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Michel Eugene Chevreul, French chemist

Michel Eugene Chevreul, French chemist

C006/6173

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ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Michel Eugene Chevreul (1786-1889), French chemist. Chevreul was born at Angers and at the age of 17 went to study in Paris under Vauquelin. In 1813 he was appointed professor of chemistry at the Lycee Charlemagne. After this he became director of the Gobelins tapestry works where he did research into colour combination and contrasts. Customers complained of the inconstant colour of some dyes, this Chevreul found was the perceived colour of a yarn being affected by the colour of surrounding yarns. Chevreul also did research into animal fats and soaps, he discovered the compositions of stearin and olein and isolated stearic and oleic acids. This work was of considerable use to candle manufacturers. In the later part of his very long life he started studying the ageing process, now known as gerontology. Chevreul died at the age of 102.

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