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John Mayow

John Mayow (1643-1679)

JOHN MAYOW (1643-1679) native of London, was one of the very distinguished group of England scientists at Oxford, who were instrumental in founding the Royal Society. His great work Tractatus quinque medico-physici quorum primus agit de sal-nitro, et spiritu nitro-aereo (1674) showed that there was a particular constituent of air, which also supports a combustion and is contained in nitre, which he therefore called "nitro-aerial spirit", the portion of the air which the animal absorbs during respiration.

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