphry Davy found he had an aptitude for chemistry during his time in the apothecaryís dispensary. Often found experimenting it was said he would blow them all up one day.

Humphry Davy Fact 5: As a youth Humphry Davy was sometimes found putting pen to paper and writing poetry belaying his youthfulness and he also enjoyed painting as a pastime.

Humphry Davy Fact 6: He would develop a strong friendship with a young Quaker boy, Robert Dunkin who was want to show him some clever experiments.

Humphry Davy Fact 7: By 1802 Humphry Davy would demonstrate to the Royal Society the basics of arc lighting in is infancy with the aid of an electric battery which was the most powerful one in the world at that time.

Humphry Davy Fact 8: In 1802 he would also be responsible for demonstrating the incandescent light.

Humphry Davy Fact 9: In 1801 Humphry Davy travelled to London and took his position at the Royal Institute as assistant lecturer in chemistry, director of the chemical laboratory and assistant editor of the journals of institute.

Humphry Davy Fact 10: Humphry Davy presented his first lecture on April 25th 1801 on the comparatively new topic of Galvanism.

Humphry Davy Fact 11: Having been at the Institution for just over a year, in June of 1802he would be nominated for a full lecturerís position.

Humphry Davy Fact 12: His next great find would be in electrolyzing molten salts to discover new metals, these included sodium and potassium, alkali metals that were highly reactive elements.

Humphry Davy Fact 13: Using this method he would be the first chemist to isolate barium, boron and magnesium.

Humphry Davy Fact 14: By 1810 Humphry Davy had established through various tests that chlorine was in fact an element.

Humphry Davy Fact 15: His lectures became ever more popular and attracted quite a female following.

Humphry Davy Fact 16: Humphry Davy would engage the services of one Michael Faraday as a colleague after an accident in the laboratory with nitrogen trichloride that would see his eyes damaged.

Humphry Davy Fact 17: In 1813 Humphry Davy, together with Faraday and his wife, travelled to France to be given an award by Napoleon Bonaparte for his work on electro chemicals. While he was there he was asked to isolate a substance at the request of Bernard Courtois which is now recognized as iodine.

Humphry Davy Fact 18: Upon their return to England he began his experiments on lamps used in the coal mines. Many explosions had been caused by open flamed lamps over many years with enormous loss of life.

Humphry Davy Fact 19: Humphry Davy would go on to develop the Davy Lamp but a similar lamp was also designed in the North by George Stephenson, and even though he refused to patent his lamp he would be given the Rumford medal in 1816.

Humphry Davy Fact 20: By 1819 Humphry Davy would be awarded a baronetcy in recognition for his work in the sciences and his great achievements. The following year he would become President of the Royal Society.

Humphry Davy Fact 21: Towards the end of his life he wrote poetry, Consolations in Travel would be published after his death on February 20th 1829 in Geneva, Switzerland. His remains were laid to rest in the Plainpalais Cemetery in Switzerland.

Influence & Legacy: An element of his work would be continued by Michael Faraday and it is fair to say that he spark many a young brain into the wonders of science and experimentation.

Important Events of the 18th century and during the life of Humphry Davy include: The American Revolutionary War, the execution of women by burning at the stake is abolished in England and Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the piano.


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