The New Student's Reference Work/Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
Lavoisier (lȧ′vwä′zyā′), Antoine Laurent, the founder or modern chemistry, was born at Paris, Aug. 26, 1743. He devoted himself particularly to the study of chemistry, and was made an academician. To obtain means to carry on his researches, he became farmer-general (tax-gatherer) in 1769. While a director of the government powder-mills, in 1776, he discovered a way of improving the quality of the powder, and in 1791 was made a commissioner of the treasury. His most important contribution to science was the explanation of combustion and of the part that oxygen plays in the composition of substances. The popular hatred of farmers of taxes during the reign of terror was not tempered by his services to science and learning, and he died by the guillotine on May 8, 1794. His principal work is Traitè Elementaire de Chimie.