Fire, Water, and Air: The Story of Antoine Lavoisier

Overview

Antoine Lavoisier was born into a wealthy French family in the eighteenth century, and he planned to become lawyer, like his father. But his curiosity led him to study science, and eventually, he chose to pursue chemistry as his career. Applying his keen intellect and a devotion to experimentation and balance, Lavoisier helped revolutionize chemistry, disproving old theories and rewriting the language of chemistry to make it clearer and more accessible.

Lavoisier led a happy ...

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Overview

Antoine Lavoisier was born into a wealthy French family in the eighteenth century, and he planned to become lawyer, like his father. But his curiosity led him to study science, and eventually, he chose to pursue chemistry as his career. Applying his keen intellect and a devotion to experimentation and balance, Lavoisier helped revolutionize chemistry, disproving old theories and rewriting the language of chemistry to make it clearer and more accessible.

Lavoisier led a happy life, spending time in his tab, with friends such as Benjamin Franklin and his beloved wife Marie. But in 1789, Lavoisier got caught up in the chaos of the French Revolution. Though he had been an advocate for peasant rights and fairer laws, suspicion and public ire were brought against him by old rivals, and before long, Lavoisier was fighting for his very life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
From the series "Profiles in Science," this biography explores the life of the famous 18th century chemist who aspired to be a public servant, but ended his life on the guillotine during the French Revolution. Lavoisier's accomplishments were many, and not only in chemistry: he became an inspector of gunpowder, started an experimental farm, advocated cleaner hospitals and prisons, and, as a "tax farmer," planned elaborate customs walls to enclose Paris. In his chosen field, Lavoisier renamed oxygen and several other elements, studied combustion, revised the nomenclature for elements and compounds, and published a revolutionary chemistry textbook based on his findings. On top of all this, he had a happy marriage with an amazing young woman who was able to help him in his work. The story of his downfall is especially poignant. Unfortunately, Baxter's writing is stiff and awkward, sometimes repetitious; young adults interested in chemistry could surely handle a more sophisticated style. French apparently presents an obstacle for the author since many names are misspelled— Mazarin, Quatre, Conciergerie, and Madeleine, to name a few. History buffs will spot mistakes; for example, Louis XV was not the son of Louis XIV, nor was Louis XVI the son of Louis XV. The illustrations, while abundant and interesting, are often unattractively juxtaposed on the pages, sometimes without attribution of artist or date. This book was reviewed from an uncorrected proof; one can only hope that readers of the final copies will find these shortcomings remedied. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599350875
  • Publisher: Morgan Reynolds Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Series: Profiles in Science Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 545,202
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Early Life 11

Chapter 2 Early Science 21

Chapter 3 Water, Fire, and Air 35

Chapter 4 The Oxygen Theory 50

Chapter 5 Government Work 63

Chapter 6 Attack on Phlogiston 78

Chapter 7 The Language of Chemistry 91

Chapter 8 The French Revolution 106

Chapter 9 Legacy 123

Timeline 133

Sources 135

Bibliography 141

Web sites 142

Index 143

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