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Highlights from the Royal Society Collections

The Davy lamp

Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) was a chemist, but perhaps is best known for inventing the miners’ safety-lamp, a lamp that would not cause explosions when gas was present in mines. His previous research investigations into nitrous oxide and other gases demonstrated his courageous penchant for self-experimentation, inhaling huge doses of potentially lethal substances.

The safety lamp capped a remarkable career as a chemist and popular lecturer at the Royal Institution, which Davy joined in 1801. Davy’s application of electricity to chemical research led to the unlocking of many new elements: sodium, potassium, calcium, and chlorine were just some of them.

Davy's Safety Lamp

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