Image: Tablet dedicated to Joseph Priestley in the Church of the Messiah Broad Street. The tablet is now in the Unitarian Church, Ladywood, Birmingham.

Image from: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library.

Some of Priestley’s contributions to science have been presented, emphasising his outstanding contributions as an experimental scientist. His discoveries across the board, in biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology played a major part in those early days of science. They include: the first publication of one of the basic laws of physics, the Inverse Square Law of Electrostatics; the discovery that plants purify air made noxious by fire and animals breathing; the discovery of oxygen; the first recorded synthesis of water; pioneering experiments on the properties of blood.

A final word from Priestley:

The greater is the circle of light, the greater is the boundary of the darkness by which it is confined. But notwithstanding this, the more light we get, the more thankful we ought to be, for this means we have the greater range for satisfactory contemplation. In time, the bounds of light will be still farther extended: and from the infinity of the divine nature, and the divine works, we may promise ourselves

An endless progress in our investigation of them: a prospect truly sublime and glorious.


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