Joseph Black was best known for his discovery and chemical activity of carbon dioxide. Black was born in Bordeaux, France, and went to school at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. He was a professor of chemistry, medicine, and anatomy at the University of Glasgow from 1756 to 1766. He became a professor of chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. In about 1761 Black discovered latent heat, and three years later he measured the latent heat of steam. His student and assistant James Watt then put the discoveries to use when he made improvements to the steam engine. About 1754 Black discovered carbon dioxide, a gas which he called “fixed air”, and showed its function in the causticization of lime or in other words making lime more alkaline and helping to disprove the phlogiston theory of combustion. He also discovered that different substances have different heat capacities.
Joseph Black discovered carbon dioxide by using experiments that involve the first gravimetric measurements on changes brought about when heating magnesia alba and reacting the products with acids or alkalis in 1754. He discovered carbon dioxide to help disprove the phlogiston theory of combustion and he showed that there are other gases in the air besides just air, which made the people realize that carbon dioxide was important for the world as well as other gasses.
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Carbon dioxide is important to both the U.S. and the world because without Co2 life on earth would most likely not be present it. Because of the fact that plant life needs Co2 to breathe, we need the oxygen created through photosynthesis from the plants to survive. In this, Joseph Black can be known as a worldwide hero to chemistry history. People now understand the importance of carbon dioxide and how it affects the atmosphere today.
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