Remembering Sir William Ramsay on his birthday.
AKA Sir William Ramsay, Jr.
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Location of death: High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Cause of death: Nasal Cancer
Remains: Buried, Hazlemere Church Graveyard, Buckinghamshire, England
Executive summary: Discovered noble gases
British chemist William Ramsay discovered a previously unknown class of inert, rare, or noble gases. He studied under Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, and predicted that dense gasses were hidden, invisible and as yet undetected in the Earth’s atmosphere. To test his idea, he designed an experimental means to remove oxygen and nitrogen from the air, and analyzing what remained in collaboration with Lord Rayleigh he found the previously unknown element argon (Ar) in 1894. He later spectroscopically confirmed the existence of helium, which had first been observed by Pierre Janssen. From the established positions of argon and helium on the periodic table of elements, Ramsay guessed that more unknown gasses exist, and discovered krypton, neon, and xenon in 1898. Working with chemist Robert Whytlaw-Gray (1877-1958) he discovered radon in 1900. In 1903, working with Frederick Soddy, Ramsay showed that the radioactive decay of radium produces helium, a discovery which laid the groundwork for the subsequent development of nuclear physics. In 1904 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, while his colleague Rayleigh won the Nobel Prize in Physics in the same year. (via NNDB.com)
Before Sir William Ramsay discovered neon gas and George Claude got his hands on it, american inventor Daniel McFarlan Moore had already invented a flourescent tube using carbon dioxide around 1896. Working previously with Edison, Moore started using gas discharge illumination in tubes bent to letters and shapes.
This proved troublesome as gases such as Oxygen and Nitrogen are not inert so they will combine with other chemical substances. Due to this, the molecules in the gases were cleaned up by the electrodes, lowering the pressure of the gas and preventing steady long lasting illumination.
For this reason, Moore invented a electromagnetic valve which would replace the gas in the tube.
The large amount of gas needed in the tube meant it necessary they would be at least two inches in diameter and of great length so they became limited in application and extremely costly.
Moore saw his invention as a viable competitor to Edison’s incandescent bulb (who he thought was too bright, too hot and too red) in practical lighting. When neon was discovered, he saw its red glow as a handicap and experimented with helium and nitrogen.
Tungsten filaments were introduced and Moore resigned his flourescent lamp and reconciled with Edison, selling his patents.
Moore would later help invent the television and in 1936 he was shot dead by Jean Phillip Gebhardt in his home. Gebhardt felt Moore had stolen one of his ideas.
I love her!