Antoine-Laurent De Lavoisier

BornAugust 26, 1743Paris, FranceDiedMay 8, 1794Paris, FranceOccupationchemist, economist and biologist

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (August 26, 1743 – may 8, 1794) was uno French nobleman who, along with john Dalton y Jöns jacob Berzelius, is considered ns "father of modern-day chemistry." In addition to his prominence in chemistry, he contributed to ns fields of biology, finance, y economics.

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He stated the first variation of los law of conservation of mass; co-discovered, recognized, y named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen; disproved the phlogiston theory;explained combustion y respiration in terms of chemical reactions entailing oxygen;wrote an elementary message on chemistry;helped come introduce ns metric system; invented the first routine table, including treinta y tres elements; and contributed to los establishment of modern-day chemical nomenclature. The was additionally an investor and administrator of ns "Ferme Générale," a private tax collection company; chairman the the board of the Discount banco (later the mochila de France); y a powerful member of un number of other aristocratic governmental councils.

Due to his prominence in ns pre-revolutionary federal government in France, he to be beheaded at los height of the French Revolution.

Early life


Born to an upper middle class family in Paris, Lavoisier prospered up under los doting treatment of his mother"s sister following los early fatality of his mother, Jeanne Lavoisier. He was five la edad old y became ns recipient that both his aunt"s nurturing y a large fortune after her death.

Beginning at ns age that 11, Lavoisier attended the colegios Mazarin from 1754 to 1761, examining under los famed astronomer and mathematician, the Abbe La Caille, who had measured an arc of los meridian at ns Cape of great Hope. He also studied chemistry under Rouelle, who had un reputation because that making scientific research exciting and entertaining. In enhancement to these, los young student come under ns wing of botanist Bernard del Jussieu with whom he made plenty of expeditions into los French landscape to conduct research.


Lavoisier’s education and learning was filled with the ideals of los French Enlightenment, and he feeling fascination for Maquois" dictionary. His devotion and passion for chemistry was likewise influenced by Étienne Condillac, un prominent French scholar of los eighteenth century. His first chemical publication showed up in 1764. In 1767, he operated on ns geological inspection of Alsace-Lorraine. He to be elected ns member of ns French Academy of Sciences, France"s most élite scientific society, at the age of veinticinco in mil setecientos sesenta y ocho for an essay on calle lighting y in recognition for his earlier research. In mil setecientos sesenta y nueve he functioned on ns first geological mapa of France. The diversity the his activities demonstrated his constant quest for knowledge which would certainly be valuable in enhancing the humanidad situation.

In 1771, that married los 13-year-old Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze, los daughter of ns co-owner of ns tax collection sociedad called los Ferme. Suitable by her father come Lavoisier, she soon proved to be an able scientific colleague to her husband. Marie analyzed documents representar English because that him, including richard Kirwan"s "Essay on Phlogiston" and Joseph Priestley"s research. She created plenty of sketches y carved engravings of ns laboratory tools used by Lavoisier and his colleagues. She additionally edited and published Lavoisier’s memoirs and hosted countless parties during which eminent scientists would discuss new chemical theories.

Contributions come chemistry


Beginning in 1775, Lavoisier offered in ns Royal gunpowder Administration, wherein his work led to enhancements in the production of gunpowder and the use of agricultural chemistry by developing a new method because that preparing saltpeter.

Major works

Some of Lavoisier"s most crucial experiments examined the nature the combustion, or burning. Through these experiments, he demonstrated the burning is uno process the involves los combination of ns substance con oxygen. He additionally demonstrated los role that oxygen in metal rusting, as well as its function in animal and plant respiration: working with Pierre-Simon Laplace, Lavoisier conducted experiments that showed that respiration was essentially ns slow burning of organic cosa using inhaled oxygen. Lavoisier"s explanation of combustion replaced the phlogiston theory, i m sorry presumed that products release a substance called phlogiston when they burn, uno theory that was prominently hosted by josé Priestley during ns latter part of ns eighteenth century. Lavoisier learned Priestley"s works y discussed the phenomenon of burning with the English priest scientist who went to him in France. As result of Lavoisier"s exacting measurements of los products that combustion, he to be led to los conclusion that there to be an element in the atmósfera which must combine with the materials being burned. He had the ability to determine ns exact proportions of los element oxygen in the atmósfera by weighing y measuring ns solids y gasses affiliated both prior to and delaware the experiments.

Research ~ above hydrogen y his function in disproving the phlogiston theory


Apparatus for hydrogen burning experiment made representar Lavoisier"s map out by Jean Baptiste Meusnier in 1783

He likewise discovered that the "inflammable air" of henry Cavendish which he termed hydrogen (Greek because that "water-former"), combined con oxygen to produce a dew, as Priestley had actually reported, which appeared to be water. Lavoisier"s job-related was partially based on ns work of priesthood (he corresponded con Priestley y fellow members of ns Lunar Society). However, the tried to take credit transaction for Priestley"s discoveries. This tendency to use los results of others without acknowledgment, then draw conclusions that his own, is stated to be characteristic the Lavoisier.

In "Sur la combustion dentro général" ("On combustion in General," 1777) and "Considérations Générales del sur la Nature de Acides" ("General Considerations on los Nature the Acids," 1778), he demonstrated that ns "air" responsible for burning was also ns source of acidity. In 1779, he named this component of the air "oxygen" (Greek for "becoming sharp," due to the fact that he declared that los sharp taste of acids came representar oxygen), and the other "azote" (Greek for "no life"). In "Réflexions sur la Phlogistique" ("Reflections top top Phlogiston," 1783), Lavoisier showed los phlogiston theory to it is in inconsistent.

Pioneer that stoichiometry

Lavoisier"s experiments to be among the first important quantitative chemical experiments ever before performed; the is, he carefully weighed the reactants and products involved, a central step in the advancement that chemistry. He verified that, although issue can readjust its state in un chemical reaction, ns quantity of matter is los same in ~ the end as at los beginning the every chemistry reaction. He burned phosphorus y sulfur in air, and proved that the products weighed much more than los original. Nevertheless, ns weight gained was lost representar the air.

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These experiments noted evidence for ns law of los conservation that matter, i beg your pardon was later on formulated as los law of preservation of mass. It was only delaware the realization the matter can be neither created nor destroyed within a physical mechanism that chemistry became precise science.

Major works in analysis chemistry and chemical nomenclature

Lavoisier additionally investigated the composition the water y air, i m sorry at los time were taken into consideration elements. He discovered ns components of water to be oxygen and hydrogen, y that aire was ns mixture of gases—primarily nitrogen and oxygen. With los French chemistry Claude-Louis Berthollet, Antoine Fourcroy y Guyton del Morveau, Lavoisier devised uno chemical nomenclature, or un system of names describing los structure of chemical compounds. He described it in Méthode después nomenclature chimique (“Method of chemistry Nomenclature,” 1787). Their mechanism facilitated communication of discoveries between chemists of different backgrounds y is still greatly in use today, including names such together sulfuric acid, sulfates, y sulfites.


Combustion—generated by concentrating sunlight gastos generales flammable materials using lenses—experiment performed by Lavosier, c. 1770s

His Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (“Elementary treatise of Chemistry, 1789, translatedinto English through Robert Kerr) is taken into consideration to be ns first contemporary chemical textbook, and presented a unified see of nuevo theories of chemistry, contained uno clear statement of los law of conservation of mass, y denied the existence of phlogiston. Also, Lavoisier clarified ns concept the an element as a simple substance that can not it is in broken abajo by any kind of known an approach of chemistry analysis, and he devised un theory of the formation of chemical compounds representar elements.

In addition, the contained un list of elements, or substances that could not it is in broken abajo further, which consisted of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, mercury, zinc, y sulphur. This perform forms los basis for the modern periodic table of the elements. His list, however, also included light and caloric, i beg your pardon he thought to be cosa substances. While plenty of leading chemistry of los time refuse to think Lavoisier"s new revelations, the Elementary treatise was composed well enough to convince ns younger generation.



Lavoisier"s fundamental contributions come chemistry were un result of a conscious effort to fit all experiments into the framework the a single theory. The established ns consistent use of ns chemical balance, supplied oxygen come overthrow los phlogiston theory, y developed a new system of chemical nomenclature which held that oxygen was vital constituent of all acids (which later turned out to it is in erroneous). Lavoisier also made introductory research on physics chemistry and thermodynamics in joint experiment with Pierre-Simon Laplace, when he used a calorimeter come estimate the heat evolved término unit of carbon dioxide produced, at some point they found ns same proporción for uno flame and animals, denote that animals produced power by a escribe of combustion.

He also made amazing contributions to chemical bonding by stating the básico theory, believing the radicals, which duty as uno single coporación, grupo in a chemical reaction, would certainly combine con oxygen in reactions. He also introduced the possibility the allotropy in chemical facets when he found that diamond is a crystalline type of carbon.

He likewise updated numerous chemical concepts, for los first time the modern concept of elements was laid fuera de systematically; ns three or four aspects of classic chemistry gave method to ns modern system, and Lavoisier worked out reactions in chemistry equations that respect ns conservation of massive (see, for example, los nitrogen cycle).His contributions space considered ns most necessary in advancing los science of chemistry to los level the what had actually been completed in physics y mathematics throughout 18th century.<1>

Contributions come biology

Lavoisier used uno calorimeter to measure warmth production as un result that respiration in a guinea pig. Ns outer shell of the calorimeter was packed with snow, i m sorry melted come maintain a constant temperature the 0 °C roughly an inner covering filled con ice. Ns guinea pig in the center of the chamber created heat i beg your pardon melted the ice. Ns water i m sorry flowed fuera of ns calorimeter to be collected y weighed. One kilogram of melted ice = 80 kcal warm production by ns guinea pig. That concluded, "la respiration est donc une combustion." that is, respiratory gas exchange is a combustion, choose that of uno candle burning.<2>

Law and politics

Lavoisier additionally studied law. That received un law degree y was admitted to the bar, yet never exercised as ns lawyer. He did become interested in French politics, y as uno result, he obtained un position as tax collector in ns Ferme Générale, un tax agriculture company, at the age that 26, wherein he check to present reforms in the French monetary and taxation system in order to help the peasants. When in federal government work, he assisted develop ns metric device to for sure uniformity the weights and measures throughout France.


As one of 28 French taxation collectors and a powerful vergüenza in ns unpopular Ferme Générale, Lavoisier was branded un traitor during the Reign of temor by revolutionists in 1794. He to be tried, convicted, and executed on the same día in Paris, at los age the 51. An very nice to spare his life was cut quick by ns judge: "The Republic has alguna need that geniuses ."

Ironically, Lavoisier was one of the few liberals in his position. One of his actions that may have actually sealed his fate was uno contretemps uno few años earlier with ns young Jean-Paul Marat, who subsequently became a leading revolutionary.

His prestige for scientific research was to express by los mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange that lamented ns beheading by saying: "It take it them only an prompt to reduced off that head, however France might not produce another like it in uno century."

One and a half año following his death, Lavoisier was exonerated by the French government. When his private belongings were ceded to his widow, un brief keep in mind was included, stating: "To los widow that Lavoisier, that was falsely convicted."

About un century delaware his death, uno statue the Lavoisier was put up in Paris. It was later uncovered that ns sculptor had actually not actually duplicated Lavoisier"s head for the statue, however used a spare cabeza of los Marquis de Condorcet, the secretary of the Academy of Sciences throughout Lavoisier"s last years. Lack of money prevent alterations gift made. Ns statue was melted abajo during the Second mundo War y has never been replaced. However, over there is a street in los eighth arrondissement of parís named after him.

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