Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Joseph Priestly!

You may just think of today as the day that the Beatles finished recording “Hey Jude” (1968), or the day in 1981 that MTV debuted, but here at Gibberish we celebrate August 1, because this is the day that Joseph Priestly isolated Oxygen in 1774! Mr. Priestly, was a brilliant scientist who had a very colorful life due to his strong political beliefs (he supported both the American and French Revolutions) and his eventual emigration to the United States from his country of birth and work, England. If he were alive today, he would have had quite the Facebook friend list since Antoine Lavoisier, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were only a few of the famous individuals to call him friend. He took a break from friendships and teaching (his lifelong occupation) to focus sunlight on mercuric oxide that had been placed in a pool of mercury. He produced a type of gas that caused a flame to burn brightly…and voila! oxygen was isolated. I think we will celebrate by powering up our fire pit tonight and looking for satellites in our back yard! What about you?
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