Humphry Davy plays God

Brian Cox describes how Humphry Davy was both a passionate scientist and also an enthusiastic science communicator. He provided spectacular demonstrations that excited the public audience. Cox recreates one of Davy’s favourite demonstrations and makes nitrogen triiodide from iodine and concentrated ammonia. He explains the strained nature of the bonding in NI3 and then explodes some using a feather. Cox then explains that Davy believed that understanding science would allow man to control the world around him, beginning an uneasy tension between science and religion.

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7 minutes

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