Henry Cavendish

1731 (Nizza, Savoy, now Nice, France) – 1810 (London)

The painfully-shy Cavendish was a great ally of Priestley’s in their work on gases, and a regular attender at his friend Banks’ open houses. A leading member of the Royal Society, he was greatly respected by colleagues including Davy (whom he helped), Herschel (a neighbour), and Franklin. He anticipated (without publishing) the findings of many eminent scientists; Wheatstone, Coulomb, Faraday and Ohm among others. Smithson was his lab assistant. Michell (a friend) worked with him to find the earth’s density, but died before completion, Cavendish getting most of the credit. Both Aubert and Maskelyne saw him constantly.

Henry Cavendish knew…