A most unusual man, Cavendish. He was the eldest son of Lord Cavendish. He went up to Cambridge, but, quit the place after three years without receiving a degree. He inherited a fortune and went off to lead the life of a solitary bachelor. He spent the whole of his long life on scientific investigations. In Chambers we read that Cavendish was a
"silent, solitary man, he had his magnificent library in London, four miles from his residence on Clapham Common, so that he might not encounter persons coming to consult it. His female domestics had orders to keep out of sight, on pain of dismissal. His dinner he ordered daily by a note placed on the hall table."As strange as he was, he was a first class scientist. He discovered Hydrogen gas (which was then called "flammable air"). He determined -- and, a most unusual determination it was for the time -- that water was composed of two gases. In one of his experiments, he determined the density of the earth. He also devised astronomical instruments. The very famous Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge was named after him.