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The life and times of Joseph Priestley

Wednesday 26 June 2019, 12:00 - 13:00
Clothworkers Central Building, Speakman Lecture Theatre
John Lydon

Join us to learn about the namesake of the Priestley Centre, Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), a British natural philosopher, preacher and polymath who is credited with the discovery of oxygen and conducted early experiments on the carbon cycle. The work won him the Royal Society Copley Medal, the most prestigious award of its kind.

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.

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.

This lecture will be delivered by John Lydon.  No need to register. All welcome.


John Lydon is a retired senior lecturer of Biochemistry at University of Leeds.  He has been the Secretary of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society for the last 18 years, a post once held by Joseph Priestley.  John is a member of the British Arctic Club and has taken part in three expeditions to the arctic, the International Labour Expedition (1970), Joint Services expedition Liverpool Land, Greenland (1975) and the Joint Services expedition to Ellesmere Island (1980).