Skip to main content

Oxygen

Neil Bartlett and the Reactive Noble Gases
Society: ACSMain Category: ChemicalSub Category: Frontiers of KnowledgeEra: 1960-1969DateCreated: 1962Dept of ChemistryVancouverState: BCZip: V6T 1Z1Country: CanadaWebsite: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bartlettnoblegases.htmlCreator: Bartlett, Neil

In 1962 Neil Bartlett demonstrated the first reaction of a noble gas. The noble gas family of elements - helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon - had previously been regarded as inert. By combining xenon with a platinum fluoride, Bartlett created the first noble gas compound. This reaction began the field of noble gas chemistry, which became fundamental to the scientific understanding of the chemical bond. Noble gas compounds have helped create anti-tumor agents and have been used in lasers.

YearAdded:
2006
Image Credit: Image courtesy University of British Columbia Library.Image Caption: Neil Bartlett and the Reactive Noble GasesEra_date_from: 1962
Discovery of Oxygen by Joseph Priestly
Society: ACSMain Category: ChemicalSub Category: Frontiers of KnowledgeEra: 1750-1799DateCreated: 1774Joseph Priestley HouseNorthumberlandState: PAZip: 17857Country: USAWebsite: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_SUPERARTICLE&node_id=521&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=0af17f7c-0447-4b06-a716-8e74a6b01a5fCreator: Priestley, Joseph

When Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774, he answered age-old questions of why and how things burn. An Englishman by birth, Priestley was deeply involved in politics and religion, as well as science. When his vocal support for the American and French revolutions made remaining in his homeland dangerous, Priestley left England in 1794 and continued his work in America until his death. His library of some 1,600 volumes and his chemical laboratory, where he first isolated carbon monoxide, were probably the best in the country at that time.

YearAdded:
2000
Image Credit: Public Domain; Produced prior to 1/1/1923Image Caption: Joseph Priestley: Discoverer of OxygenEra_date_from: 1774
Morley with students and instructors, ca. 1893.
Society: ACSMain Category: ChemicalSub Category: Frontiers of KnowledgeDateCreated: 1895Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandState: OHZip: 44106Country: USAWebsite: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/atomicweightofoxygen.htmlCreator: Morley, Edward W.

In his laboratory at Western Reserve University (Now Case Western Reserve University), Edward W. Morley carried out his research on the atomic weight of oxygen that provided a new standard to the science of chemistry. The accuracy of his analyses has never been superseded by chemical means. His great work, published in 1895, also gave important insight into the atomic theory of matter.

He observed, after carefully analysis of the volume proportions in which hydrogen and oxygen unite, that the atomic weight of oxygen was 15.879.

The plaque commemorating the event reads:

YearAdded:
1995
Image Credit: Courtesy ACSImage Caption: Morley with students and instructors, ca. 1893.
Subscribe to Oxygen

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.