A Tax-Collecting Scientist Born into a well-to-do Parisian family in 1743, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier received a fine education and, like his father, earned a degree in law. Sidelights on the American Revolution. By 1777, Lavoisier was ready to propose a new theory of combustion that excluded phlogiston. Neither his head nor his body has ever been found. The hated wall, which led to higher taxes for ordinary Parisians, was built in 1787, so it was still fresh in the minds of the revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille two years later.
The Farm had been the object of violent criticism and invective, mostly by ill-informed and provoked by disgruntled employees who urged that the fortunes which they alleged had been acquired by the Farmers General should be disgorged and confiscated for the benefit of the nation. Proponents of the theory even suggested that phlogiston might have a negative weight. By this time his passion for science had already eclipsed his interest in law, and he participated in the expeditions of geologist Jean-Étienne Guettard 1715—1786 to prepare the first mineralogical atlas of France. Combustion and the Attack on Phlogiston In experiments with phosphorus and sulfur, both of which burned readily, Lavoisier showed that they gained weight by combining with air. Already with his first published experiments — in 1764 he demonstrated that when he carefully heated gypsum and collected and weighed the released water, that this water was exactly the amount that was previously added to get the right consistence of gypsum — he could found a fundamental chemical principle that is valid until today. .
Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania His giving new names to substances—most of which are still used today—was an important means of forwarding the Chemical Revolution, because these terms expressed the theory behind them. Over the next 15 years, he would show that oxygen was a key ingredient in both air and water. This air was somehow better than normal air. He also showed that the mass of products in a reaction are equal to the mass of the reactants. For example, he believed that acidity was caused by the presence of oxygen in a compound. There was no telling how many new elements chemists might discover if they could release it from ores. Facsimile reprint of original 1790 Kerr translation.
He helped construct the metric system, put together the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. In 1769, at the age of 26 and around the time he was elected to the Academy of Sciences, Lavoisier bought a share in the Ferme Générale, a tax farming financial company which advanced the estimated tax revenue to the royal government. Lavoisier also did early research in physical chemistry and thermodynamics in joint experiments with. Ironically, considering his opposition to phlogiston see , among these substances was caloric, the unweighable substance of heat, and possibly light, that caused other substances to expand when it was added to them. He also married a young, beautiful 13-year-old girl named Marie-Anne, who translated from English for him and illustrated his books. With lead calx, he was able to capture a large amount of air that was liberated when the calx was heated.
He underlined the general application of conservation of mass by explaining the nitrogen cycle clearly and elegantly. Lavoisier is most noted for his discovery of the role oxygen plays in combustion. Antoine Lavoisier spent much of his life working to make chemistry a more known and prominent science, and make discoveries that would advance the field. From this, Lavoisier and Laplace concluded that respiration was similar to slow combustion. He also discovered that diamond is a crystalline form of carbon.
Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry. To help establish his new oxygen theory, Lavoisier and his principal French followers published a book on chemical nomenclature that helped establish a new and clearer language for chemistry. When he informed Lavoisier of his discovery, Lavoisier repeated the experiment with mercury and other metal oxides. Further Reading The best source for a study of Lavoisier is the translation of his Traité elémentaire de chimie, printed as Elements of Chemistry with an introduction by Douglas McKie, in 1965. He devoted several hours every day and one full day a week to experiments in his laboratory. Other members of the committee including the well-known mathematicians Pierre-Simon Laplace and Adrien-Marie Legendre. He burnt phosphorus and sulfur in air, and proved that the products weighed more than he original.
This became known as the Law of Conservation of Mass and is one of the most important and basic laws of modern chemistry and physics. Despite his eminence and his services to science and France, he came under attack as a former farmer-general of taxes and was guillotined in 1794. And that I am wholly unqualified to rate this book. So too was manufacturing excluded from expanding onto American soil. He also introduced the possibility of allotropy in chemical elements when he discovered that diamond is a crystalline form of carbon. In 1777, Lavoisier carried out extensive experiments involving sulfur and found that it could not be broken down into any simpler substances.
Lavoisier worked on combustion over the next fifteen years and his work ultimately disproved the phlogiston theory of combustion. He is perhaps best known for his discovery of the role that oxygen plays in combustion, his statement of the conservation of matter in chemical reactions, his clarification of the difference between elements and compounds molecules , and his part in the development of the modern system of chemical nomenclature. This was when his theory of oxygen playing a fundamental role in breathing was first presented. He used the results of other scientists freely, often without acknowledging their work. Lavoisier believed in the radical theory, believing that radicals, which function as a single group in a chemical reaction, would combine with oxygen in reactions.
To see the full oxygen story, select to go to pbs. And when he wrote this he planned to blow more stuff up. In his last two years 1760-1761 at the college his scientific interests were aroused. Lavoisier is called the Father of Modern Chemistry for his many accomplishments in that field. In 1800, Du Pont immigrated to America where his son Eleuthère Irénée, a protégé of Lavoisier, set up a gunpowder factory in Wilmington, Delaware. Lavoisier investigated the composition of water and air, which at the time were considered elements.