JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Portrait of the French chemist Jean Antoine Claude Chaptal (1756-1832). Chaptal studied medicine but then became interested in chemistry. He gained a professorship in the subject at Montpellier University in 1777. He applied chemistry to industry and established the first plant in France for the commercial production of sulphuric acid. After the French Revolution broke out he was arrested but later released and put in charge of a plant manufacturing gunpowder. Under Napoleon Chaptal was placed in charge of education and he supervised the introduction of the metric system. His most important book, "Chemistry Applied to the Arts" was devoted to industrial chemistry.
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