Chemistry is an historical discipline in the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

 

Le laboratoire de chimie et le droguier du Roy en 1676 - Gravure de Sébastien Leclerc

Le laboratoire de chimie et le droguier du Roy en 1676 - Gravure de Sébastien Leclerc

Credits
© MNHN

 The chemistry laboratory and medicinal drugs collection of the king in 1676. (Sébastien Leclerc )

Chemistry in  the « Jardin Royal des Plantes Médicinales »  (Royal garden for medicinal plants)

Since the creation of  « Jardin Royal des plantes Médicinales » in 1626, chemistry was taught along with botany and anatomy. The subject was taught by a professor with demonstrations that was carried out by a demonstrator. Many of these demonstrators marked the history of chemistry and often  strived to counter the teachings of the professor through their experiences.

In 1647, chemistry teaching was handed over to the Scottish physician alchemist William Davisson: This is was the first free chemistry class  taught to the public in France. Davisson’s successors transformed slowly the laboratory in the Royal garden into one of the highly animated chemistry laboratories of the 18th century. Among them, Guillaume-François Rouelle, also called Rouelle l’ainé was one of the important figures of his time: most of the great chemists belonging to the pre-revolution era such as Bayen, Bucquet, Darcet, Marcquer and especially Lavoisier were formed in his laboratory. Moreover, philosophers Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau  too had followed  Rouelle’s class  in the Gardens and information about these classes are known to us through the notes of Diderot. Later, Fourcroy who  was a “chimiste et conventionnel” taught  Lavoisier’s new chemistry, of which he was a strong proponent in the Royal garden and  in the Museum after 1793 .

Edit du roy

Édit du Roy

Credits
© MNHN
Le jardin du Roy - Gravure de F. Scalberge 1636

Le Jardin du Roy - Gravure de F. Scalberge 1636

Credits
© MNHN

Chemistry in the Museum of Natural History

On 10 juin 1793, the  « jardin de Roy » was renamed « Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle » and chemistry continued to develop with two chairs namely, general chemistry  dedicated to theoretical chemistry and chemical arts dedicated to applications of chemistry.  Later in1850, they were known as «Applied organic chemistry » and « Applied inorganic chemistry » .

Personalities such as Nicolas Vauquelin, Joseph Gay-Lussac, Michel Eugène Chevreul marked both the fields through their work and teachings.  Edmond Frémy, the last professor of inorganic chemistry deserves a special mention. In 1864, period when chemical engineering schools did not exist in France, Fremy created his chemistry school in the Museum that offered free courses and gave greater importance for experiments. He was the one who inaugurated in December 1872, the building situated at 63, rue Buffon where stands the actual chemistry laboratory. Between 1864 to 1892 , after which the school was abolished, more than 1400 students were formed who later became the artists of the chemical industry and university research and the well known  among them are Henir Moissan, first french who was awarded Nobel prize in chemistry (1906), Léon Arnaud, Alexandre Etard, Gabriel Bertrand, Auguste Verneuil, Henri Becquerel, Jacques Curie.

Les cours publics de Chimie par Gay-Lussac puis Frémy

Les cours publics de Chimie par Gay-Lussac puis Frémy

Credits
© MNHN

Chemistry classes for the public by Gay-Lussac and later by Fremy.

Le laboratoire au temps de Frémy (1814-1894)

Le laboratoire au temps de Frémy (1814-1894)

Credits
© MNHN

 

Les cours publics de chimie2.jpg

Les cours publics de chimie par G. Lussac

A short history of chemistry in an animated story

Navigate through four centuries of history(s) of chemistry at the Museum told in a long animated story.

Image
Petite histoire de la chimie

Discover the animated story “A little history of chemistry at the Museum”

Small bottles, big discoveries

They tell the story of chemistry in the magazine “ça m’intereste”, from March 23, 2023

Chair of chemistry

Jardin Royal des Plantes Médicinales

List of professors and demonstrators

Chair n°1 Professor

Chair n°2 Demonstrator

Urbain BAUDINOT
1635-1669

William DAVISSON
1593-1648-1651-1669

Guy Crescent FAGON
1638-1672-1712-1718

Nicaise LE FEBVRE
1610-1652-1660-1669

Suppl.: Simon BOULDUC
1652-1686-1695-1729

Christophe GLASER
1628-1660-1671-1672

Suppl.: Antoine de SAINT YON
1695-1707-1715

Moyse CHARAS
1619-1671-1680-1698

Suppl.: Etienne-François GEOFFROY
1672-1707-1712-1731

Sébastien MATTE
1626-1681-1684-1714

Etienne-François GEOFFROY
1672-1712-1730-1731

Simon BOULDUC
1652-1695-1729

Louis LEMERY
1677-1730-1743

Gilles-François BOULDUC
1675-1729-1742

Louis-Claude BOURDELIN
1696-1743-1771-1777

Guillaume-François ROUELLE
1703-1743-1768-1770

Pierre-Joseph MACQUER
1718-1771-1784

Hilaire-Marin ROUELLE
1718-1768-1779

Antoine François FOURCROY
1755-1784-1809

Antoine Louis BRONGNIART
1742-1779-1804

Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle

List of professors

general chemistry

chemicals arts

Antoine François FOURCROY
1755-1784-1809

Antoine Louis BRONGNIART
1742-1779-1804

André LAUGIER
1770-1810-1832

Louis-Nicolas VAUQUELIN
1763-1804-1830

Joseph Louis GAY-LUSSAC
1778-1832-1850

Michel-Eugène CHEVREUL
1786-1830-1889

Chemistry applied to inorganics bodies 1850

Chemistry applied to organics bodies 1850

Edmond FREMY
1814-1850-1892-1894

Michel-Eugène CHEVREUL
1786-1830-1889

 

Léon-Albert ARNAUD
1853-1890-1915

 

Louis-Jacques SIMON
1867-1919-1925

 

Richard FOSSE
1870-1928-1941-1949

 

Charles SANNIE
1896-1941-1957

 

Charles MENTZER
1910-1958-1967

 

Darius MOLHO
1920-1968-1989-2003

 

Pierre POTIER
1935-1990-1991-2006

Great discoveries in Chemistry at the National Museum of Natural History
1710 First use of solvents to prepare vegetal extracts by Simon Boulduc
1773 Urea isolation by  Hilaire-Marin Rouelle
1797 Discovery of chromium from crocoite (lead chromate) and of glucine (beryllium oxyde) from emerald, by  Nicolas Vauquelin
1810-1823 Research on fatty acids by Chevreul. Isolation of cholesterol from  gallstones (1813) and isolation of the main fatty acids from animal fats: stearic acid,  margaric acid, oleic acid, butyric acid, capric acid and caproic acid. Chevreul determined their composition and explained the process of saponification. He developped from this research an important application : the stearic candle (1834)
1832 First isolation of flavones: luteolin and morin, by Chevreul
1835 Isolation of creatin from meet broth, by Chevreul
1839 Publication of the famous law of simultaneous contrast of colours, by Chevreul
1840 Isolation of palmitic acid from palm oil, by Edmond Frémy
1853 Determination of the nature of ozone, by  Edmond Frémy and Edmond Becquerel
1854 Preparation anhydrous hydrofluoric acid by Edmond Frémy. His work will permit the discovery of fluor by his student Henri Moissan, who will obtain the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906.
1864 Publication a method of classification of colours by Chevreul: The chromatic circles.  His classification and theory of colour contrast influenced the Neo-Impressionism developed by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.
1888 Synthesis of ruby by Auguste Verneuil and Edmond Frémy
Isolation of ouabain by Léon-Albert Arnault and development as cardiotonic drug
1892 Isolation of tariric acid (first acetylenic fatty acid) by  Léon-Albert Arnault
1898 Biochemical preparation of sorbose by Gabriel Bertrand
1907 Development of a gravimetric method for the determination of urea by precipitation as xanthylium salt, by Richard Fosse
1926 Preparation of Solucamphre (camphorsulfonate of diethylenediamine), a cardiotonic medicine, by  Marcel Frèrejacque

 

Published on: 23/01/2018 15:07 - Updated on: 16/05/2024 12:44