Henry Cavendish

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Name: Henry Cavendish
Date of Birth: Oct. 10, 1731
Occupation: Natural philosopher
Ethnicity: English

Henry Cavendish was an English chemist, physicist and protocel. He is often considered the most significant English physicist in the period following the scientific revolution.

Cavendish is most notable for his rigorous and ingenious experiments that, among other things, calculated the density of the Earth, revealed the properties of hydrogen and oxygen, and measured the gravitational constant to an untold level of precision for the time.[1][2]

Despite being wealthy and from an aristocratic family, Cavendish was never married and was not reported to have had romantic relationships. He likely died a virgin. The most probable cause of Cavendish's lifelong celibacy was his shyness, which bordered on the highly pathological. For most of his adult life, Cavendish ensconced himself in his plush laboratory (constructed using his parent's wealth) conducting his elaborate experiments. Cavendish generally only ventured outside to occasionally confer with his scientific colleagues at the Royal Society, who were instructed to address him indirectly and only in regards to scientific matters.[3]

He was noted by several of his contemporaries to have an "aversion towards women", which was so strong that he even went to the lengths of having a separate staircase installed in his house so he could avoid his female servants, with Cavendish only communicating with said servants via notes.[4]

His various eccentricities have predictably caused many commentators on his life to diagnose him with a form of high functioning autism posthumously, such as Asperger's syndrome.[5] On the other hand, Cavendish may be seen as a prime example of the British psychiatrist Bruce Charlton's proposed endogenous personality, characterized by inward motivation, outlier high intelligence, creativity, and aversive/avoidant social relations.

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