Chemistry textbooks sometimes give a line or two to Joseph Priestly as co-founder of proper chemistry. Reading a few paragraphs of Priestly's original writings brings his humility, pleasantness to life.
"I wish my reader be not quite tired with the frequent repetition of the word surprise, and other of similar import; but I must go on in that style a little longer. For the next day I was more surprised than ever I had been before..."
Priestly touches on the mice, his co-experimenters, who made their own (involuntary) contributions as they lived and died, passing time in bottles filled with Priestly's chemically generated atmospheres:
"On the 8th of this month I procured a mouse, and put it into a glass vessel, containing two ounce-measures of the air from mercurius calcinatus. Had it been common air, a full-grown mouse, as this was, would have lived in it about a quarter of an hour. In this air, however, my mouse lived a full hour; and though it was taken out seemingly dead, it appeared to have been only exceedingly chilled; for, upon being held to the fire, it presently revived, and appeared not to have received any harm from the experiment."