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Lavoisier and his Last Printed Work: the Memoires de physique et de chimie (1805)

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On the basis of a significant number of unpublished documents, here published for the first time, the article reconstructs the historical and scientific origins of Lavoisier's Memoires de physique et de chimie. Because of the paucity of primary sources available so far, this work has previously received little attention and its 'publication' is commonly attributed to Madame Lavoisier's effort to revive the memory of her husband. In contrast with this image, this article suggests that Madame Lavoisier had only a subsidiary role and that Armand Séguin's contribution to both the editing and the scientific organization of the Memoires needs a historical reassessment. Lavoisier's collaboration with Séguin, dating from 1792, resulted in a work the aim of which was far more ambitious than that of collecting already published memoirs. Furthermore, it is argued that the contents of the first volume of the Memoires indicate an important evolution in Lavoisier's chemical theory.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dipartimento di Filosofia, Universita degli Studi di Bologna, Via Zamboni 38, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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