ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Jean Antoine Claude, comte Chaptal de Chanteloup (1756-1832), French chemist and statesman. Chaptal was born in Lozere, the son of an apothecary. He studied chemistry at Montpellier then settled at Paris before returning to Montpellier to take the chair of chemistry in the school of medicine there. During the revolution he managed a saltpetre works (an element of gunpowder), and after the 1799 coup joined the government as a councillor of state then Minister of the Interior. In this capacity he established a chemical factory near Paris, a school of arts and a society of industries. He is perhaps best known for introducing the metric system. He wrote many popular books on chemistry and attempted to apply the latest discoveries in chemistry to industry and agriculture alike. After the restoration of the monarchy Chaptal retired into private life.
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