Useless information #37 - Henry Cavendish, another great scientist with social issues!

Another hidden genius. He did became famous for his work but, as many others, he had much more work developed that never was shared in his lifetime. Because of his secretive behavior (more in the end of the post) he avoided publishing his work or talking about it with colleagues. After his death his papers were checked and there were discoveries or anticipations such as Richter's law of reciprocal proportions, Ohm's law, Dalton's law of partial pressures, principles of electrical conductivity (including Coulomb's law) and Charles's law of gases.

Lesson for scientists: Don't be shy! Don't be asocial. Get the work done and publish it!

Today we are either chemists, physicists, biologists, etc. Back then, they were all this and sometimes more. I'm sure you've noticed it by reading scientists biographical notes.

Henry Cavendish (10 Oct. 1731 – 24 Feb. 1810) was a natural philosopher and a great experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist.

  • He was the first to recognize hydrogen gas as a distinct substance. That allowed him to calculate its density as well as the densities of several other gases.

  • The other great contribute was an accurate value of the Earth's density and weight.

  • Accuracy was one of his strengths. He managed to improve several existing values due to his experimental skills.

Henry Cavendish was a great scientist but had some social issues. His only social life was the dinners and meetings of the Royal Society Club.

He was very shy and avoided social contacts when he could. He communicated with his female servants by notes and even had a back staircase added to his house in order to avoid encountering his housekeeper because he was especially shy of women.
What's wrong with this scientists?!

See you tomorrow for more "Useless information"

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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