Traveling with the Atom

Allegheny College

(compiled by Dr.Glen E. Rodgers)


Magnifying or "Burning" Glass Jacques Louis David's 1788 portrait of Lavoisier and his wife, Marie-Anne The Great Balance

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier
French Chemist
(1743 - 1794)
Contribution to the Development of the Atomic Concept
Antoine Lavoisier placed a large emphasis on the construction of accurate balances.  Using these balances he measured the masses of reactants and products before and after a reaction.  He formulated the Law of Conservation of Mass.  He maintained that Joseph Priestley's "dephlogisticated air" was actually an element that he called oxygen (for "acid-producer").  He believed that he should be credited with the discovery of oxygen.  He is responsible for naming oxygen ("acid-producer") and hydrogen ("water producer").  The former leads to the terms "oxidation" and "oxide" for the reaction with oxygen and the product of such a reaction, respectively.

Web Sources of Biographical Information
Panopticon Lavoisier
A Chronology of Lavoisier's Life
Chemical Revolutionary Executed!
Phlogiston Debunker Beheaded
(interview with Marie-Anne Pirette Lavoisier)

Selected Biographical Books, Sections of Books, and Articles
Full biographical information on Sacks' book Uncle Tungsten pp 106 - 112
Full biographical information in Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2nd Ed. pp 222 - 226
Elements of Chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier The Cautionary Scientists, Kenneth S. Davis, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York (out of print)

Some Scientific/Historical Traveling Sites
A Reconstruction of Lavoisier's Laboratory Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris, 292 rue Saint-Martin, Paris
The Conciergerie* where Lavoisier awaited the guillotine.  There is a small exhibit related to Lavoisier and others who lost their lives in the French Revolution On the Seine River near the Pont Au Change, Paris
Replica of Lavoisier's Laboratory  Deutsches Museum*, Munich Germany 
Lavoisier's Lab and Plaque.  Lavoisier's laboratory was at Le Petit Arsenal, which was described as being at the end of Rue de la Cerisaie A plaque is located on the corner of Boulevard Bourdon and Rue Bassompierre, Paris, France
Jacques David's portrait of the Lavoisiers(4) Metropolitan Museum of Art, 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)
(4) Taken from  America's Scientific Treasures, A Travel Companion, Paul S. Cohen and Brenda H. Cohen, American Chemical Society, Washington (1998).

Link to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Site on Antoine Lavoisier.
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