Antoine Lavoisier (26 August 1743 – 8 May 1794)

Antoine Lavoisier (known as Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier before the French revolution) was a French chemist widely considered as the father of modern quantitative chemistry. He was among the first scientists to introduce the concept of chemical elements and was the first to isolate the elements Oxygen (oxygene: promotes oxidation) and Hydrogen (hydrogene: promotes the formation of water).

Lavoisier worked at a tax farming financial company during the day. At night, he and his wife (Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze) would conduct chemistry experiments in their at-home chemistry lab. Being wealthy, Lavoisier offered himself a state-of-art lab that included the most accurate weight measuring tools. It was estimated that Lavoisier’s lab was the most advanced chemistry lab in the world at that time. Lavoisier’s wife had an essential role in Lavoisier’s success. She translated English documents for him, assisted him in the laboratory, created sketches and edited his publications.

Lavoisier’s “Traité Élémentaire de Chimie” is considered to be the first modern chemistry textbook. Lavoisier was guillotined by his own people on 8 May 1794 in Paris.

Source: Daumas, M. (1955). Lavoisier, théoricien et expérimentateur. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife         Traité élémentaire de chimie

Categories: Chemistry, History