Joseph Priestly
HC Joseph Priestley.jpg
Chemist- a chemist is a person who studies chemistry which is the study of matters and their different properties such as density and acidity.
Educator-a person that teaches others about certain subjects like math and science.
March 13, 1733
February 6, 1804
Place of Birth
Fairfield, England
HC Map of Fairfield, England.png

Known For
Priestley's most famous discovery was the discovery of oxygen. In 1772 he had shown that a gas necessary to animal life is released by plants. Two years later he prepared the same gas by heating red mercuric oxide. His experiment of the properties of the new gas showed it to be superior to common air. A mouse trapped in a container could stayed conscious twice as long as in ordinary air, and breathing it had no adverse effects.
Science Explained
Joseph Priestley established a transparent gas by heating red mercuric oxide which is. Priestley realized that a candle would burn and that a mouse would thrive in this gas that was formed. He called this gas “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen), based upon the belief that ordinary air became soaked with a hypothetical component of substances, it could no longer support life. Priestley was not yet sure, however, that he had discovered a “new species of air.” He found out that a mouse trapped in a container would stay conscious twice as long as a mouse in ordinary air.
1755-He first entered ministry as Presbyterian minister at Needham Market, Suffolk.
1761-Became tutor in languages at Warrington Academy.
1766-He met the U.S. scientist Benjamin Franklin on a trip to London, who interested Priestley in science.
1767-Priestley returned to Leeds as minister of a chapel at Mill Hill.
1772-Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen.
1773-He was librarian and literary companion to Lord Shelburne.
1799-Joseph discovers carbon monoxide.
Did You Know
  • Joseph Priestley married May Wilkinson, the sister of John Wilkinson who is the guitar player who accompanied Elvis Presley.
  • His mother died when he was 7 years old and was brought up with his aunt.
  • Priestley settled in Birmingham and became a member of a Lunar Club.
  • Joseph Priestly discovered 10 gases in a period of five years invented a fizzy drink (soda water) perfect for long voyages.
  • He had a gift for languages and was awarded the Royal Society’s Copley Medal Award.
Allaby, Michael and Derek Gjertsen. Makers of Science: Volume 1. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.
Byers, Paula K. ed. Encyclopedia of World Biography Vol. 2. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1998. Print
Conley, Kate A. Joseph Priestley and the Discovery of Oxygen. Hockessin, DE: Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2006. Print.
Google maps. Fairfield, England. Google. 2013. Web. 9/7/13

Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography, © RM, 2013, all rights reserved, as published under license in Access Science, The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology Online,, © McGraw-Hill Education, 2000-2013. Helicon Publishing is a division of RM.
"Joseph Priestley." Britannica School. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 19 Sep. 2013. <>.
Weinsstein, Eric W. Joseph Priestley 1733-1804. Wolfram Research. 2007. Web. 9/7/13
Wikipedia. Joseph Priestley. Wikipedia. 2013. Web. 9/7/13
[Image.] September 7th, 2013.