ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Louis-Jacques Thenard (1777-1857), French chemist. Thenard was born in a small village in the Aube regioon of France, the son of a peasant. Nonetheless, his father managed to have him educated at Sens and at the age of sixteen Thenard went to Paris to study pharmacy. In 1797, he made his fortune by discovering Thenard's blue, a pigment that could withstand the heat of a furnace in porcelain production. It consisted of the fusion of cobalt oxide and aluminium oxide. Thenard also discovered hydrogen peroxide in 1818. He spent much time collaborating with his friend Joseph Gay-Lussac on the studies of the alkali metals of sodium and potassium. Thenard escaped being tainted by republicanism on the restoration of the monarchy, in 1832 he was made a baron by Louis Philippe and was very influential on science education in France.
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