Rene Reaumur, French naturalist

Rene Reaumur, French naturalist

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Rene Reaumur (1683-1757), French naturalist and technologist, making his first thermometer in 1731. Reaumur (at left) devised a thermometer which used a mixture of ethanol alcohol and water that expanded up a graduated tube as it was heated. Reaumur devised a complicated scale in order to compensate for inconsistencies in the expansion of the mixture at different temperatures. The thermometer was marked with 80 degrees between the melting and boiling points of water. Reaumur also authored the first comprehensive scientific work on insects Memoires pour servir a l'histoire des insects (1734-42), demonstrated that animal digestion was a chemical not mechanical process, designed an egg incubator and proved that corals are animals.

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