The Science of Existence (71-1) History


Philosophers from antiquity regarded water as a basic element, typifying all liquids. Scientists did not discard that view until the back half of the 18th century.

English chemist Henry Cavendish discovered hydrogen in 1766, calling it “factitious air.” Cavendish synthesized water in 1781 by detonating hydrogen, which combined with the oxygen in the air to form water as a byproduct.

Lavoisier termed both oxygen (1779) and hydrogen (1783) and determined water as a combination of oxygen and hydrogen, thus dispelling water as an element unto itself.