ALPHABETICAL BRAIN VOCABULARY
100 MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTISTS
#8 ANTOINE LAVOISIER
Life Dates: 1743-1794
Antoine Lavoisier was a French nobleman and chemist who was central to the 18th-century chemical revolution and who had a big influence on both the history of chemistry and the history of biology.
Lavoisier is widely considered in popular literature as the Father of Modern Chemistry. This label, however, is more a product of Lavoisier's eminent skill as a self-promoter and underplays his dependence on the instruments, experiments, and ideas of other chemists.
It is generally accepted that his great accomplishments in chemistry largely stem from his changing the science from a qualitative to a quantitative one.
Lavoisier is most noted for his discovery of the role that oxygen plays in combustion.
He recognized and named oxygen in 1778 and hydrogen in 1783 and opposed the phlogiston theory.
In addition, Lavoisier helped construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature.
He predicted the existence of silicon and was also the first to establish that sulfur was an element in 1777 rather than a compound.
Lavoisier discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same.
Lavoisier was a powerful member of a number of aristocratic councils, and an administrator of the Ferme Générale. The Ferme générale was one of the most hated components of the Ancien Régime because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents.
All of his political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research.
At the height of the French Revolution, he was accused by Jean-Paul Marat of selling adulterated tobacco and of other crimes, and was eventually guillotined a year after Marat's death.
SOURCES = The Scientific 100 by John Simmons, Britannica Encyclopedia, and Wikipedia.
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