Fragmentary, No. 2

“One of the mysteries in the history of chemistry is how seldom chemists blew themselves up while investigating novel substances and reactions. Hydrogen and oxygen . . . can burn smoothly together, but they can also react explosively. Priestley used to carry small bottles of these two airs, and he entertained visitors by exploding the gases.”

♦ Trevor H. Levere, Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball