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Antoine Lavoisier: biography of this chemistry researcher

Antoine Lavoisier: biography of this chemistry researcher

May 5, 2024

Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) was a French scientist known as the father of modern chemistry. Through his experiments this discipline was first considered an exact science. In addition, the works of Lavoisier allowed us to know some vital mechanisms on the activity of the matter and the chemical elements.

We'll see now a biography of Antoine Lavoisier and an explanation of his main scientific contributions .

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Antoine Lavoisier: biography of the father of modern chemistry

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, better known as Antoine Lavoisier, was born in Paris on August 26, 1743. He grew up in a middle-class family under the care of his aunt, due to the early death of his mother.

From 1754 to 1761, Lavoisier studied humanities and sciences at the Mazarin College, under the tutelage of the astronomer and mathematician Abbe La Caille, one of the first who had measured the meridian's arc. Later I studied chemistry and botany, as well as law .

As a result of the latter, he was admitted to the Order of Barristers, an honorary organization that promotes instruction in law. However, Lavoisier did not dedicate himself to this exercise but rather He leaned for scientific research , with which he was admitted to the Academy of Sciences of Paris in the year of 1768, at the age of 25 years.

A year later he participated in the development of the first geological map of France and in the same context he continued carrying out multidisciplinary tasks. In 1771 he married Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze, who was quickly trained in the scientific context of Lavoisier, and later edited and published the memoirs of her husband. Lavoisier died in the guillotine of the French Revolution on May 8, 1794.

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5 main scientific contributions

Like other scientists of his generation, Antoine Lavoisier trained as an expert in very diverse areas. For the same contributed not only to modern chemistry and science but also to the humanities and letters .

However, he is most known for having been the first scientist to perform the first quantitative experiments in chemistry, which earned this discipline his immersion in the exact sciences. Because of this, Lavoisier is recognized as a pioneer in stoichiometry (the calculation of the properties of matter in chemical reactions).

Some of his most important experiments they are about the nature of combustion, the role of oxygen in the oxidation of metal, the role of oxygen in the respiration of animals and plants, and the mechanism of alcoholic fermentation. In broad strokes we will see below some of the main contributions of Lavoisier to chemistry.

1. Law of conservation of matter

Lavoisier wanted to study all the substances involved in the reactions he studied. Through multiple experiments, he concluded that during chemical reactions, matter is not destroyed. He was thus one of the main defenders of the laws of conversation of the matter. Put another way, he managed to prove that in a chemical reaction, the amount of material does not change, in any case its status is modified .

2. The combustion

Perhaps the most recognized scientific contribution of Lavoisier is about the nature of combustion. Describe this as the result of the combination of oxygen with another substance. Thus, he developed a theory of oxygen and its role in combustion; what is finally constituted as an experimental chemical theory about respiration and calcination .

This theory represented a challenge for the knowledge of the moment, derived from the theory of phlogiston, which sustained the loss of mass after combustion.

3. Oxygen

Lavoisier said that the air, necessary for combustion, is also a source of acidity. The particle responsible for this is called oxygen, which in Greek means "sharp", meaning that the sharp taste of the acids came from that particle.

As well showed that heat in animals is caused mainly by the combustion of carbon through oxygen , and that during physical activity, oxygen consumption increases, which produces more heat. On the other hand, he also maintained that air is a mixture of gases, where elements such as nitrogen and oxygen are mainly found

4. The H2O

On the other hand, he discovered that what until then was known as "flammable air", which I call "hydrogen" (by the Greek "water-forming"), could produce water when combined with oxygen. The latter based on the previous work of another scientist named Priestley. So, it is attributed to Lavoisier have researched deeply and for the first time the composition of water and air .

5. The elements and their nomenclature

He developed the concept of "element" arguing that it is simple chemical substances, that is, substances that can not be broken down into simpler ones. From this he elaborated a series of proposals on the composition of complex compounds that arise from the reactions between elements.

For this moment there was no rational nomenclature about the elements that make up nature . Until then, theories used to focus on earth, water, air and fire. From the study of Lavoisier, along with other French chemists, the Academy of Sciences accepted the existence of 55 simple substances which he called "chemical elements". This facilitated the communication between the chemists of the time, and introduced for the first time concepts like "sulfuric acid" and "sulfates".

Outstanding works

Some of the main works of Antoine Lavoisier are About combustion in general Y Memories on combustion, both from 1777; General considerations about the nature of acids, of 1778, Reflections of phlogiston, of 1787, and Chemical Nomenclature Method of 1787.

Bibliographic references:

  • Antoine Lavoisier (2016). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 19, 2018. Available at //
  • Donovan, A. (2018). Antoine Lavoisier. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved October 19, 2018. Available at //

Antoine Lavoisier Biography (May 2024).

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