Oxygen, symbol O, colorless, odorless, tasteless, slightly magnetic
gaseous element. On earth, oxygen is more abundant than any other element.
Oxygen was discovered in 1774 by the British chemist Joseph Priestley and,
independently, by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele; it was shown to be
an elemental gas by the French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier in his classic
experiments on combustion.
Large amounts of oxygen are used in high-temperature welding torches, in
which a mixture of oxygen and another gas produces a flame of much higher
temperature than is obtained by burning gases in air. Oxygen is administered to
patients whose breathing is impaired and also to people in aircraft flying at
high altitudes, where the poor oxygen concentration cannot support normal
respiration. Oxygen-enriched air is used in open-hearth furnaces for steel
Most of the oxygen produced in the United States is used to make a
mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen called synthesis gas, used for the
synthesis of methanol and ammonia. High-purity oxygen is used also in the metal-
fabrication industries; in liquid form it is of great importance as a propellant
for guided missiles and rockets2.
I have chosen the element "Oxygen" because without Oxygen, human beings
would not be able to live. Oxygen is probably the single most important element...
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