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“O, Excellent Air Bag”: Humphry Davy and Nitrous Oxide

- August 6, 2014 in coleridge, drugs, humphry davy, laughing gas, nitrous oxide, pneumatic institute, Science & Medicine, thomas beddoes

The summer of 1799 saw a new fad take hold in one remarkable circle of British society: the inhalation of "Laughing Gas". The overseer and pioneer of these experiments was a young Humphry Davy, future President of the Royal Society. Mike Jay explores how Davy's extreme and near-fatal regime of self-experimentation with the gas not only marked a new era in the history of science but a turn toward the philosophical and literary romanticism of the century to come.