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December 27, 1941

Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier

JAMA. 1941;117(26):2293. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820520089043

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Lavoisier is best known as "the father of modern chemistry," but he was one of the leading men in his day for other reasons as well. He was formally educated for the law but had more interest in science, especially geology, water supplies and water, with the result that he was elected member of the Academy of Science at the age of 25. In his work with water and gypsum he weighed his materials with the greatest care, a new quantitative procedure that in his hands led to the overthrow of the centuries old phlogiston dogma of combustion and to the introduction of quantitative methods in chemistry, by means of which he discovered the composition of the air and its relation to life. His investigations laid the foundations of chemical physiology. He changed completely chemical thought and nomenclature. We owe the names oxygen and hydrogen to him. But in addition

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