Henry Cavendish

(1731—1810) natural philosopher

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British chemist and physicist, born in France. Although untrained, his inheritance from his grandfather, the Duke of Devonshire, enabled him to live as a recluse and study science. In his experiments with gases (1766), he correctly distinguished between hydrogen and carbon dioxide. In 1784 he showed that sparking mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen produced pure water, showing that water is not an element. Also in sparking experiments with air, Cavendish recognised a small percentage unchanged (later identified as noble gases). Cavendish also did significant work in physics.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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