Henry Cavendish

Picture of Henry Cavendish

Date of Birth: 10/10/1731

Age: 78

Place of birth: Nice

Citizenship: United Kingdom



English chemist and physicist, member of the Royal Society of London (since 1760). Born in Nice (France). He graduated from Cambridge University (1753). Scientific studies conducted in our own laboratory.

Works in the field of chemistry are pneumatic (gas) chemistry, one of the founders of which he is. Identified (1766), carbon dioxide and hydrogen in its pure form, taking the last of the phlogiston, established the basic structure of the air as a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. I got nitrogen oxides. hydrogen combustion was (1784) the water, determining the ratio of the interaction volume in the reaction gas (100: 202). The accuracy of his research was so great, that allowed him on receipt (1785) of nitrogen oxides by passing an electric spark through the humidified air to observe the presence of "dephlogisticated air" is no more than 1/20 of the total volume of gas. This observation helped W. and J. Ramsay. Rayleigh open (1894) noble gas argon. His discoveries explained from the perspective of the theory of phlogiston.

In the field of physics in many cases anticipated the later discovery. The law, according to which the strength of the electric interaction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the charges, it was opened (1767), ten years before the French physicist C. Coulomb.

Experimentally established (1771) the influence of the environment on the capacitance and defined (1771) the value of the dielectric constant of a number of substances. Identified (1798) forces of mutual attraction of bodies under the influence of gravity, and then calculated the average density of the Earth. The work of Cavendish in the field of physics became known only in 1879 - after the British physicist J. Maxwell published his manuscripts, which were up to that time in the archives..

In the name of Cavendish called organized in 1871 Physical Laboratory at Cambridge University.

According to the materials of a biographical directory "outstanding chemists of the world" (authors VA Volkov et al.) - Moscow, "High School" 1991

Strokes to the portrait

Born in Nice, October 10, 1731, Henry Cavendish was descended from the famous Anglo-Norman family. Who lived in his youth in poverty and are located fairly modest means, after his death, he left an enormous fortune. It is known that his condition is not arisen as a result of any financial transactions. A letter from the bank, where Cavendish was holding a very small portion of their money. In this letter, the bank offered him a place there and the rest of the state, promising the most favorable conditions. A Sir Henry was unequivocal: "Make money I deposited in your bank, and the rest, stay away. If you do not know what to do with them, I have them willing to take away. And if you ever again I disturb, I immediately I do it. "

A favorite way of spending money was the Cavendish for charity. Kak-to time to find out that a student who helped him organize the library, found himself in a difficult financial situation, Cavendish once wrote him a check for 10 thousand pounds - a sum for that time enormous. Similarly, he did all his life - and, nevertheless, always has millions of pounds, as if possessed fabulous "fiat money". Koe-kto believes, that this inexhaustible wealth brought him successful alchemy classes, but it is, of course, only an assumption.

In February 1753 Cavendish finished the prestigious University of Cambridge. But being one of the most eminent scientists of the XVIII century, there is no scientific degree he never received. One possible explanation: In those days, every graduate of Cambridge could not be unbelieving, but atheism Cavendish was well known. But the reason could be different.

It is difficult, however, to explain another unusual fact: Cavendish, who had, as already mentioned, there is no scientific degree and not published any scientific work, was at the age of 29 admitted to the Royal Academy of Sciences.

In 1773, 20 years after graduating from Cambridge, Cavendish, when he was by then fabulously rich, he lived in Clapham Common, on the street that today bears his name. It has since scientist began to behave towards others, at least, strange: he could not stand when kto-libo turned to him, and if you spoke to him on the street kakoy-nibud stranger Cavendish silently turned away, he would call a cab and immediately returned home.

Women in general he felt some kind of people, which did not want to have anything to do. The house he was ordered to attach an external stairway and ordered his servants to use only her. Those of them who dared to use the internal, he immediately dismissed.

They say such a case. Once Cavendish had dinner in the clubhouse of the Royal Society. At that time there was a beautiful young woman and began to consider the passing carriages in the box located in front of the house. Many of those present at the club men went to the window to get a better look at her. Deciding pochemu-to that they admire the full moon, Cavendish had joined them, but realizing his mistake, he immediately left the club, loud expressing his aversion to what is happening.

But once he, without hesitation, rushed to the protection of women. Once, while in Clapham, Cavendish saw Meadow woman tries to escape from the angry bull. He immediately rushed to the rescue, he rushed between the woman and the animal and managed to ward off his. Then, without waiting for thanks, he turned and left in silence.

With the ruler of his house, he spoke only through correspondence. For example, in one of his memoranda he wrote: "I was invited to dinner a few gentlemen and would like to see each of them was served mutton ham. And since I do not know how many hams is the bar, ask you samogorazobratsya this issue ".

it was impossible to talk to him, so he just turned his back to trying to make it and left. According to rumors, he still had a few friends, but no information about them is available.

For 30 years, Cavendish led the life, the details of which to this day are almost unknown. He wore a purple, completely faded costume wig in the style of the XVII century, and always hid his face. In the village, he went to the crew, equipped with a counter of his own design, reminiscent of the modern taxis.

One day he called his servant and said, "Listen carefully to what I tell you I`m going to die soon When this happens, go to Lord George Cavendish and tell him what had happened..." The servant stammered that would not be bad in this case, confession and communion. "I have no idea what it is, - replied Cavendish -. Bring lavender water better and more do not appear here until I die."

When heirs acquainted with Cavendish abandoned the documents proved that the deceased owned a large number of shares of the Bank of England - pretty good for a man not earned a penny in my life, but at the same time consistently generous sorivshego money.

Will the scholar contain a categorical demand to the crypt with his grave immediately after the funeral was hermetically sealed up, and outside there were no labels to indicate who is buried in the crypt. This was done. Cavendish was buried March 12, 1810 at the Cathedral in Derby. No examination of the body, no autopsy was performed. And not a single reliable portrait of Cavendish also been preserved.

Most of the scientific work of Cavendish was not published up to the 1921, and even now some boxes filled with manuscripts and instruments, the purpose of which is not determinable, remain uninvestigated. And what little is known, looks very unusual. Cavendish conducted scientific experiments, for centuries ahead of its time. For example, he calculated the deflection of light rays caused by the Sun`s mass, for 200 years before Einstein, and his calculations are almost identical with Einstein. He accurately calculate the mass of the planet and was able to isolate the light gases from the air. At the same remja he did not care neither about the publication of his works, nor any recognition of the scientific world.

In 1775, he invited seven prominent scientists, to demonstrate they constructed an artificial electric ray, and gave everyone to feel an electric discharge, it is absolutely identical to what a real ramp paralyzes its victims. And at the end of the show he is ahead of his contemporaries Galvani and Volta, announced solemnly invited, it is this, show them a new force someday revolutionize the entire world.

Cavendish could determine the voltage by touching the circuit by hand, indicating his extraordinary physical qualities. Although modest in terms of modern science opportunities of his laboratory, he was able to accurately calculate the mass of the Earth. And all these extraordinary, outstanding discoveries Cavendish made based not on the science of his time, and taking advantage of the achievements of medieval alchemy, the language and symbols of which he owned.

Cavendish was quite indifferent to the world around him and was never interested in taking place in this world event - even as significant as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars that have swept across Europe.

However, it is hardly legitimate to explain his actions common eccentricity. And handing out money right and left, he was not a philanthropist. Yes, and his aversion to women, too, can not be explained. One of his contemporaries Cavendish, a scientist by the name of Lovekraft, said of him: "His appearance - it`s just a mask. Hides beneath the creature is not a man." But Cavendish was not an exception among the prominent figures of the XVIII century - worked a whole galaxy of brilliant scientists, the discovery of which were ahead of their time. So, say, Roger Boscovich published in 1736 a treatise, in which you can find references not only the theory of relativity, but also on the areas of knowledge on which science, almost nothing is known to this day - for example, about time travel or antigravity .

Among the outstanding scientists, clearly ahead of their time, Cavendish is not alone. His contemporaries Saint-Germain, Boskovic, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestley and Count Rumford are also in this series. We know that these people were familiar with each other and were in correspondence. Recall that Benjamin Franklin wrote to Joseph Priestley (but was it the end of the XVIII century): "It becomes simply can not imagine, when you imagine what forces will hold a person in a thousand years. He will learn to deny the force of attraction large mass of matter, which would give them absolute ease and allow to move them without the slightest effort. In agriculture, the cost of labor is much reduced, and yields increase. All our diseases, including aging, will be defeated. and the time of human life can be prolonged indefinitely, even beyond those limits, which are known to us from the Bible ".

Between 1750 and 1800 year were made many discoveries, which used the then science was simply not able to. For example, the English mathematician Cayley (Sau1eu) said that, in his opinion, will soon be invented motor is powerful enough to pick up an object in the air is heavier than air. Based on this assumption, he had in 1800 developed the aircraft project. Around the same time it introduced the concept of an artificial satellite, which is being run from a giant cannon would be circling around our planet ...