Henri Braconnot, French chemist

Henri Braconnot, French chemist

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Credit: CCI ARCHIVES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Henri Braconnot (1780-1855), French chemist and pharmacist. At 13 Braconnot undertook a two year apprenticeship in a pharmacy in Nancy. As well as pharmacology he also studied chemistry and botany. He continued his education in Strasbourg and Paris, before returning to Nancy in 1802 to become the chairman of the botanical garden. His research lead to the discovery of numerous plant compounds, including acids and sugars, as well as discovering chitin, the earliest known polysaccharide, in mushrooms. Braconnot was also the first chemist to create a polymer when he added nitric acid to wood or cotton to obtain xyloidine.

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