Chemistry KS3/4: Who was Henry Cavendish?

Brian Cox describes Henry Cavendish's shy and eccentric personality, his wealth and his intense scientific curiosity.

He repeats Cavendish’s experiments to produce and investigate hydrogen and its reaction with oxygen to produce water, deducing the formula of water as H2O by recording experiments accurately, despite not having the theoretical grounding to explain what he had discovered.

Cox then goes on to describe the contribution that Cavendish made to the foundation of the Royal Institution, where members of the public could listen to lectures given by scientists.

This short film is from the BBC series, Science Britannica.

Teacher Notes

Encourage students to discuss the personality traits that one might need to be a good scientist.

This short film could be used to demonstrate that science is not just about discovering new knowledge, but also about sharing that knowledge with other scientists and the public.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching chemistry at KS3 and KS4/GCSE and National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA.

More from Science Britannica:

Who was Humphry Davy?
William Perkin and making scientific discoveries by chance
How CERN helps us understand the Big Bang
Sir Isaac Newton and the scientific method
John Tyndall and blue skies research
Targeted research
Global warming resistant GM crops
John Hunter and public engagement in science