Widely surpassed the ambiguous hypotheses inherited from alchemy

                        Widely credited
as the “father of modern chemistry”, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier was a French chemist
and an important figure within the eighteenth century chemical revolution. He developed a theory of chemical element
reactivity and co-wrote the modern system for the language of chemicals. Antoine has with success undertaken and topped the work of interpretation and rationalization
of the scattered existing data. Thanks to a rigorous
methodology of quantitative measurements that he applied to his experiments,
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier definitively surpassed the ambiguous hypotheses
inherited from alchemy and provided the basic ideas and principles of which
chemistry required most to become a new science. Antoine-Laurent
Lavoisier was a French aristocrat who was important to the 18th century
chemical revolution and who had a large influence on the history of Chemistry.

 

Born in Paris in 1743, Antoine-Lavoisier was directed towards
humanistic and juridical studies by his father, who supported Antoine’s
interests in the natural, experimental, and physicals sciences. He was
overpowered by the charm of chemical experimentation and by the rigor for the
naturalistic classification: soon he devoted himself passionately to chemistry
working in his laboratory long in the furnace. In 1761 he began to take
private courses in chemistry, between 1763 and 1764 he made a naturalistic trip
to France with the scientist Étienne Guettard performing the first scientific
experiments. In 1763 he obtained a law degree from Sorbonne University.
Lavoisier’s professional career took place in the financial and economic fields
however, as a natural philosopher, he had the main field of intellectual
interest in science, and chemistry. In 1768 he entered the
famous Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris and until his death played an
important role in the French scientific community of the time.

 

Lavoisier began working on a process of combustion,
respiration and oxidation of metal oxidization in 1772. His
influential research helped discard the old general theories that dealt with
the illogical combustion principle referred to as phlogiston. He gave modern explanations to these processes. His
ideas regarding the nature of acids, bases and salts were more logical and organized.
Lavoisier introduced a chemical element in its modern sense and demonstrated
how it should be enforced by composing the first modern list of chemical
elements. His revolutionary approach has helped several chemists
understand the fundamental process of science and implement the scientific
method. This turned out to be the turning point in scientific and
industrial chemistry.

 

The Chemical Nomenclature
Method divides substances into components and compounds. Between
the elements they are the oxygen, the hydrogen and the nitrogen, whose classification
is due to Lavoisier, which they take part in the composition of the air and the
water, two of the four “elements” that from the old Greece and during
more than two a thousand years had been conceptualized as simple substances. Sulfur,
phosphorus and metals are also included among the elements, contrary to what
the phlogiston theory established, while phosphoric and sulfuric acids, as well
as many metal oxides that were considered simple, were definitively classified
as compounds.

 

From 1772, speculation about the nature of the four
traditional elements (air, water, earth and fire) led Antoine Lavoisier to
undertake a series of investigations on the role played by air in combustion
reactions. Of the various experiments that he would do to clarify
the question, the first one with transcendental consequences focused on one of
the substances that increased weight in the combustion: tin. After
heating a tightly sealed container containing tin, Lavoisier found that the
weight of the metal had not increased, however that the total weight of the
container and its contents had not changed. Similar experiments with
metals such as mercury and platinum and with other elements such as phosphorus
and sulfur led him to establish a new combustion concept and to accurately
describe the nature of the air. From the previous work of Joseph Priestley , Antoine Lavoisier was able to distinguish
between an “air” that is not combined with fuel after combustion or
nitrogen and another that does, which he called oxygen. The
air, understood as one of the four elements, was not therefore a simple substance,
but a mixture of two gases.

 

The simple and rational expressions used these days by
chemistry and its methodology of nomenclature derive in large part from the
effort developed by Lavoisier and a few of his associates from the hermetic or
ambiguous expressions that constituted the natural residue of a long period of
alchemist dreams and illusions. Antoine Lavoisier organized meetings for this purpose
in his chemical laboratory in Paris. In 1787 the new method of chemical nomenclature
was presented to the Academy of France, and a few years later,
especially after the publication of the elementary treatise on chemistry by Lavoisier
(1789), that instinctive and novel terminology triumphed completely.

 

Lavoisier
also carried out research on fermentation and on animal respiration. From the results obtained after
studying the gas exchange throughout the breathing process, in a series of
pioneering experiments within the field of biochemistry, he concluded that
respiration is a type of oxidation reaction kind of life the combustion of
coal, with which he anticipated the later explanations of the cyclic process of
animal and plant life. For
this work he had the help of another famous French scientist, Pierre Simon Laplace.
As a result of their studies on the heat changes that occur during chemical reactions,
both scientists laid down one of the fundamental principles of thermochemistry. They both discovered that the amount
of heat required to decompose a compound is equal to the amount of heat
released during the formation of the compound from its elements. 

 

The revolution that the work of Antoine Lavoisier brought to chemistry
allowed to establish the investigation of the laws of chemical combinations, as
the French chemist had taught, applying his rigorous methodology of quantitative
measurements and using as a fundamental instrument the balance, but also
measuring volumes, pressures and temperatures. Regardless of the countless
discussions and controversies, his chemistry was able to advance and establish itself
throughout Europe. Lavoisier was and will continue being an important figure in
the world of chemistry. He has had a great impact on chemistry and has helped it become
what it is today. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier is and forever will be universally
known as the father of modern chemistry.

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