In 1826 Michael Faraday inaugurated the Christmas Lectures for young people at the Royal Institution, Albemarle St, London. Apart from a few, the delivery of which was prevented by WWII, the lectures have been running ever since.

One of the most famous of these lectures was on The Chemical History of a Candle, given by Faraday in 1860. Actually a series of six talks, the breadth of interest and the variety of observations and phenomena which Faraday brings in to the subject remain astonishing a century and a half later. The note-taking was by (Sir) William Crookes, co-discoverer of the element Thallium.

  • Lecture 1: A Candle: The Flame - Its Sources - Structure Mobility - Brightness
  • Lecture 2:  Brightness of The Flame - Air Necessary For Combustion - Production of Water
  • Lecture 3:  Products: Water From The Combustion - Nature of Water - A Compound - Hydrogen
  • Lecture 4: Hydrogen in The Candle - Burns Into Water - The Other Part of Water - Oxygen
  • Lecture 5: Oxygen Present in The Air - Nature of The Atmosphere - Carbonic Acid
  • Lecture 6: Carbon or Charcoal - Coal Gas - Respiration and Its Analogy to A Candle

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