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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Jean Baptiste van Helmont (1579-1644), Belgian doctor & chemist. Van Helmont's work represented a transition from alchemy to experimental chemistry. He was the first to use the word "gas" (from the Greek chaos). He identified carbon dioxide and monoxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. He was the first to use the boiling and freezing points of water as standards for temperature. In medicine, he employed remedies specific to the disease, the affected organ, and the causative agent. He showed that acid is the digestive agent in the stomach. He realised that matter is indestructible and that metals dissolved in acid can be recovered. He held that matter is a combination of air & water.
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