According to one of Davy's biographers, June Z. Fullmer, he was a deist. At the beginning of June, Davy received a letter from the Swedish chemist Berzelius claiming that he, in conjunction with Dr. Pontin, had successfully obtained amalgams of calcium and barium by electrolysing lime and barytes using a mercury cathode. Davy was acquainted with the Wedgwood family, who spent a winter at Penzance.[7]. They were aware that Davy supported some modernisation, but thought that he would not sufficiently encourage aspiring young mathematicians, astronomers and geologists, who were beginning to form specialist societies. It was an early form of arc light which produced its illumination from an electric arc created between two charcoal rods. Banks had groomed the engineer, author and politician Davies Gilbert to succeed him and preserve the status quo, but Gilbert declined to stand. His elder sister complained of the ravages made on her dresses by corrosive substances. "[16] The first lecture garnered rave reviews, and by the June lecture Davy wrote to John King that his last lecture had attendance of nearly 500 people. These definitions worked well for most of the nineteenth century. However, after the 18th century, Davy performed the technique once again and extracted sodium. He also mentioned that he might not be collaborating further with Beddoes on therapeutic gases. "[4], Davy was born in Penzance, Cornwall in the Kingdom of Great Britain on 17 December 1778, the eldest of the five children of Robert Davy, a woodcarver, and his wife Grace Millett. His support of women caused Davy to be subjected to considerable gossip and innuendo, and to be criticized as unmanly. But the laws of Geneva did not allow any delay and he was given a public funeral on the following Monday, in the Plainpalais Cemetery, outside the city walls. Davy was a baronet, President of the Royal Society (PRS), Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), and Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS). At 17, he discussed the question of the materiality of heat with his Quaker friend and mentor Robert Dunkin. In 1825 his promotion of the new Zoological Society, of which he was a founding fellow, courted the landed gentry and alienated expert zoologists. [54], Initial experiments were again promising and his work resulted in 'partially unrolling 23 MSS., from which fragments of writing were obtained' [55] but after returning to Naples on 1 December 1819 from a summer in the Alps, Davy complained that 'the Italians at the museum [were] no longer helpful but obstructive'. How was it discovered? The house in Albemarle Street was bought in April 1799. According to records, it is the first alkali metal to be discovered using electrolysis. In the event he was again re-elected unopposed, but he was now visibly unwell. On being removed into the open air, Davy faintly articulated, "I do not think I shall die,"[20] but some hours elapsed before the painful symptoms ceased. [50], Humphry Davy experimented on fragments of the Herculaneum papyri before his departure to Naples in 1818. Additional Information and Other Important Details. [65], Of a sanguine, somewhat irritable temperament, Davy displayed characteristic enthusiasm and energy in all his pursuits. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge moved to the Lake District in 1800, and asked Davy to deal with the Bristol publishers of the Lyrical Ballads, Biggs & Cottle. In the apothecary's dispensary, Davy became a chemist, and conducted his earliest chemical experiments in a garret in Tonkin's house. Many potassium salts are of utmost importance, including the hydroxide, nitrate, carbonate, chloride, chlorate, bromide, iodide, cyanide, sulfate, chromate, and dichromate. The Larigan, or Laregan, river is a stream in Penzance. The K symbol for the element comes from the Latin word "kalium", which means potash. Davy became increasingly well known in 1799 due to his experiments with the physiological action of some gases, including laughing gas (nitrous oxide). A few months after discovering potassium, Davy used the same method to isolate sodium. "[7], These criticisms, however, led Davy to refine and improve his experimental techniques,[22] spending his later time at the institution increasingly in experimentation. The potassium-argon method is frequently used to date lava flows whose age is between a million and a billion years. He went on to electrolyse molten salts and discovered several new metals, including sodium and potassium, highly reactive elements known as the alkali metals.