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Antoine Laurent Lavoisier

Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent (1743–94), French scientist, foremost in the establishment of modern chemistry. He showed that when substances burned, they combined with a component in the air (1772). In 1779 he named this substance oxygen (from Greek oxys, “acid”), believing it was a component of all acids. He discredited the phlogiston theory of combustion, proposed a new chemical nomenclature (1787), and published the epoch-making Elementary Treatise of Chemistry (1789). In the years before his death on the guillotine, he also investigated the chemistry of respiration, demonstrating its analogy with combustion.

See also: Chemistry.

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