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Antoine Lavoisier

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Antoine Lavoisier is known as the "Father of Modern Chemistry". He a French chemist who made significant discoveries throughout his short-lived career in the 18th century. He is known for debunking false theories, discovering and predicting different elements, and writing chemistry textbooks. However, he was unfortunate enough to live during the period of the French Revolution and his works were cut short due to false accusations. To this day, the discoveries he made are greatly valued and his works have dented the history books.

Early Life and Education

Antoine Lavoisier started attending the University of Paris at the age of eleven

Antoine Lavoisier was born in Paris to a noble family in 1743. At the age of eleven, Lavoisier began attending the University of Paris, also known as Collège Mazarin. When he was on the verge of ending his schooling in 1760, he became interested in scientific studies. He ended up studying chemistry, botany, astronomy, and mathematics. Lavoisier earned a bachelor's degree in 1763 and a licentiate in 1764 after he entered the school of law. He received a law degree to become a lawyer at a bar association, however, he never practiced to become a lawyer and instead, he just continued to study scientific content. [1]

Accomplishments

Antoine Lavoisier uncovered many truths about combustion

After everything he has done for chemistry, many regard him as the "Father of Chemistry." In the mid 18th century, many chemists wondered what happened when a substance was burned. Many believed that phlogiston came from the burnt substance and into the air during combustion. Lavoisier experimented with sulfur and phosphorus and discovered that they both gained weight during the combustion. He also tried burning different kinds of calces, or metallic oxides, soon finding that phlogiston never existed in the first place. He worked with Joseph Priestly and together, they discovered oxygen. Lavoisier name the air that we breathe "oxygen," which means acid generator in Greek and the element would end up playing a huge role in Lavoisier's combustion theory. As the years progressed he kept on making new discoveries relating to his theory of combustion. He started to propose his theory to the world and he went to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris and in 1783, Lavoisier went full force to make his theory known. Along with the fact that he debunked the theory of phlogiston, Lavoisier added uncovered much more to combustion. [2]

Though his combustion theory may have impacted chemistry the most out of his contributions, he had several other contributions to chemistry to make himself a legend. He established mass conservation in chemical reactions and it wasn't until his doings the the law of conservation of mass became official. Today, in France, the law of conservation of mass is taught as Lavoisier's Law. In 1783, Lavoisier paired up with Pierre-Simon Laplace that water is a compound, and not an element. In the early 1770s, Lavoisier discovered the element, sulfur. In around the same period, he discovered that diamond is a form of carbon. He discovered this by burning a diamond and charcoal with sun rays. He noticed that neither the diamond nor the charcoal produced any water and, instead, produced the same amount of carbon. This particular discovery led to a branch of different experiments relating to allotropy in chemical elements. These experiments would allow Lavoisier to prove that sulfur was an element, not a compound. About a decade later, he made claims that silica was an oxide of a chemical element, predicting the element Silicon. After experiencing all the work and experimenting he had been through, he decided to write the first modern chemistry textbook. In 1789, he published the Elementary Treatise of Chemistry. The book contained information about the combustion theory and the explanations of many chemical reactions. [3]

Death

In 1794, Antoine was publicly executed by the guillotine

Antoine Lavoisier became rivals with a physician and scientist Jean-Paul Marat. As a member of the Academy of Sciences in Paris, Antoine publicly embarrassed Marat when he tried to become a member of the Academy of Sciences. During the French Revolution, Marat was able to climb to a high position of power and he aimed to avenge himself for how Lavoisier humiliated him. He also attempted to get rid of the Academy of Sciences for rejecting his application. Marat was able to get the public and government on his side against Lavoisier. Marat died before he got a chance to taste revenge and as a result, Lavoisier was arrested by Marat's friends. Antoine Lavoisier was falsley accused of wrong doings in his past and he was publicly executed by the guillotine in 1794 at the age of fifty. [4]

Video

An information video on how Antoine Lavoisier was able to put the puzzle pieces together.

References

  1. Antoine Lavoisier Wikipedia. Accessed May 18th, 2018. Author Unknown.
  2. The Chemical Revolution of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier ACS. Accessed May 18th, 2018. Author Unknown.
  3. Anirudh 10 Major Contributions of Antoine Lavoisier Leonardo Newtonic. Accessed May 18th, 2018.
  4. Inglis-Arkell, Esther The Scientific Feud that Ended in Execution io9. Accessed May 18th, 2018.