Another great event at the RI last week – every time I go there I am struck by just what a valuable contribution it makes in so many areas. Professors Sharon Ruston and David Nutt were discussing drugs past and present. I hadn’t seen Sharon Ruston talk before, and she’s excellent. It was a public lecture, so I was expecting something about the romantics, and she spoke about Thomas de Quincey’s opium use.
What I wasn’t expecting was to hear about Humphrey Davy’s addiction to nitrous oxide. Better known for discovering a few elements and inventing the miner’s lamp, Davy also prepared and inhaled copious amounts of nitrous oxide.
This was sometimes in the basement of the RI itself, and he recorded his observations in his notebooks. Who knew?