Some of Antoine Lavoisier’s other discoveries were so far ahead of their time that his fellow scientists had trouble accepting them.
He applied what he had learned about combustion and oxygen to the human body.
As a result of his experiments, he knew that we take in oxygen through the air and exhale the waste product of carbon dioxide.
Adding that to our intake of food as a “fuel” for energy, he realized that the body heat we produce is a result of the combustion of food and oxygen.
In 1766, the English scientist Henry Cavendish had isolated a very light, flammable gas by dropping bits of iron, tin, and zinc into hydrochloric acid.
Cavendish thought he had discovered phlogiston. He was also very confused by the puddle of water that resulted when he burned this gas.
The brilliant Lavoisier repeated the experiment and knew exactly what it meant.
Lavoisier named the gas hydrogen, from the Greek for “water-producing”, and deduced that water must be a combination of the two gases, oxygen and hydrogen.