isier (lah vwah ZYAY) was one of thebest-known French scientists and was an important government official. His theories ofcombustion, his development of a way to classify the elements and the first modern textbook ofchemistry led to his being known as the father of modern chemistry.
He contributed to much ofthe research in the field of chemistry. He is quoted for saying, Nothing is lost, nothing is created,everything is transformed. Lavoisier was born in Paris, France on Aug. 26, 1743.
When he waseleven years old he attended a college called Mazain. For Lavoisier’s last two years in college hefound a great deal of interest in science. He received an excellent education and developed aninterest in all branches of science, especially chemistry. Abbe Nicolas Louis de Lacaill taughtLavoisier about meteorological observation. On 1763 Lavoisier received his bachelor’s degree andon 1764 a licentiate which allowed him to practice his profession. In his spare time he studiedbooks all about science. His 1st paper was written about gypsum, also known by hydrated calciumsulfate.
He described its chemical and physical properties. He was elected to the French Academyof Sciences in 1768. On 1771 he married Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze. She helped Lavoisier bydrawing diagrams for his scientific works and translating English notation for him. Unlike earlierchemists, Lavoisier paid particular attention to the weight of the ingredients involved in chemicalreactions and of the products that resulted. He carefully measured the weights of the reactants andproducts.
He noted that the weight of the air in which combustion occurred decreases. He foundthat when the burning material combined with the air somehow and that the air weighed less.Lavoisier found that the weight of the products of combustion equals the weight of the reactingingredients. This observation became known as the law of conservation of mass (or matter). Herepeated many of the experiments of earlier chemists but interpreted the results far differently. On1772 he was studying on combustion, which he is most known for in science. Lavoisier presentedan important memoir on conversion of water into earth evaporation.
This brought him to theOxygen Theory of Combustion. On 1774 Lavoisier carried out experiments on calcinations of tinand lead and confirmed the increase of weight of metals on calcinations from combustion of air.By demonstrating the nature of combustion, he disproved the phlogiston theory.
The phlogistontheory stated that all flammable materials contained a substance called phlogiston. According tothis theory, materials gave off phlogiston as they burned. Air was necessary for combustionbecause it absorbed the phlogiston that was released. This was thought at the time to be a fact.Lavoisier showed this theory to be false and made oxygen the reason that things burned, notphlogiston. Lavoisier burned textbooks that supported the theory. He was trying to make a pointthat the phlogiston theory was invalid and oxygen is the new answer to combustion.
He laid theframework for understanding chemical reactions as combinations of elements to form newmaterials, or products. He concluded that combustion results from the rapid chemical union of aflammable material with a newly discovered gas, which he named oxygen, previously known as“dephilogisticated air.” The word “oxygen” means acid producer. Lavoisier and others had foundthat oxygen is a part of several acids.
Lavoisier incorrectly reasoned that oxygen is needed tomake all acids. He developed endings of the degree of oxygen by adding certain ending such as -icor -ous. With French astronomer and mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace, Lavoisier conductedexperiments on the respiration in animals. Their studies showed a similarity between ordinarychemical reactions and the processes that happen in living organisms. These experiments were thebasis for the science now known as biochemistry. Lavoisier also helped to develop a system fornaming chemical substances based on their composition. This system is still in use.
He made thevery first modern chemistry text named Trait elmentaire de chimie (Elements of Chemistry).Many consider it the first textbook on modern chemistry. Here for the first time the elements arelaid out systematically. His list included many compounds, which were thought to be elements atthe time. Lavoisier worked out reactions in chemical equations that respect the conservation ofmass. As a government official, Lavoisier was successful in creating agricultural reform, servingas a tax collection official, and overseeing the government’s manufacture of gunpowder.
On 1775he was made