Joseph Priestley was an 18th-century British theologian, Dissenting
clergyman, natural philosopher, educator, and political theorist who
published over 150 works. He is usually credited with the discovery of
oxygen gas, although Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier also
have such a claim. During his lifetime, Priestley's considerable
scientific reputation rested on his invention of soda water, his
writings on electricity, and his discovery of several "airs" (gases),
the most famous being what Priestley dubbed "dephlogisticated air"
(oxygen). However, Priestley's determination to reject what would
become the chemical revolution and to cling to phlogiston theory
eventually left him isolated within the scientific community.
Priestley's science was integral to his theology, and he consistently
tried to fuse Enlightenment rationalism with Christian theism. In his
metaphysical texts, Priestley attempted to combine theism,
materialism, and determinism, a project that has been called
"audacious and original". The controversial nature of Priestley's
publications combined with his outspoken support of the French
Revolution aroused public and governmental suspicion; he was
eventually forced to flee to the United States after a mob burned down
his home and church in 1791.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Portuguese knight Estácio de Sá founded the city of São Sebastião do
Rio de Janeiro (St Sebastian of the January River) in honour of King
Yellowstone National Park, one of the first national parks in the
world, was established.
Ethiopia won the decisive Battle of Adwa over Italy, ending the
First Italo-Abyssinian War.
Korea under Japanese rule: The Samil Movement began with numerous
peaceful protests in Korea, but was brutally suppressed by the
Japanese police and army.
The 15-megaton hydrogen bomb Castle Bravo was detonated on Bikini
Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in one of the worst cases of
radioactive contamination ever caused by nuclear testing.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
polymath: A person with extraordinarily broad and comprehensive
Wikiquote of the day:
Try to remember this: what you projectIs what you will
perceive; what you perceiveWith any passion, be it love or terror,May
take on whims and powers of its own. -- Richard Wilbur