Humphry Davy

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Date of Birth December 17, 1778
Place of Birth England
Date of Death May 29, 1829 (50)
Horoscope Sagittarius

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Humphry Davy

Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet was a Cornish chemist and inventor, who is best remembered today for isolating, by 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. Davy also studied the forces involved in these separations, inventing the new field of electrochemistry. In 1799, he experimented with nitrous oxide and was astonished at how it made him laugh, so he nicknamed it "laughing gas" and wrote about its potential anaesthetic properties in relieving pain during surgery. He also invented the Davy lamp and a very early form of arc lamp. He joked that his assistant Michael Faraday was his greatest discovery. Davy was a baronet, President of the Royal Society, Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and Fellow of the Geological Society.

Born: December 17, 1778, Penzance, Cornwall, England
Died: May 29, 1829, Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality: British
Fields: Chemistry
Institutions: Royal Society, Royal Institution
Known for: Electrolysis, aluminium, sodium, potassium, calcium, strontium, magnesium, barium, boron, Davy lamp
Influences: Benjamin Thompson
Influenced: Michael Faraday, William Thomson
Notable awards: Copley Medal (1805), Prix du galvanisme (1807), Rumford Medal (1816), Royal Medal (1827)

About Humphry Davy

English chemist and inventor who most notably discovered several alkali and alkaline earth metals. In 1815, he invented the Davy Lamp, which was used in coal mines because it was a safer alternative to previous mine lamps.

Before Fame

He was an apprentice to French surgeon Bingham Borlase.


Beginning in 1877, The Royal Society of London awarded an annual Davy Medal to an outstanding chemist.

Family Life

He was married to Grace Millet.


He and Louis Pasteur both made important contributions to the field of chemistry.

Information related to Humphry Davy

  • Burials at Cimetière des Rois
  • Potassium
  • Boron
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • British deists
  • Cornish scientists
  • Cornish poets
  • Barium
  • People educated at Truro Cathedral School
  • People associated with electricity
  • Presidents of the Royal Society
  • Discoverers of chemical elements
  • Members of the Athenaeum Club, London
  • 18th-century English poets
  • Fellows of the Zoological Society of London
  • People of the Industrial Revolution
  • Recipients of the Copley Medal
  • English chemists
  • 18th-century English writers
  • Royal Medal winners
  • English inventors
  • 19th-century English writers
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Latest information about Humphry Davy updated on July 06, 2020.

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