Today In Fact, 26 August

The father of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier was born today 1743. He was always going to be an extraordinary man. Born into the French gentry of the Ancien Regime, Lavoisier named oxygen, discovering its role in combustion. His research disproved the phlogiston theory of combustion which had dominated chemistry for a century. He made seminal contributions to the creation of the metric system and predicted the discovery of silicon. He proved that although matter may change its shape and form, its mass remains the same, a discovery that laid the groundwork for Einstein’s theoretical revolution in science.

Lavoisier was disinterested in politics and made his living from tax farming, an oppressive system of taxation, popular reaction against which, contributed to the French revolution. He would lose his head for that but retained, till the end his devout Catholic faith.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer ( )