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Digital Projects, The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry, Portrait Collection, Antoine Lavoisier, 1743-1794

The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry, Portrait Collection, University of Cincinnati
Antoine Lavoisier, 1743-1794

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier was born in 1743 in Paris. Initially trained as a lawyer, he studied chemistry under Guillaume-François Rouelle at the Jardin du Roi. Lavoisier never held an academic position. Independently wealthy as a result of his involvement in the Ferme Générale, a private corporation which collected taxes for the French government, he was able instead to privately pursue a life devoted to scientific research and public service. Starting about 1772, Lavoisier and his collaborators became involved in a series of researches that would lead to a complete revolution in chemical thought. Among the most important of his results were the replacement of the older phlogiston theory of combustion and acidity by his newer oxygen theory and the accompanying caloric theory of states; the explicit replacement of the older concept of a chemical element as an abstract, property-bearing principle by the newer operational concept of an element as an isolatable, simple substance; and the establishment of a systematic, compositionally based chemical nomenclature. His published books include Opuscules physiques et chimiques (1774), Méthode de nomenclature chimique (1783), Traité élémentaire de chimie (1789), and his posthumous two-volume Mémoires de chimie (1803), which was published by his widow after his premature death in 1794 at age 51 after having fallen victim to the French revolution and the guillotine as a result of his involvement in the Ferme Générale.

  • Works about Lavoisier in the Oesper Collections
     
  • Works by Lavoisier in the Oesper Collections

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