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What the name means: Oxygen was named by the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier. The name comes from the Greek words oxein, meaning acid and genes, meaning making or forming.
Who identified oxygen?: It is thought that a 16th century Polish alchemist called Michal Sędziwój, made oxygen gas during an experiment. He described the gas he made as the "elixir of life". In the 1730's, Oluf Bayen and Pierre Borch also made oxygen gas but they did not realise that they had identified a new element. By the 1770's quite a few chemists were experimenting with air. The Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the English chemist, Joseph Priestly both identified oxygen as an element. In fact, Scheele did so before Priestly but Joseph Priestly published his findings first in 1775.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About oxygen: Oxygen gas is formed from molecules of oxygen. Each molecule of oxygen is made from two atoms of oxygen chemically joined together. This makes oxygen gas a diatomic gas. Oxygen gas supports combustion, which means that many elements and compounds will burn in oxygen gas.
Oxygen is the second most abundant element in the Earth and in the atmosphere. Oxygen gas makes up about 20% of the gases in the air.
Oxygen is essential for life on earth and it forms part of the majority the carbon compounds found in living things.
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