Friday, July 10, 2015

Discovery of oxygen

Arising from the earlier entities of phlogiston and combustible air, oxygen was the product of several interconnected and near simultaneously discoveries in the 1770s by scientists working in three different countries: Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Joseph Priestly and Antoine-Laurent- Lavoisier.

Oxygen was first discovered by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, as Swedish chemist in 1772. However, he did not publish his observations until 1777.

In the meantime, Joseph Priestly, and English chemist independently discovered oxygen in 1775 and published his findings that same year. But it was Antoine-Laurent- Lavoisier who not only helped to discover the element but is also credited with naming it ‘oxygen’.
Antoine-Laurent- Lavoisier
With personal fortune and the help of his wife, Marie-Anne-Pierette Paulze, Lavoisier experimented on respiration, combustion and oxygen. By 1777 he had formulated a chemical theory of life as a process of oxidation.

Hemoglobin was identified as the ‘red pigment’ in the globules in 1851 by the German physiologist Otto Funke. His compatriot, Felix Hoppe-Seyler, professor of applied chemistry at Tubingen proved that the pigment could take up and discharge oxygen. It was him who called the blood pigment ‘hemoglobin’ in 1862.

He found that oxygen loosely bonds to hemoglobin to form oxyhemoglobin, which can give up its oxygen to the tissue in the body.

Paul Bert, a French physician measured the oxygen of arterial blood samples and related them to  the ambient pressure; in 1872 he was the first to publish graphs relating the two variables, pressure and content or saturation, later termed the oxygen dissociation curve.

In 1931, Ludwig Nicolai initiated the quantitative spectrophotometric investigation of light transmitted through human skin in an effort to understand the dynamics of tissue oxygen consumption.
Discovery of oxygen

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