Hydrogen: Managing the revolution


Hydrogen, which derives its name from the Greek word hydro (water) and genes (forming/creator), was first discovered as a distinct substance in 1766 by the Englishman Henry Cavendish.

A shy, unassuming man with an unfinished degree from the University of Cambridge, Cavendish recorded the discovery of hydrogen in his first publication with the description of ’inflammable air’.

His further research found that the gas produces water when combusted and so he is credited as the first to discover the element of Hydrogen; however, it was not named as such until Frenchman Antoine Lavoisier reproduced Cavendish’s experiment in 1783 and coined the name ‘Hydrogen’. While Cavendish receives the credit, it was a Swiss-German Physician, known as Paracelsus, who is recognised to be the first to artificially synthesise Hydrogen in the 1500s, albeit unknowingly, describing a metal and acid reaction as, “air arises and breaks forth like a wind.

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