Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier

Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier

Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier

Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier

Excerpt

This book represents an attempt to fuse two images, to unite in one person the elements which made Lavoisier such a striking figure. Even without his science, Lavoisier was an outstanding man of his time; with it, he was one of the most versatile men of all time. Scientists see his place in science, historians, his place in history. A successful fusion of the two is not a simple task for either alone.

Any book written around Lavoisier must, perforce, draw heavily on the authoritative biography written in the French by Grimaux. This book is no exception. But any book which stops there can claim credit for being little more than a translation. Grimaux on the life of Lavoisier is authoritative, but Grimaux on the science of Lavoisier falls short. He passes lightly over the great controversies which arose concerning Lavoisier's scientific work, over the difficulties which Lavoisier encountered in bringing his buds to fruit, over the charges of unethical conduct, over the weaknesses of his man.

Lavoisier has been charged with getting his ideas for the great revolution in science from Black, Priestley, Cavendish and others. That he used the discoveries of these men cannot be denied. That he got the germ of his great theory from them can now be denied with real assurance, and is denied by the painstaking investigations of A. N. Meldrum, published in 1930. These findings should destroy the last shred of suspicion that Lavoisier's dream of a revolution in science originated anywhere but in his own head.

Douglas McKie in his Antoine Lavoisier (1935), concurs in these findings and confers the title of "Father of Modern Chem-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.