Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife, commissioned in 1788 from David by his student, [...]
Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife, commissioned in 1788 from David by his student, today at the MMA in New York
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, born August 26, 1743 in Paris and guillotined on May 8, 1794, in Paris, is a French chemist, philosopher and economist, often presented as the father of modern chemistry, who will develop in starting from the bases and concepts he has established and a new requirement for precision offered by the instruments he has developed. He inaugurated the scientific method, both experimental and mathematical, in this area which, unlike mechanics, seemed to have to escape it.
Beyond the discoveries of oxidation, the components of air and water, the state of matter, its contributions to the chemical revolution are at the same time technical, experimental and epistemological. They result from a conscious effort to adapt all experiences within the framework of a simple theory in which, for the first time, the modern notion of element is presented in a systematic way. Lavoisier established the consistent use of chemical equilibrium, used his research on oxygen, whose name he invented, nitrogen and hydrogen to overturn phlogistic theory, developed a new chemical nomenclature which supports, which will prove to be inaccurate, that oxygen is an essential constituent of all acids. Precursor of stoichiometry, he has above all translated reactions into chemical equations which respect the law of conservation of matter, giving it a solid experimental base.
- European science