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In the present state of our knowledge, it would be useless to attempt to speculate on the remote cause of the electrical energy... its relation to chemical affinity is, however, sufficiently evident. May it not be identical with it, and an essential property of matter?

Humphry Davy

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Did you know about Humphry Davy?

This was mainly due to a member of the Society of Friends named Robert Dunkin. Joseph Banks had long had his eye on Davy and in February 1801 Davy was officially interviewed by Banks Benjamin Thompson (who had been appointed Count Rumford) and Henry Cavendish the Committee of the Royal Institution. "It [science] has bestowed on him powers which may almost be called creative; which have enabled him to modify and change the beings surrounding him and by his experiments to interrogate nature with power not simply as a scholar passive and seeking only to understand her operations but rather as a master active with his own instruments.

In 1815 he invented the Davy lamp which allowed miners to work safely in the presence of flammable gases. He is probably best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkali and alkaline earth metals as well as contributions to the discoveries of the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine.

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