Inventors are inspirational. Sir Humphry Davy was an inventor and chemist. He is remembered for his inventions, but also for discoveries of alkali and alkali earth metals. He made discoveries regarding chlorine and iodine as well. He is known for electrolysis, aluminium, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, barium, boron, and the Davy lamp.
Humphry Davy was born on December 17, 1778 in Penzance, Cornwall, England. He attended Penzance school and then Truro Grammar School. In 1794, he apprenticed under a surgeon. He became a chemist in the apothecary’s dispensary. Humphry wrote poetry and created paintings as well. Davy experimented and was a professor at the Royal Institution. In 1798, Davy joined the Pneumatic Institution to investigate the medical powers of factitious airs and gases. Experiments led to knowledge of anesthetics. In 1801, Davy took a job at the Royal Institution in London. His lectures were very popular and he became a full lecturer by the time he was 23. In 1802, Davy created the first incandescent light. In 1804, Davy became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He became one of the founding members of the Geological Society in 1807. He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1810. In 1812, Davy was knighted and got married.
Following work travels with his wife and fellow scientists, he returned to England in 1815. He created a safety lamp for miners that became named the Davy lamp. The invention led to Davy being awarded the Rumford medal in 1816. In 1819, he was awarded a baronetcy. In 1820, he became President of the Royal Society. After writing Consolations of Travel he died in Geneva, Switzerland on May 29, 1829.
His work and life has been honored in many ways and in many places. From the lunar crater Davy to a statue in his hometown to a science building at the University of Plymouth, he is remembered. Books and articles he wrote are available to read. Be inspired! Have a bright day!