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How was nitrous oxide discovered?

nitrous oxide
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How was nitrous oxide discovered?

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Joseph Priestley (the discover of oxygen, soda pop, and carbon dioxide) described the preparation of “nitrous air diminished” in his classic 1772 paper Observations on Different Kinds of Air. The gas he collected over mercury supported combustion, but did not itself burn. He described the bizarre enlarged double-cone of a candle flame in nitrous oxide with great excitement: “I have now discovered an air five or six times as good as common air… nothing I ever did has surprised me more, or is more satisfactory.” But Priestley seems to have overlooked the powerful psychoactive effects of breathing nitrous oxide. Over 20 years later, Humphry Davy wrote about the intoxicating effects of nitrous oxide, comparing them to the effects of alcohol. Breathing air after inhaling high concentrations of the gas sometimes lead to hysterical laughter. It also lead to a cessation of pain and “laughing gas” became the first artifical anaesthetic. It was in common use by surgeons in the late 19th centur

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