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Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was a British natural philosopher, preacher and polymath who is credited with the discovery of oxygen and conducted early experiments on the carbon cycle.

Portrait of Joseph Priestley (Ellen Sharples, 1794)

He worked in Leeds from 1767-1773 at Mill Hill Chapel in City Square, where his statue still stands, and during his time there he experimented with carbon dioxide from the local brewery, capturing the gas and impregnating water with it to create soda water. The work won him the Royal Society Copley Medal.

We have taken our Centre’s name from this inspirational Yorkshire scientist.  Today his work feeds into models of how oceans are acting as sinks for carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to climate change.

Read more about Joseph Priestley and his work in our blog. Or watch a lecture on the Life and Times of Joseph Priestley delivered by Dr John Lydon, Secretary of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

Joseph Priestley’s statue in City Square in Leeds