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StudioTulsa
12:54 am
Wed January 7, 2009

A famous 18th-century scientist with surprising connections to our Founding Fathers.

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Steven Johnson, the bestselling author of "The Ghost Map," "Everything Bad Is Good for You," and "Mind Wide Open" (among other books), is our guest today. His new book, which he discusses at length with StudioTulsa host Rich Fisher, is "The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America." It's a biography of Joseph Priestley, the great British scientist, theologian, and man of ideas who fled to America just as this country's founding was in full swing. Priestley lived a most remarkable life; among his many key scientific accomplishments, he's probably best known as the man who discovered oxygen. Moreover, Priestley routinely came in close contact with many of the leading figures of his day, and thus Johnson tells Fisher how and why this particular hero of the Enlightenment was "the Zelig of early American history."