Out of Thin Air Reflection

I watched the episode “Out of Thin Air” of the documentary the Mystery of Matter. I was expecting the story portrayed in this episode to focus solely on Lavoisier and Priestly, but was surprised to find that it spent more time explaining the connections between Lavoisier, Priestly, Davy, Volta, and others. When studying the history of science, it can be easy to see discoveries as discrete points that belong only to a single person (or a single team working together). This documentary, however showed how similar scientific efforts in history can be to today’s efforts. Though I’m not sure how common being “scooped” is, as Priestly was by Lavoisier, the idea of beating competitors to publication and the manifestations of different personalities in science stood out to me as similarities to today’s scientific world.

One thought on “Out of Thin Air Reflection

  1. I didnt expect you to watch the whole series, but, yes, it does tie a lot of the investigations over a longer time period together. I think the documentary does a good job of also overlapping with Bryson’s book on many subjects.

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