Antoine Laurent Lavoisier

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Antoine Laurent LavoisierBy Michael OsgoodNovember 1, 1998First SemesterChemistry Antoine Laurent Lavoisier was a French chemist and is considered to be the father of modern chemistry. He was the first person to develop a new theory about combustion, which in turn eliminated the old phlogistic doctrine. His studies about oxidation and respiration showed that oxygen is a key element in all combustion processes, and that oxidation and respiration reactions are quite similar. He clarified the differences between compounds and the elements that form them. He was also one of the inventors of chemical nomenclature. Furthermore, he was also one of the first to show that certain amounts of chemicals had to react with certain amounts of other chemicals to get a specific amount of products. He forever changed the world of chemistry and the basis of all modern scientific works. Antoine Lavoisier was born in Paris on August 26, 1743. His father, who was a parliamentary counsel with a lot of money, gave him a very good education at the Coll ge Mazarin. There he became well versed in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and botany. When he was only 23 years old he received a gold medal from the Academy of Sciences for an essay describing the best way to light up a large town. Lavoisier gained very high stature in France s Academy of Sciences. In 1785 he became the director of the academy, and in 1791 he became the chief treasurer. Lavoisier carefully studied the four main elements, earth, water, air, and fire. He started investigating the role that air plays in combustion, specifically oxygen in the air. He conducted an experiment using a small amount of liquid mercury in a container. He measured the mass of the mercury and noted it down. Then he began to heat the mercury in a furnace. Four days later, little specs of a red powder had appeared on the surface of the mercury. He still kept the mercury in the furnace for another eight days. On the eighth day he saw that almost all of the mercury was now this reddish powder. He then weighed the powder and it weighed the same as the liquid mercury did in the beginning. He then deduced that during a chemical reaction no mass is lost even though the states of matter are changed.In 1777, when scientists in Europe began to learn that there are many different elements in the Earth s atmosphere, he assigned to the dephlogisticated air the name oxygen. He named it oxygen because the word means acid producer . He guessed the mi of oxygen with simple non-metallic compounds formed acids. He then explained that combustion was the end product of oxygen mixed with a flammable substance. Six years later he reported to the Academy that he had found that when you mix hydrogen with oxygen in a two-to-one ratio it formed water. He then calculated the different masses of carbon dioxide and water.   In 1786 he completely erased the phlogistic theory from existence with a thorough, well-written report that he presented to the Academy. Even though many scientists thought he was way out of his league when he began to study the field of chemistry, now those scientists backed up his findings with their own. In 1787 they published the M thode de nomenclature chimique, which classified and renamed all of the known elements and compounds. His Annales de chimie was purely devoted to this new system of chemistry. It helped his ideas become more and more accepted. Years later, the phlogistic theory was completely removed from use and Lavoisier s ideas were adopted all over Europe and the rest of the world.He said that any substance that cannot be broken apart would be named substance simples, or in other words an element. He was the very first person to say that in a chemical reaction, it doesn t matter what reactants you use, or what products you get, the mass of the reactants will always equal the mass of the

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