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Davy, Sir Humphry, Baronet (1778-1829)
He was an English chemist who discovered several chemical elements (including sodium and potassium) and compounds. He became one of the greatest exponents of the scientific method. Davy is best remembered for his contributions to the understanding of electrochemistry and for his invention of a safety lamp for miners. In 1798, he was appointed chemical superintendent of the Pneumatic Institution, founded at Clifton to inquire into the possible therapeutic uses of various gases.
In 1799, Davy did great experiment which showed that when two pieces of ice (or other substance with a low melting point) were rubbed together they could be melted without any other addition of heat. This experiment provided evidence that helped to disprove the caloric theory of heat. In 1808 sir Humphry Davy found that magnesium oxide was the oxide of a previously unknown metal. He also was the first to isolate a small quantity of magnesium from magnesium oxide.

Antoine Alexandre Brutus Bussy (1794-1882)
In 1823, he received a Doctor's degree in chemistry in the Paris Pharmacy School. 10 years later he also became the Doctor of medicine. From 1824 till 1874 he undertook lectures at the Paris Pharmacy School. In 1856 he became President of the Medical Academy and the Pharmaceutical Society.
In 1828, he was the first to isolate a new element called beryllium apart from F. Woehler. After H. Davy managed to prepare a small quantity of elementary magnesium through electrolysis, Bussy prepared larger amounts of the element in 1828. When he received the credit for discovering magnesium, managed to obtain purer and larger amounts of the metal, he fused magnesium chloride with metallic potassium vapor to get the metallic form.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Michael Faraday's scientific work laid the foundations to all subsequent electro-technology. Devices resulting from his experiments led directly to the inventions of modern electric motor, generator and transformer. Faraday was also the greatest scientific lecturer of his day, and did much to publicize the great advances of nineteenth-century science and technology through his articles, correspondence and the Friday evening discourses which he established at the Royal Institution in England.
In 1921, Faraday built two devices which allowed producing - what he called - electromagnetic rotation: that is a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire. In 1831, Faraday began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction. These experiments form the basis of modern electromagnetic technology.
In 1833 Michael Faraday electrolyzed dehydrated liquid magnesium chloride to form liquid magnesium and chlorine gas.

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (1811-1899)
In 1830, he graduated the Goettingen University. At the age of 19 he received a Doctor's degree for the invention of hygrometer. During 1833-1836, he was a private-docent of the Goettingen University, and during 1836-1839 a chemistry lecturer in the High Industrial School in Kassel. In 1839 he became the professor of chemistry of the Marburg University, in 1852 had gained the same position in the Heidelberg University. He retired in 1889 for making geology studies. The first serious scientific work was his research on cacodyls, which had become one of the basics for the theory of radicals.
In 1841, he invented the carbon and zinc galvanic elements later called after him, having the biggest electromotive force of all known chemical electricity sources at that period (~ 1,7V).
With such a battery he obtained pure chrome and manganese from chlorides by electrolysis. He also obtained magnesium (1852), aluminum, sodium and calcium (1854-1855) from fused chlorides. In 1852 Bunsen constructed a small laboratory cell for electrolysis of the fused chloride. This led to the commencement of magnesium commercial production in 1886 in Germany.
In 1855, Bunsen together with Roscoe studied the effect of sunlight on chlorine and hydrogen compounds which turned into hydrogen chloride. In 1862 they came to a conclusion that the amount of the photoproduct is equal to the product of the intensiveness of sunlight and its influence time.
Also the scientist Bunsen and H. Kirchhoff found the antidote for arsenic acid (1834), cesium (1860) and rubidium (1861).They studied the chemistry of the domain process, and developed methods for analysis of gas (1845).

Lloyd Montgomery Pidgeon (1903-1999)
This Canadian scientist is world renowned for the development of the magnesium production process that bears his name and was crucial to the Allied effort during World War II. As a researcher, scientist, scholar, educator and head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Toronto, he had had a significant influence on the study of science and on his many students who assumed prominent positions in industry, government and academia.
While working for the National Research Council he obtained magnesium from dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate). He was the first to overcome the barriers to safely commercialize this process. He achieved commercial development of a process by which it is possible to produce magnesium by reducing calcined dolomite with ferrosilicon, i.e. the silicothermic process.
This Pidgeon process uses horizontal steel tubes called retorts, in furnaces and under vacuum. In the retorts, mixtures of finely grounded calcined dolomite and ferrosilicon formed into briquettes react to form magnesium vapors which are condensed and later remelted into ingots.
He also received patents for electrolytic magnesium processes. He worked with engineers to design and build six magnesium production plants in a very short period of time. The original plant at Haley, Ontario is still operating.

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What is magnesium?

Green vegetables such as spinach provide magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium. Nuts (especially cashews and almonds), seeds, and some whole grains are also good sources of magnesium.

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Notable features

Magnesium is a fairly strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal. It is protected by a thin layer of oxide which is fairly impermeable and hard to remove. Magnesium reacts with water at room temperature, though it reacts much more slowly (for example) than calcium.

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